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Wed Jul 10, 2019, 07:25 PM

Top Dems, rejecting Acosta's explanation for Epstein plea deal, renew calls for resignation

Top Democrats swiftly rejected Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta's explanation on Wednesday for his handling of a 2008 plea deal for financier Jeffrey Epstein while in a state attorney's office in Florida. They reiterated calls for him to resign, even as the White House indicated it would stand by the embattled Cabinet official.

White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News after Acosta's nearly hourlong press conference that the labor secretary "did great" -- but reviews from Democrats were decidedly more mixed.

"Secretary Acosta had a chance to do right by Jeffrey Epstein’s victims," Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline wrote on Twitter. "He failed. Today’s press conference doesn’t change that. The only appropriate thing for him to do now is to resign."

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine agreed: "Acosta is trying to defend the indefensible. He put a monstrous predator above survivors of sexual abuse, and he’s got to go — period."

Kaine grilled Acosta on the matter during his confirmation hearing in 2017, asking Acosta, “Why cut a non-prosecution deal despite your staff saying you shouldn’t?” (Acosta replied that the move was, in fact, a "broadly held decision."

And Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal called the plea arrangement "immoral" and "unconscionable."


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