Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Alas Acosta

 

Is Alex Acosta a tragic figure? By Paul Mirengoff’s account at Power Line Blog, rehearsed and elaborated over the past two years, Alex Acosta is a man on the make, a social-political climber. His aspiration: the comfortable security and status of a federal judgeship. To gain that prize, Mirengoff claims, Acosta spent his time in both the George W. Bush and Trump administrations carefully not offending powerful Democratic Party interests. That is, Acosta passive aggressively sabotaged his presidents’ stated policies. Maybe so, maybe no.

Alex Acosta was invited to walk out with President Trump Friday morning, addressing the press alongside the president. This was a resignation, but one in which President Trump and his Secretary of Labor would concede nothing. What he and President Trump got was a sound byte summary of unheralded achievements that matter to real Americans.

The resignation, unique in form, followed an hour long press conference Wednesday. In his hour-long press conference, Alex Acosta conceded little of style, nothing of substance. Unspoken, then and now, was the name of the president in whose Department of Justice he served. I happen to be old enough to remember who was president in 2008. It was not Obama, nor Trump, nor Clinton. No, it was Saint George the Virtuous, exemplar of the flower of Republican nobility. Alex Acosta served in Bush 43’s DOJ.

How could this be? We have been repeatedly assured that the career prosecutors of the Department of Justice, are the very best people, dedicated and impartial doers of justice. Yet, here we had a very wealthy man, a master networker, a super schmoozer. His little black book could be copied from a who’s who list of the American East Coast elite. Nancy Pelosi’s daughter spoke the inconvenient truth:

“This Epstein case is horrific and the young women deserve justice. It is quite likely that some of our faves are implicated but we must follow the facts and let the chips fall where they may — whether on Republicans or Democrats,” Christine Pelosi tweeted Saturday after news of Epstein’s arrest broke.

Mind you, Pelosies gotta Pelosi, so she’s moved on to smearing Attorney General William Barr with some alleged association with Epstein. Setting the usual casual lies and innuendo aside, it is worth remembering that Alex Acosta was thrust upon President Trump after the Democrats and Chamber-of-Commerce business-as-usual Republicans ran a successful attack on a real entrepreneurial success story, former Carls Jr/Hardee’s CEO Andrew Puzder. Alex Acosta was the Washington insiders’ choice, as was obvious from his easy confirmation.

So, was Alex Acosta really subverting President Trump’s agenda? Paul Mirengoff repeatedly posted attacks on Acosta, and indirectly on President Trump, who Mirengoff barely tolerates. Consider embracing the power of “and.” It may well be that Alex Acosta was a thoroughly political creature, and that President Trump got his, not the Chamber of Commerce/Mirengoff, Labor Department agenda advanced by this Washington insider.

It has seemed, from the very first criticism of Labor Department activity, that something was being omitted. We heard a bit of that on the press line Friday morning, as Secretary Acosta spoke along side President Trump. It may be that both President Trump and Alex Acosta figured they were getting what they wanted, along with the Washington establishment. Then everything changed, and an earlier decision, from the George W. Bush administration DOJ, turned sour, likely ending the prospects of Judge Alex Acosta.

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  1. Arahant Member

    Clifford A. Brown: What he and President Trump got was a sound byte summary of unheralded achievements that matter to real Americans.

    This is for certain. The rest? Maybe. Maybe not. I hope that (now former) Secretary Acosta lands on his feet in some very cushy job in the private sector.

    • #1
    • July 12, 2019, at 7:39 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    All I can say is that Epstein committed many crimes in many states over a long period of time and the only guy to put him in jail is being blamed as the weak link of the justice system. I know this about punishing anyone willing to work for Trump, but the real criminal and his roster of co-rapists are still getting away with it. 

    • #2
    • July 12, 2019, at 8:25 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  3. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Clifford A. Brown: Why would a Dem elite get rhythm from GW Bush DOJ? What did Bush know?

    You know what? Earlier this week Mrs. David French tweeted out the Trump 2002 quote about Epstein and I asked her the same question, basically, why do care what Trump said three years before the crimes were known? Why aren’t you asking about Bob Mueller’s FBI and the Bush DOJ that investigated and cut the deal. She didn’t reply but she retweeted me, in a sense acknowledging that it was a valid question.

    I cannot believe that Acosta would have cut this deal on his own. Someone higher up the chain of command had to sign off on it.

    • #3
    • July 12, 2019, at 8:57 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  4. MarciN Member

    Acosta was a good choice for the positions he held in the Bush and Trump administrations.

    In fact, it seems as though he has not done anything wrong. His staff is defending his actions with regard to the Epstein prosecution, as quoted in Wikipedia:

    David Markus, a Florida defense attorney familiar with Acosta’s work as U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Florida, supported Acosta, stating: “[T]here are many — including the New York TimesMiami Herald, and others — who are calling for Congress to investigate Acosta and force him out, equating Acosta’s approval of the deal to Epstein’s actions. Although it is fair to have an honest disagreement about the Epstein plea agreement, the attacks on Acosta are not justified. . . . At the time this case was being investigated, there were serious questions about whether Epstein’s crimes had the required federal nexus. These were traditional state court crimes with local victims, which the federal government decided should be prosecuted by the state system. . . . In addition, there were legitimate concerns about how a trial would have turned out. These trials are difficult.”

    Jeffrey Sloman, one of the prosecutors in the case, justified the agreement in writing: “Our priorities were to make sure Epstein could not hurt anyone else and to compensate Epstein’s victims without retraumatizing them. Our team worked diligently to build a federal case against Epstein. Throughout the investigation, we took care to be respectful of the pain Epstein’s victims had endured. As we continued, however, it became clear that most of Epstein’s victims were terrified to cooperate against him. Some hired lawyers to avoid appearing before a grand jury. One of the key witnesses moved to Australia and refused to return calls from us. We also researched and discussed significant legal impediments to prosecuting [in federal court] what was, at heart, a local sex abuse case. Given the obstacles we faced in fashioning a robust federal prosecution, we decided to negotiate a resolution. . . . You can disagree with the result we reached, but our whole team — from Alex [Acosta] on down the chain of command — always acted with integrity and in good faith.”

    It sounds like the press is once again trying to harm someone in the Trump administration.

    Acosta has an impressive life story and resume. I hope he survives this.

    • #4
    • July 12, 2019, at 9:14 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MarciN (Quoting someone on Acosta’s staff):
    We also researched and discussed significant legal impediments to prosecuting [in federal court] what was, at heart, a local sex abuse case.

    He was transporting underage girls across state lines. Local case?

    • #5
    • July 12, 2019, at 9:32 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    Its kinda ironic, that the only prosecutor to put this Epstein guy in jail at all (so far) – more than the Florida state (democrat?) prosecutors wanted to do. Is the only one to loose his job over the handling of this case. When will the prosecutors who passed on this case, or argued for leniency loose their current jobs?

    • #6
    • July 12, 2019, at 10:21 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  7. Unsk Member

    Fine Analysis Clifford. You gave us background no one else has. Trump may have wanted Acosta gone.

    This Epstein Case is an elaborate whodunit. As in who is behind this case?

    On the surface, this is just another stab by the SDNY DOJ office to get Trump which it may have been until Barr un-recused himself. Then Ooopsie.

    The odd thing , if that is true, is that I a thinking that the SDNY office is playing with fire here because, it was allegedly by some really bad arm twisting and possibly quite illegal shenanigans by SDNY and AG Lynch back in the fall of 2016 that shut down the investigation of Weiner’s laptop that many thought had links directly to Jeffrey Epstein and the sex slave trade. By opening up this investigation, SDNY has put itself in the crosshairs because this new investigation could potentially blow up the Weiner case which allegedly had some extremely disgusting and damaging information on it against the Clintons. BTW, Maureen Comey, Comey’s 30 year old daughter, was a deputy assistant US Attorney back then and still is at SDNY.

    • #7
    • July 13, 2019, at 2:59 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. Kevin Schulte Member

    I am indifferent on Acosta. Every administration needs a crafty low key effective bureaucrat. He seems to have served Trump’s purposes whatever that was. 

     

    • #8
    • July 13, 2019, at 3:10 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. philo Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: Why would a Dem elite get rhythm from GW Bush DOJ? What did Bush know?

    You know what? Earlier this week Mrs. David French tweeted out the Trump 2002 quote about Epstein and I asked her the same question, basically, why do care what Trump said three years before the crimes were known? Why aren’t you asking about Bob Mueller’s FBI and the Bush DOJ that investigated and cut the deal. She didn’t reply but she retweeted me, in a sense acknowledging that it was a valid question.

    I cannot believe that Acosta would have cut this deal on his own. Someone higher up the chain of command had to sign off on it.

    It may be instructive to consider who (along with the vast number of important people on her coronation committee) would have had a vested interest in the 2007 timeframe to keep the sordid details (and identities of other participants) of this whole affair from getting a wider public viewing.

    • #9
    • July 13, 2019, at 5:06 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. MarciN Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    MarciN (Quoting someone on Acosta’s staff):
    We also researched and discussed significant legal impediments to prosecuting [in federal court] what was, at heart, a local sex abuse case.

    He was transporting underage girls across state lines. Local case?

    I wonder if the jurisdiction rested on which of the victims was willing and/or able to testify.

    I haven’t followed this case at all. In fact, I only just last night read about it, and that was because of Cliff’s post. :-) But I have heard headlines on the radio for the past week putting “Trump” and “Epstein” together in the same sentences, so I am sure that there is a lot of pure sensationalism involved. :-) My inner skeptic wants me to wait a few months before diving into this story. :-)

    The WSJ has an interesting and well-reasoned opinion piece about it today.

    • #10
    • July 13, 2019, at 6:00 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think they are all corrupt in some way. It is the nature of humanity.

    • #11
    • July 13, 2019, at 6:19 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Stad Thatcher

    Only the MSM can portay someone like Acosta as more evil than Epstein . . .

    • #12
    • July 13, 2019, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  13. Barfly Member

    I thought it was clear that Acosta is deep state, from his actions at DoL. I still don’t understand why he enjoyed the President’s expressions of support. My guess has been and remains that PDT was speaking tactically and has more significant battles to fight. Until the reappearance of the Epstein matter my impression was that Acosta had the support of the left.

    I think the left has scored a significant own-goal by removing Acosta.

    • #13
    • July 13, 2019, at 8:12 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    philo (View Comment):
    It may be instructive to consider who (along with the vast number of important people on her coronation committee) would have had a vested interest in the 2007 timeframe to keep the sordid details (and identities of other participants) of this whole affair from getting a wider public viewing.

    Exactly. Hillary Clinton was #1 in the polls of the Democrat Primary in 2007 and Bill was up to his (eye)balls in the Epstein mess. I heard that Epstein provided the seed money for the Clinton Grifting Global Initiative. I am not sure why Bush would do the Clinton’s such a favor, but Bush was tolerant of elitist misdeeds.

    • #14
    • July 13, 2019, at 8:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    MarciN (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    MarciN (Quoting someone on Acosta’s staff):
    We also researched and discussed significant legal impediments to prosecuting [in federal court] what was, at heart, a local sex abuse case.

    He was transporting underage girls across state lines. Local case?

    I wonder if the jurisdiction rested on which of the victims was willing and/or able to testify.

    I have heard reports that he brought the victims from Europe to his island. The criminal jurisdiction is murky from my reading in Wikipedia, but seems to be local. I think Acosta was limited to interstate/underage trafficking actions involving Florida. 

    • #15
    • July 13, 2019, at 9:02 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. philo Member

    DonG (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):
    It may be instructive to consider who (along with the vast number of important people on her coronation committee) would have had a vested interest in the 2007 timeframe to keep the sordid details (and identities of other participants) of this whole affair from getting a wider public viewing.

    Exactly. Hillary Clinton was #1 in the polls of the Democrat Primary in 2007 and Bill was up to his (eye)balls in the Epstein mess. I heard that Epstein provided the seed money for the Clinton Grifting Global Initiative. I am not sure why Bush would do the Clinton’s such a favor, but Bush was tolerant of elitist misdeeds.

    Whether Mr. Bush did or did not supply any favors, l do not know. I have, however, seen enough to firmly believe that there was a sufficiently large team of future members of that inevitable next administration properly embedded in critical offices (none dare call it…wait for it…wait for it..in the so-called deep state) to ensure the proper actions were ordered even without the compliant Ruling Class President being in the loop.

    • #16
    • July 13, 2019, at 9:20 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Bob Thompson Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    I thought it was clear that Acosta is deep state, from his actions at DoL. I still don’t understand why he enjoyed the President’s expressions of support. My guess has been and remains that PDT was speaking tactically and has more significant battles to fight. Until the reappearance of the Epstein matter my impression was that Acosta had the support of the left.

    I think the left has scored a significant own-goal by removing Acosta.

    I like this assessment.

    • #17
    • July 13, 2019, at 10:04 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Fritz Member

    Acosta served in GW Bush’s Dept of Justice, was appointed a US Attorney by Obama, and then became Secy of Labor under the Trump administration.

    A true career pursuing lawyer/bureaucrat, whose continued bipartisan appeal and support required careful triangulation.

    Still, these days, not good enough for the howling Mob Democrats. 

    • #18
    • July 13, 2019, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    The Washington Post offers this reporting, after the fact, on Acosta as a Secretary of Labor that was supported by organized labor:

    Acosta, who aspired to be a federal judge, had a strategy as secretary to play a safe, inside game running the Labor Department, according to multiple current and former administration officials. He aimed for a balance in his approach to labor policy that would satisfy the White House — while also placating union leaders and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

    […]

    Acosta enjoyed 18 months with a relatively low profile at an agency that enforces federal laws covering millions of employers and workers, yet typically flies under the radar in Republican administrations.

    President Trump seems to have validated this approach, with his public positive send off of his Secretary of Labor in front of the press. Paul Mirengoff, who barely tolerates the Trump presidency, naturally cites this article to his own ends. He wants a Chamber of Commerce GOP establishment agenda, not a Trump “forgotten worker” agenda, so sees ammunition to advance the narrative that Trump has been duped or inattentive or easily flattered.

    And. Mirengoff seems accurate on Alex Acosta’s personal ambition.

    • #19
    • July 14, 2019, at 2:19 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  20. Danny Alexander Inactive

    I knew Alex Acosta personally and directly as an undergrad from sophomore through senior years, as we were classmates both living in Eliot House at Harvard. He was always down-to-earth, approachable, and with a low-key sense of humor that — in my recollection at least — didn’t veer off into gratuitous nastiness (as can often happen with undergrads — to say nothing of WHCA members).

    Having said the above, I will note that we were in no way close, and we didn’t keep in contact post-graduation. Professional life can, depending on the person, herald a return of personality characteristics somehow held in abeyance during undergrad years — characteristics that, in some, should have been “incarcerated” permanently. With some other folks, professional life can draw out characteristics and capabilities that were evident during undergrad, but only slightly so, surprising the rest of us prior acquaintances either for good or for ill — again depending on the person, the characteristic(s), and the enterprise(s) pursued.

    (For instance, my classmate YouTube CEO Susan Wojicki was sullen and not especially a joy to be around when she occasionally participated in the Soviet Jewry-related activism efforts I and other classmates worked on at Harvard Hillel; but somehow, those qualities seemed to turn out as features rather than bugs when she met Larry Page and Sergey Brin and thereby transformed into The World’s Luckiest Landlord/Sublessor [Sublettor? Subleaser?].)

    So these past couple of decades since college may have seen some kind of unappealing evolution in Alex’s personality — but given his overall record, and the way he seemed (to me) to work well with the POTUS, I’m guessing that his fundamental decency has always endured, notwithstanding the inevitable toughening-up and seasoning he pragmatically acquired along the way to his Cabinet role.

    I’m perplexed, incidentally, at the animus and “Deep State” accusations cast at him by those nominally in the POTUS’s camp. My own impression was that Obama left multiple Augean stables’-worth of crap to clear away at DoL, and that Alex was performing yeoman’s work in that unappetizing cleanup effort. His attention to revitalizing and supporting small-business health, as well as his unpretentiously positive efforts to develop and fortify better non-collegiate apprenticeship opportunities and paths, also struck as unalloyed excellence in POTUS-supportive policymaking and public service.

    When I contrast that record with “Deep State” actors I also quite personally know — some from high school days (later at DOJ NSD, DOJ Civil Rights, and NSA), some from undergrad days (Lisa Monaco — yes, that Lisa Monaco — and probably a few others), I find it difficult to keep from guffawing.

    I’d also point out that the press conference the POTUS and Alex held was politically astute inasmuch as both the “optics” (hate that term, but) and the ground-game for Florida in 2020 are concerned. The president wisely did not handle this like a Scott Pruitt dismissal, and he and Alex aligned their stories well.

    • #20
    • July 14, 2019, at 3:05 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  21. Stad Thatcher

    Barfly (View Comment):
    I thought it was clear that Acosta is deep state, from his actions at DoL.

    I think it’s possible for a Deep State member to sour on his membership and want out. They can also provide intel to aide in draining the swamp.

    • #21
    • July 14, 2019, at 5:47 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. Kevin Schulte Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    The Washington Post offers this reporting, after the fact, on Acosta as a Secretary of Labor that was supported by organized labor:

    Acosta, who aspired to be a federal judge, had a strategy as secretary to play a safe, inside game running the Labor Department, according to multiple current and former administration officials. He aimed for a balance in his approach to labor policy that would satisfy the White House — while also placating union leaders and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

    […]

    Acosta enjoyed 18 months with a relatively low profile at an agency that enforces federal laws covering millions of employers and workers, yet typically flies under the radar in Republican administrations.

    President Trump seems to have validated this approach, with his public positive send off of his Secretary of Labor in front of the press. Paul Mirengoff, who barely tolerates the Trump presidency, naturally cites this article to his own ends. He wants a Chamber of Commerce GOP establishment agenda, not a Trump “forgotten worker” agenda, so sees ammunition to advance the narrative that Trump has been duped or inattentive or easily flattered.

    I suspect this was the underlying feature Trump liked about Acosta. Trump is labor friendly, this most likely includes unions. Many of those union guys voted for Trump. No need to stick a finger in labors eye needlessly. 

    Acosta was probably a balanced operator in a dept the Chamber of Commerce hates . If the dept of Labor is to be run, it should be run well. 

    • #22
    • July 14, 2019, at 5:52 AM PDT
    • 4 likes

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