White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayHere are the key figures subpoenaed by Democrats in Trump probes Here are the top paid White House staffers The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump touts handshake with Kim, tariff freeze with Xi MORE on Tuesday defended Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaRene (Alex) Alexander AcostaJeffrey Epstein charged with sex trafficking crimes involving minors The Hill’s Morning Report – Democrats assail border conditions as Congress returns to work Jeffrey Epstein arrested on sex trafficking-related charges: reports MORE amid renewed calls from Democrats for his resignation over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein.
“[Trump] met Alex AcostaRene (Alex) Alexander AcostaProsecutors: Nude photos of apparent minors seized from Epstein residence Jeffrey Epstein charged with sex trafficking crimes involving minors The Hill’s Morning Report – Democrats assail border conditions as Congress returns to work MORE when Alex applied and got the job, where he’s doing a great job. You look at the economy,” Conway told reporters on the White House driveway.
Conway skirted multiple questions about whether Trump still had confidence in Acosta, instead criticizing the media and Democrats for focusing on the Labor secretary instead of Epstein’s crimes.
“It’s classic [Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBorder funding bill’s passage shows adroit leadership can move Congress beyond gridlock GOP polling: Impeachment unpopular in swing districts Speaker Pelosi, seize the moment to make history on drug pricing MORE (D-Calif.)] and her Democratic Party to not focus on the perpetrator at hand and instead to focus on a member of the Trump administration,” Conway told reporters. “They’re so obsessed with this president that they immediately go to Alex Acosta.”
Pelosi late Monday joined several other House Democrats in urging Acosta to step down over his role in a years-old plea deal Acosta oversaw that allowed Epstein to avoid a possible life sentence. They argued the 2008 plea deal he helped negotiate as a U.S. attorney in Miami allowed Epstein to victimize more young women and girls.
Epstein was charged Monday in New York with sex trafficking. He has pleaded not guilty.
“As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice,” Pelosi tweeted late Monday. “This was known by @POTUS when he appointed him to the cabinet.”
While serving as U.S. attorney in Miami in 2008, Acosta oversaw negotiations that ended with a favorable plea deal for Epstein that allowed the billionaire to avoid federal prosecution and a possible life sentence. Instead, Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges and served roughly a year in prison.
A federal judge ruled in February that prosecutors in the case violated the Crime Victims Rights Act by failing to inform Epstein’s victims about the plea deal.
Conway on Tuesday noted that Acosta addressed the plea deal when he was asked about it at his confirmation hearing in 2017. Acosta defended the arrangement, arguing it forced Epstein to register as a sex offender and ensured he served at least some time in jail.
“You want to revisit what happened in Florida,” Conway said. “New York has applied fresh charges to Jeffrey Epstein because they have a right to do that and I hope we’re all paying attention to the true perpetrator here.”