Saturday, August 10, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He made sure that people thinking about Jeffrey Epstein were thinking about him, too.

Trump spent the first day of his (official) 2019 vacation on Twitter the way he spends many other days: at the golf course, tweeting. In what appears to be his first and so far only public comment on the death in federal custody of his former friend, the notorious pedophile and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Trump... blamed it on the Clintons.

In reality, Trump is the president and head of the executive branch that controls federal prisons and how inmates are handled—not Bill or Hillary Clinton.

Trump has not come within earshot of a reporter since Epstein was found dead.

Trump and Epstein were longtime friends who once threw themselves a party in which they and 28 "calendar girls" were the only attendees. (The two later had a falling out over a real estate deal in 2004.) In a 2002 profile for New York Magazine, Trump joked about Epstein's attraction to young women. According to court documents unsealed yesterday, Epstein used Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort as a hunting ground for victims.

Epstein's sweetheart plea deal for earlier charges related to sex with minors was brokered by then-US Attorney Alex Acosta, who later became Trump's secretary of labor. (A federal court this year found that Acosta had broken the law by trying to hide the details of that deal from Epstein's many victims.) Trump's attorney general, William Barr, promised Congress that he would recuse himself from any Epstein-related matters, since he worked for the law firm that defended Epstein, and had an odd family connection to Epstein. But when Epstein was once again indicted by a federal grand jury, Barr reneged on that promise and has stayed involved in the case.

Of course, there's no evidence that Trump was personally, directly involved in Epstein's horrific crimes—although at least one of Epstein's victims has alleged that he was in a lawsuit. Nor is there yet any direct evidence that Trump somehow engineered Epstein's death—although there are angry and bipartisan calls in Congress for an independent investigation as to how Epstein died on Trump's watch. 

That said, Trump routinely accuses other people of doing things he himself has done.

So what?

  • Not every problem Trump has can be blamed on the Clintons.