Published: Sat, July 13, 2019

Trump's 'Acting' Cabinet Expands With Departure Of Acosta

Trump's 'Acting' Cabinet Expands With Departure Of Acosta

US President Donald Trump's Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned on Friday, felled by a sex scandal in which he purportedly oversaw a sweetheart that allowed a billionaire who was prosecuted more than a decade ago for sexually exploiting under-aged girls to get away lightly.

Acosta made the announcement standing beside Trump on the South Lawn of the White House just two days after a news conference that appeared to be designed as an attempt to save his job. Trump said that Acosta had called him Friday morning, and that it was Acosta's decision to quit.

"This was him, not me, because I'm with him", Trump said in a lengthy exchange with the press before departing the White House en route to events in Wisconsin and Ohio.

"I hate to see this happen", Trump said.

In 2008, Acosta was a US attorney in Miami. He refused to offer an apology to Epstein's victims but also, given the subject he was speaking on, couldn't offer the sort of aggressive attacks Trump likes to see in his lackeys.

The Epstein case came up during Acosta's Senate confirmation hearing but the Republican-majority Senate approved him in a 60-38 vote.

Acosta also faced criticism for keeping the federal deal not to prosecute Epstein a secret.

Trump called Acosta "a great Labor Secretary, not a good Labor Secretary", "a fantastic Secretary of Labor", and emphasized that "he's done a fantastic job". He served 13 months in jail, was required to reach financial settlements with dozens of his alleged victims and register as a sex offender.

The president said, "It's his (Acosta's) decision". Mr. Trump said people were initially happy with it, then changed their minds.

Following the arrest, Miss Giuffre - who now lives in Australia - issued a statement in which she said: "I am deeply pleased that federal prosecutors in NY have arrested Jeffrey Epstein and are on the case in a serious way".

"We now have 12 years of knowledge and hindsight and we live in a very different world".

"Alex was a great Secretary of Labor and his service is truly appreciated", the president added, noting that Acosta would be replaced on an acting basis by the current deputy secretary, Pat Pizzella.

The Daily Beast has reported on a 2019 affidavit in which one of Epstein's accusers said he and an associate molested her 15-year-old sister at the Stanley ranch. A federal judge this year ruled that prosecutors violated the rights of victims by failing to notify them of an agreement not to bring federal charges.

The Justice Department inspector general told lawmakers in January that he is unable to investigate the circumstances surrounding the 2008 plea deal because of statutory limitations. "This is him, not me, because I'm with him".

"The right thing was to step aside".

Acosta will remain in the administration until next week.

Epstein, who has ties to Trump and former President Bill Clinton, was charged in a Manhattan federal court on Monday on sex-trafficking charges. Before joining the Trump administration, he was dean of the Florida International University law school.

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