By Frank Rich
New York Magazine (7/12/19)
In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s indictment in New York, a number of powerful people formerly in Epstein’s orbit — Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Bill Clinton, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Donald Trump — have been scrambling in the face of renewed scrutiny. What will Acosta’s exit and the new Epstein prosecution shake up, and what might they not be able to change?
Perhaps at long last a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice, more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women. But what won’t change is this: the bipartisan cesspool of elites, many of them in New York, that allowed Epstein to flourish with impunity all these years. It’s the same transactional favor network that facilitated Trump’s rise in the 1970s and 1980s and that I wrote about last year in my piece on his mentor Roy Cohn. Indeed, some of the same bold-faced names that swarmed around Trump, Cohn, or both back then, whether at Studio 54 or Trump Tower, can be found in Epstein’s notorious black book.
Compared to the Manhattan heavy hitters who went to Epstein’s dinner parties, rode his private jet, and furthered the fiction that he was some kind of genius hedge-fund billionaire, the now-departed Alex Acosta was a mere flunky to be muscled (easily) by Epstein’s attorneys in the Southern District of Florida. But if Acosta is transparently a fool, a patsy, and a liar, how do we explain the others who looked the other way or kissed Epstein’s ass even as they noticed he was often in the company of a young harem? Easy: They got something in exchange from him, whether it be a free ride on that airborne “Lolita express” or some other form of monetary largesse, or entrée to the extravagant celebrity soirees he hosted at his townhouse, or, possibly and harrowingly, a pound or two of female flesh.
If you watch Fox News, you will believe that Bill Clinton was Epstein’s No. 1 pal and enabler. If you watch MSNBC, this scandal is usually all about Trump. In fact both presidents are guilty (at the very least) of giving Epstein cover and credibility, though the full extent of their respective exposure, moral and legal, won’t be known unless and until we get many more facts. Certainly the circumstantial evidence is creepy. Unsurprisingly Trump now asserts that he’s “not a fan” of Epstein even though their years-long friendship is profusely documented as far back as the early 1990s, when they were the sole men present at a 1992 “calendar girl competition” that Trump instigated at Mar-a-Lago and where more than two dozen “girls” were flown in. Clinton also appears to be trying to rewrite history. …
- Bill Clinton Is Lying About Scandal … Again. But This Time Things Could Be Far More Serious — While George W. Bush got tangled in its subtle logical intricacies, there is a folksy bit of advice citizens need to keep handy when dealing with politicians of all skunky stripes and varieties: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” Present White House occupier aside, there is no politician where this is more true than Bill Clinton. Anyone conscious at the time can recall Clinton’s brash, self-righteous presentation when he sternly declared to the nation that he did not have “sexual relations” with young intern Monica Lewinsky. Now 21 years later in the midst of yet another — though far darker, sinister and downright evil — sex scandal, Clinton’s representative issued a statement regarding his long-time pal Jeffery Epstein’s past Justice Department pedophile conviction hand spanking and the new charges regarding sexual abuse and trafficking in girls as young as 12. … Read the Rest