Labor Secretary Acosta stepping down amid scrutiny over Jeffrey Epstein plea deal

Trump Acosta

He was the United States attorney in Miami when he oversaw a 2008 non-prosecution agreement with Epstein.

The prosecutors said they were not bound by the 2008 Florida deal struck by Acosta, then the US attorney for the Southern District of Florida, that allowed Epstein to plea to a lesser offence.

Democratic lawmakers began to react to Acosta's resignation nearly immediately. Sen.

Trump said Acosta would be replaced by Pat Pizzella, now the department's deputy secretary.

President Trump told reporters at the White House that Acosta called him on Friday morning announcing his resignation.

Vicky Ward reported for the Daily Beast that Acosta had told the Trump transition team interviewing him for the Labor Secretary job that he had been told to do a deal with Epstein because he was a government asset.

After federal attorneys in NY announced the new charges against Epstein this week, Acosta tweeted that he was "pleased" by their decision.

"Thought he did a fantastic job".

"He made a deal that people were happy with, and 12 years later they weren't happy with it", Trump said. "This is him, not me, because I'm with him".

The Epstein case came up Acosta's Senate confirmation hearing but the Republican-majority Senate approved him in a 60-38 vote. "There would be questions in this town and on the trail".

The president has never explained what he meant when he said he prefers acting secretaries because they give him more "flexibility". "My resignation from this position will not diminish my support for you and your agenda".

Acosta's role in the Epstein prosecution has been under greater scrutiny this week after Epstein was taken into custody and indicted on sex trafficking charges, in a rebuke to the Acosta deal. Krischer mentioned that federal prosecutors drafted a 53-page indictment of Epstein.

Top Democratic politicians and presidential candidates had demanded that Mr Acosta resign over his handling of the agreement, which a federal judge has said violated federal law because Mr Acosta did not notify Epstein's victims of the arrangement.

Cummings and other House Democrats also sent a letter to the Office of Professional Responsibility at the Justice Department requesting a briefing about their investigation of the matter.

President Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House on June 21, 2018.

"As I look forward I do not think it is right and fair for this administration's labor department to have Epstein as the focus rather than the incredible economy that we have today".

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jeffrey Epstein, left, with Donald Trump at the current president's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in 1997 Who is Jeffrey Epstein? Acosta is one of the dozens of cabinet and sub-cabinet members of the Trump administration to resign since it was constituted in January 2017. A coalition of civil rights, human rights, labor and other groups opposed his nomination by Trump to the department's No. 2 slot, citing Pizzella's record on labor rights.

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