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breaking news turns out the blast radius

from at eleven eleven-year-old sex

scandal can still prove lethal if you're

the labor secretary Alex Acosta who

prior to serving in Donald Trump's

cabinet served as the top prosecutor in

Miami out today but for his role in

negotiating a sweetheart deal for

accused pedophile and sex trafficker

Jeffrey Epstein as the scandal dragged

into its fifth day Donald Trump bid

Acosta farewell on the South Lawn with a

sorry not sorry to see you go Alex I

think you'll agree I said you don't have

to do this he doesn't have to do that he

made a deal that people are happy with

and then 12 years later they're not

happy with it you'll have to figure all

of that out but the fact is he has been

a fantastic Secretary of Labor Trunk

known to be consumed by media coverage

of his administration was clearly not

distraught about the deal that Acosta

negotiated for Epstein but concerned

about the bad press Acosta was getting

from the Washington Post quote Trump did

not originally want to be seen as

cutting ties with him over a decade old

episode even as some of his longest

advisors believed a Kostas departure was

inevitable given the cascade of

sustained news coverage and the facts of

the case with Acosta out of the picture

Trump is still trying to put distance

between himself and Epstein I was not a

fan of Jeffrey Epstein and you watched

people yesterday saying that I threw him

out of a club I didn't want anything to

do with him that was many many years ago

it shows you one thing that I have good

taste

okay now other people they went all over

with him they went to his Island they

went all over the place he was very well

known in Palm Beach but

Jeffrey Epstein was not somebody that I

respected I'd rule him out in fact I

think the great James Patterson was a

member of merrill ago made his statement

yesterday that many years ago I threw

him out I'm not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein

the pedophile the prosecutor and the

president that is where we start today

with some of our favorite reporters and

friends former US Attorney Joyce Vance

White House reporter for The Washington

Post

Ashley Parker with us at the table

former Assistant Director for

counterintelligence at the FBI Frank

ffunny Crean John Pierce Bakshi's senior

adviser to moveon.org and executive

editor for Bloomberg opinion Tim O'Brien

is here I want to start with you joyce

vans and just this this this this leap

into a parallel universe we're on the

day that it is unsustainable for the

Labor Secretary to continue to serve in

the Trump administration no one uh ters

the word victim no one says a word about

a miscarriage of justice all they say is

read the James Patterson fictionalized

version of this sex scandal I never

liked him

and I didn't make a cause to go what

where have we what is happening Joyce

Trump just doesn't seem to understand

that justice isn't just another deal and

this is so hard I think to watch as a

prosecutor knowing that when you enter

into a plea agreement in a case you have

equities that you have to be aware of

you have a community you have victims

you have the courts and you're trying to

do the right thing you're not just

delivering a deal the president

apparently views this as purely

transactional it's an old deal without

any concern for the victims that were

left behind when this happened and the

notion that Acosta is leaving without

any conversation about the victims and

about what this means for women in the

era of me too is I just think tone-deaf

completely it's turned of and for Acosta

to walk out the door without cleaning up

any of the damage to his own reputation

Frank

stunning to me as a former person who

handled communications for high-level

government officials to not stand there

and say I did my best but I'm sorry that

I presided over a system that failed

these young victims these weren't women

these were girls these were children

some of their lives were ruined some of

them are dead I mean to not I mean we

cover the dehumanization of migrants at

the border we cover the flippant way

Donald Trump talks about dictators but

we don't have a lot of tangible examples

of people actually being dehumanized in

real time the treatment of this case of

the Epstein victims has been the

dehumanization of girls and women in

real time we're living in an era where

children are being detained and inhumane

conditions by this administration so why

would we expect any kind of remorse or

apology from Acosta or from Trump and

you know let's be clear here Acosta

leaving is not because of any moral

outrage from this president correct it's

it's clearly because he's reading the

tea leaves and he understands more than

we probably give him credit for where

this is going public corruption

investigators are tearing apart the US

Attorney's handling of this in Miami and

this isn't going to get better it's

going to get more and more ugly for

Acosta and likely his staff at the time

in Miami and this image of a cost is

standing for half an hour on the White

House lawn next to Trump is going to

come back to haunt them during the 20/20

campaign well let me press you on that

what does that investigation look like

I'm gonna tell you what it looks like it

looks like interviews of all the AUSA s

and FBI agents in South Florida who

handled this case the police officers

who interacted with those agents and

prosecutors and they're gonna figure out

what was the phone activity who was

dangled money cash jobs by Epstein

and/or his cutouts and where are these

people today who objected to the deal in

the US Attorney's Office and was that

documented or not I see Parker your

colleague Bob Costas said something on

this program on one

day that sort of said to chill up my

spine he said that what every journalist

in the country worth his or her salt is

pursuing is the answer to what was

Trump's knowledge what was Trump's

knowledge of Geoffrey Epstein's conduct

I haven't seen that reported out

anywhere but I wonder your theory of

that case well we know just from that

one comment that has gotten some

attention I believe it was to New York

magazine in 2002 that the president had

at least some general awareness there's

that quote where he praises Jeffrey

Epstein as a great guy and sort of says

something along the lines of and I'm not

that's not verbatim but something lines

up like me he enjoys beautiful women his

often a lot younger so this was an open

secret in the circles that Jeffrey

Epstein ran in the circles that the

president traveled and it was something

that the president sort of spoke openly

about again we don't know if we if he

knew that Jeffrey Epstein was reaping

and abusing young girls but he was

certainly aware that Jeffrey Epstein was

often surrounded by very young women Tim

O'Brien let me put up those headlines

that actually just reference Trump

called Epstein a terrific guy who

enjoyed younger women before denying a

relationship with them so he was close

enough to know what kind of women he

surrounded himself with Jeffrey Epstein

was a terrific guy from the New York

Times Donald Trump once said now he's

not a fan that story I believe

chronicled a party where women were

flown in and the only two men in

attendance were Jeffrey Epstein

twenty-eight women I think every Epstein

and Donald Trump and Vanity Fair just

him and Epstein and 28 girls sort of man

drops a dime on Trump so when the

president stands on a White House lawn

and says he barely knew Jeffrey Epstein

that is just not supported by the fact

pattern they knew each other well from

1987 to at least 2002 he traveled on

Epstein's jet at least once I've seen

was either a member at mar-a-lago in

name or in substance but he was there

all the time and the president wanted

him to be there I you know I spent about

two years of a lot of time with Trump in

the mid-2000s he routinely talked about

Jeffrey Epstein as so many he had

mired he felt that they were in sync

mire bottom he liked that he was free to

pursue women whenever he wanted to he

liked that he had a lot of money to

spend in any way he wanted to he liked

that he was someone who I think didn't

care about the law or civility or women

being targets because I think that's

frankly the way the president approaches

the world you know at one point when I

was working on the book about him he

took me on the Upper East Side he had

just bought the rights to the Miss

America pageant and we went up there and

it's you know the one of the main things

I'm really excited about owning this

pageant is that I can introduce I can

introduce these girls to Eric to his son

Eric and we went into the you know into

the offices of the pageant and and it

was just it was a very uncomfortable

environment with him around these women

because I think his sole reason for

buying the pageant it was not a business

issue it was an access to women decision

in some of the court papers that have

come out Jeffrey Epstein said he wanted

to buy a modeling agency

because he wanted to use a modeling

agency in the same way the president

about the time the same way Donald Trump

used his modeling agency again access to

women so there's a lot of similarities

and how these two men approached the

world and it is not credible the

President had didn't having a close

relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and

they were worried about it up until

Election Day I you know shortly before

the election Michael Kohn and David

Packard the National Enquirer were

having discussions about whether or not

questions would come up about Jeffrey

Epstein's island and who had visited the

island so it was clearly front of mind

for them at least until Election Day you

know and I think it's important to be

careful every journalist has been on the

show every lawyer that's been on this

show has been careful but Donald Trump

is credibly accused of sexual deviance

and misconduct ranging from rape from eg

and Carol just a couple weeks ago to

misconduct two things that don't fall

under a criminal umbrella but there are

examples of him walking behind stage at

the Miss America pageant scrutinizing

their naked bodies of young women so I

guess my question that they're also

they're also was you know the way during

the election a woman filed a Jane Doe

lawsuit alleging the Trump had raped her

in in Jeffery Epstein's townhouse in New

York she would throw this withdrew the

suit her lawyer says she would threw the

suit because after she filed it

she got death threats I don't know

anything about the facts around that

other than that but I do think that as

you say there there isn't just it's not

just hearsay with Trump there's a lot of

examples of him walking up to a boundary

there's yet to be examples of him

crossing it in the way that I've seen

did Kareem why isn't this a more salient

political anchor around his neck why and

I remember when Hillary Clinton made an

issue out of some of these accusations

she I think aligned herself with Miss

Machado who Donald Trump had called Miss

Piggy and at but it's all the same

bucket of abusive denigrating derogatory

and then these accusations far more

serious criminal conduct around women

it's it's a it's a good question because

I think what has happen is as we all say

nothing everything we see is not normal

right none of this is normal but what

Donald Trump has managed to do is make

it normal it's it's the most bizarre

kind of backward things that we're

seeing like just what you were

describing I was thinking about what you

were saying about Epstein and Donald

Trump those are things that you hear in

a movie those rape that end the

political career of anyone before Donald

it's so true and but you you hear about

it in the movie but it's playing out in

the White House right in front of us

right we still we see Donald Trump

essentially doing the perp walk walking

with Alex Acosta and giving this

30-minute press conference first of all

Alex Acosta should have never had the

job in the first place and let's not

forget who was supposed to have that job

it was the labor secretary that he

really wanted was was accused of beating

his wife like these are the type of

people that he's bringing into the White

House into his administration so what is

not normal becomes in this weird way

normal because we're talking about all

of these awful things week after week

after week next week it'll be something

else

I should Parker I started and maybe this

is over sharing I've started to wonder

in this sort of vein of normalizing

Donald Trump's conduct if those of us

that talk about it and cover it or part

of the problem do you ever sit down and

type a lead and say I can't believe I

just wrote that I mean I wrote that line

you know a president a pedophile and a

prosecutor I thought what where am I

well I will say there's there's

something we've started doing at the

post which is recognizing that stuff

happens that in any other administration

would end a career or dominate a news

cycle and it sort of takes up you know

three hours or six hours because

something else

pushes it from the headlines and and we

are aware of that so we sometimes try to

go back and take an issue that may have

moved out of the news cycle but is still

really important and give it the second

look that it deserves an example was we

sort of took some time and went back and

really recreated what happened in

president Trump's response to

Charlottesville we've done that on some

other issues but as a journalist there

sort of is I think an industry-wide

recognition that a lot of these issues

don't necessarily get the time they

deserve because there's just such a

cascade and firehose of news in terms of

what you were saying but the headlines

were writing the leads were writing and

even the time we can devote to some of

this coverage well and I appreciate that

that we all kind of hit pause here and

let this sink in I want to let this sink

in for you and for Joyce this is Kamala

Harris on the Alex Acosta's defense of

the agreement that's not normal either

let's listen any prosecutor worth their

salt yeah especially one who who

understands the nature of these cases

which any prosecutor should if they're

taking the case on knows that this is

the exact kind of case yeah that is

typical somebody who's preyed on

children and that case should go before

a jury and that person should go to

prison for a long period of time

you know the thing that that I found

obviously you can tell by the tone of my

my perspective the thing that I found so

troubling disheartening and really

unbelievable was the way that Acosta has

described the challenge he had because

it's like saying it's really difficult

to make an omelet well then it get out

the kitchen if you don't know how to

cook actually this is something I've

heard from the right and the left in the

legal community this week any thoughts

on on sort of how Acosta's I know the

performance was viewed as passable from

the president's perspective and the

White House but the legal arguments are

not holding up with the test of time

well there was a sense again in the

White House that he sort of initially he

made a somewhat forceful case for why he

made that decision at the time but in

talking to people as the week progressed

there was also a sense especially when

we heard from the state prosecutor of

the state attorney general I believe

sort of saying this is absolutely false

and when does a federal Attorney General

defer to the state he had a 53 page

indictment he absolutely could have gone

forward if he had wanted to I think that

has become increasingly the prevailing

sentiment even if in the hours after his

news conference there was a sense that

he sort of quote-unquote won by doing

himself no harm and and one final point

is that again sure the performative

aspect in the White House is everything

there were some people who did want to

see him be more animated and then I was

talking to someone today who said they

wanted to see him sort of show more

compassion not just an animated defense

of himself that the president might have

wanted to see but these were these were

with young women these were children

they were raped they were abused and it

might have been at the very least

regardless of if it would have saved his

career not an appropriate moment to sort

of speak to them and show some empathy

and compassion

Joyce Ashley referenced that 53 page

indictment here's the Miami Herald

description of that lest we let the

facts of this get too far from our

conversations facing a 53 page federal

indictment Epstein could have ended up

in federal prison for the rest of his

life but a deal was struck an

extraordinary

plea agreement that would conceal the

full extent of Epstein's crimes and the

number of people involved that one

sentence that one paragraph two

sentences seems at the moment to be the

sum total of Alex Acosta's legacy at the

time that a costume made this decision

DOJ guidelines for prosecutors required

us to charge the most serious readily

provable offense in a case so for Acosta

to abandon this indictment that he had

prepared that was supported by evidence

with victims who were willing to come

forward is inexplicable and in hindsight

now all of these years later for him to

stand up and defend that decision is

really inexplicable to you on this same

timeline I had a case in my office I was

our appellate chief it was a case

involving making pornography with with

young victims and the prosecutor at

sentencing that the sentence that she

received was not the maximum sentence it

was long enough though to keep that

defendant in jail functionally for the

rest of his life and she was outraged

she wanted to appeal the judge she

wanted every last minute every last day

she was entitled to of this sentence

that's how strongly prosecutors feel

about these cases and about protecting

young children I don't understand the

Costas point of view here I want to ask

you about the role of money I mean we

talked a lot about you know miscarriage

of justice for women Acosta trotted out

this ludicrous argument about things

were so different it wasn't you know

1907 it was it was 2008 you know I but

money seems to be the variable not a

point in time so much of what Acosta

said in his weak defense simply doesn't

ring true for one of the most disturbing

portions of my FBI career I supervised

two crimes against children squad in

Northern California and I have to tell

you it still impacts me today and I can

tell you this no US attorney no

assistant US attorney ever said to me

I'm feeling a lot of pressure from this

defense team I really think the money

there

thrown around on this is going to hurt

us we've got to kind of deal it does not

happen when you're talking about

exploiting children does it happen in

white-collar crime big-time corporate

defense I've been involved in

indictments and convictions in cases in

fortune 100 corporations and yes they

have incredibly powerful attorneys and

yes there's a lot of money thrown around

but to hear Acosta equate that kind of

environment to a case where women young

girls are being exploited sexually it

simply doesn't happen something's wrong

with this picture and I continue to say

that's why we see public corruption

prosecutors involved in this s dny case

you know also due to what Frank was

saying about how you know the pressure

is not going to step up on Acosta in

Florida there's another piece of this in

New York with I think you know and the

other shoe to drop which were what kind

of records does did Jeffrey Epstein have

in his vaults and are there films or

photographs and Ashley's paper has a

David farad ball I believe reported that

in an address book he had 12 entries for

the trump's donald try was originally

Gawker or jigna had that that's been out

there for years but I think that you're

right with a meticulous note take a

meticulous note-taker he had cameras and

security in all of his homes the issue

of whether or not he was black by

blackmailing people who funded his money

management firm his quote money

management firms I don't think he was

actually managing money the issue that

arises there's Trump had an alliance

with David pecker Trump routinely

threatened journalists with tape

recordings I would go and meet with him

you don't mind if I I tape this and when

we litigated with them under in a

deposition we said you don't really have

a tape taping system to Union said no

but he would tell people in New York you

would tell business competitors that

they should watch out what they were do

what they were doing because he could go

to David pecker or the Today Show or

page six on the New York Post and

embarrass them and I think that one of

them when Trump is standing on the White

House lawn and saying that there's no

proof that he had a close relation with

Jeffrey Epstein there is going to be the

Southern District of New York which has

already looked at peckers relationship

with Trump land and stormy Daniels

looking at the same thing with Trump

and Epstein and video recordings and

there could there could be I don't know

that there is but I think there is a

possibility that it could be a very

visible record of their relationship

more questions than answers hey there

I'm Chris Hayes from MSNBC thanks for

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The Description of The Pedophile, The Prosecutor, And The President | Deadline | MSNBC