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Trump says he'll look "carefully" at Acosta's past handling of Epstein

Trump defends Acosta over Epstein case
Trump defends Acosta over handling of Epstein case 02:40

President Trump, meeting with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani at the White House Tuesday, said his administration will look "very carefully" at Labor Secretary Alex Acosta's handling of a past case against Jeffrey Epstein, but praised Acosta's work as labor secretary. 

Acosta, who handled an earlier case against Epstein that resulted in a minimal sentence, has been accused of concealing Epstein's plea deal. He's in the spotlight once more now that Epstein has been arrested for the sex trafficking of minors. Mr. Trump said the case was a very long time ago.

"You know, if you go back and look at everybody else's decisions whether it's a U.S. attorney or an assistant U.S. attorney or a judge. You go back 12 or 15 years ago or 20 years ago and look at their past decisions, I would think you'd probably find that they would wish they maybe did it a different way," Mr. Trump told reporters. 

"I do hear that there were a lot of people involved in that decision, not just him. I can only say this from what I know. And what I do know is that he's been a really great secretary of labor. The rest of it, we'll have to look at, we'll have to look at it very carefully. But you're talking about a long time ago and it was a decision made I think not by him but by a lot of people. So we're gonna look at it very carefully. We'll be looking at it very carefully. OK?"

Mr. Trump described Epstein as a "fixture" in Palm Beach, where his Mar-a-Lago club is, but said the two had a falling out and he wasn't a fan.  

"I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him. People in Palm Beach knew him," Mr. Trump told reporters of Epstein. "He was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don't think I've spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn't a fan. I was not- yeah, a long time ago. I'd say maybe 15 years. I was not a fan of his. That I can tell you. I was not a fan of his. So, I feel very badly for actually for Secretary Acosta because I've known him as being somebody that works so hard and has done such a good job. I feel very badly about that whole situation. But we're going to be looking at that and looking at it very closely."

Acosta spoke out for the first time on Twitter Tuesday morning, backing the new case against Epstein in New York. 

"The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence," Acosta tweeted Tuesday. "With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator. Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice."

The president attended a dinner at the Treasury Department Monday night, at which the emir said Qatar has a trade deficit with the U.S., which should please Mr. Trump. Among those at the president's table was Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner who was charged as a part of a Florida prostitution investigation. 

A White House official confirmed Kim Darroch, the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. who criticized Mr. Trump in leaked memos, was uninvited from the dinner, as Mr. Trump says his administration will no longer deal with the top diplomat from the United States' closest ally. Mr. Trump went after Darroch on Twitter again Tuesday morning. 

"The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. He should speak to his country, and Prime Minister May, about their failed Brexit negotiation, and not be upset with my criticism of how badly it was...handled," Mr. Trump tweeted. "I told @theresa_may how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done. A disaster! I don't know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool."

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