Trying to tamp down calls for his resignation, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta on Wednesday defended his handling of a sex-trafficking case involving now-jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein, insisting he got the toughest deal he could at the time.
Epstein had previously evaded similar charges when he secured a nonprosecution deal with federal prosecutors in Miami more than a decade ago. Pelosi stated that Trump was aware of Acosta's previous employment and the Epstein case when he appointed Acosta to serve as USA secretary of labour - the post now held by the official. "I feel very badly about that whole situation". "We now have 12 years of knowledge and hindsight and we live in a very different world", he said.
She told reporters Tuesday that it was "no surprise" Trump was standing by Acosta.
President Trump was pressed Tuesday about his relationship with Epstein, a man he once praised but eventually barred from his Mar a Lago resort.
But whereas Mr. Trump has brushed apart the connection, Mr. Epstein, since the election, has played it up, claiming to folk that he used to be the one who presented Mr. Trump to his third associate, Melania Trump, even supposing neither of the Trumps has ever talked about Mr. Epstein playing a role of their meeting.
Schumer said Acosta must quit and said if he didn't, Trump should fire him.
Epstein pleaded not guilty on Monday to new child sex-trafficking charges. "But you're talking about a long time ago".
Acosta "must step down", she said in a tweet late Monday night.
The former U.S. attorney has defended his handling of the case and tweeted that he is pleased "prosecutors are moving forward".
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have called for Acosta to resign.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump must explain why he made glowing comments about the financier in 2002 to New York Magazine.
The Herald was not cited by name, but it is believed to be a reference to Brown, who wrote the series "Perversion of Justice" about Epstein last November, in which she reported on 60 women who said they were sexually abused by the financier between 2001 and 2005. And not merely because he appointed Acosta to head the Labor Department.
"As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice", Pelosi said on Twitter.
On Monday, the USA attorney in Manhattan said it was not bound by the 2008 deal and accused Epstein of luring dozens of girls, some as young as 14, and coercing them into sex acts. Epstein has pleaded not guilty.
Trump described Epstein as a "terrific guy" in a 2002 NY magazine article, but he said on Tuesday that he was "not a fan of his".
Dershowitz is a frequent guest on Fox News and has appeared on the network dozens of times since it was revealed last fall that he was on Epstein's legal team when they pressured Acosta to cut a deal.
Former President Bill Clinton, who also knew Epstein said in a statement he "knows nothing about the awful crimes.and that he's not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade". None of those people was mentioned in the indictment.
Trump typically gives his Cabinet secretaries the opportunity to defend themselves publicly in interviews and press conferences before deciding whether to pull the plug. His role in the Florida agreement was raised at his confirmation hearing in the Republican-led Senate. He and Acosta had both done work with the law firm Kirkland & Ellis.