Schumer Calls For Secretary Acosta’s Resignation Amid New Epstein Sex Trafficking Indictment And Multiple Reports Of Acosta’s Gross Mishandling Of Epstein Case

July 9, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today on the Senate floor called for Secretary Acosta’s resignation, urged the DOJ’s office of Professional Responsibility to make public the results of its review of Acosta’s handling of the Epstein case, and demanded President Trump answer for the statements he has made about his relationship with Mr. Epstein—first approving of Epstein, then later, through a spokesperson, denying any relationship. Below are his remarks, which can also be found here.

This week, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was indicted in New York on federal sex trafficking charges. The newly released evidence of Epstein’s behavior involving dozens of children is sickening, is appalling, is despicable.

Epstein should have been behind bars years ago, but unfortunately, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta cut Epstein a sweetheart deal while Acosta was a U.S. Attorney in Florida in 2008. While a federal prosecutor, Acosta signed a non-prosecution agreement that allowed Epstein and his co-conspirators to remain free and evade justice despite overwhelming evidence.

Mr. Acosta hid this agreement from Epstein’s victims. No one can figure out why Mr. Epstein was able to persuade US Attorney Acosta not to prosecute, other than that Epstein could afford high-powered, high-priced attorneys. As the Miami Herald editorial board wrote this morning, it was not just that Acosta failed to get it right in 2008, the evidence suggests “he didn’t care to.”

Accordingly, I am asking three things.

First, I am calling on Secretary Acosta to resign. It is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in Secretary Acosta’s ability to lead the Department of Labor. If he refuses to resign, President Trump should fire him. Instead of prosecuting a predator and serial sex trafficker of children, Acosta chose to let him off easy. This is not acceptable. We cannot have, as one of the leading appointed officials in America, someone who has done this. Plain and simple.

Second, I am calling on the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility to make public the results of its review of Acosta’s handling of the Epstein case. Senators Murray and Kaine have called for these findings, but the Justice Department so far has stonewalled, has refused to make them public. This review cannot be kept in the dark, particularly given the new revelations, and there should be hearings.

And third, the president needs to answer for his statements he has made about his relationship with Mr. Epstein. In 2002, he said he’d known Epstein for 15 years and he was a “terrific guy” who enjoyed women “on the younger side.” Epstein was also reportedly a regular at the Mar-a-Lago club for years. The president needs to answer for this, and “I don’t recall” is not an acceptable answer in this case, particularly since President Trump appointed Acosta to such a powerful position.