Tags: Trump Administration | secretary of labor | alex acosta | resignation | jeffrey epstein

Acosta to Depart Labor Dept. Soon as Epstein Scandal Grows

alexander acosta speaking in pennsylvania
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta (Matt Rourke/AP)

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Tuesday, 09 July 2019 03:48 PM Current | Bio | Archive

With calls for the resignation of embattled Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta now coming from both Democrats and conservative activists, sources within the White House and the Labor Department told Newsmax that resignation is fast approaching.

"I don't see how [Acosta] can hang on much longer," said a high-placed Administration source who requested anonymity.

The same source told Newsmax there was a feeling within the administration Acosta would resign "sometime by mid-to-Late July."

In the past two days, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Acosta to resign or be fired because of his role as U.S. attorney in the plea deal that resulted in a light sentence for multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein when he was accused of sex trafficking in 2008.

"[Acosta] must step down," tweeted Pelosi, citing the agreement "with Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice."

Schumer declared "it is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in Acosta's ability to lead the Department of Labor" [because] "instead of prosecuting a predatory and serial sex offender of children, Acosta chose to let him off easy."

The Epstein case notwithstanding, sources within the administration say the White House is not at all happy with Acosta. Criticism of the former Bush-43 administration official centers around what the White House considers as Acosta's failure to undo regulations administered by his department that were considered anti-business.

Earlier this year, Acosta was called into the office of White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and was, as one source put it, "royally chewed out" for not pursuing an anti-regulatory agenda.

Last month, relations between the White House and the Frances Perkins Building (headquarters of the Labor Department) further deteriorated after Mulvaney's office ordered Acosta to fire his chief of staff Nick Geale.

Geale's forced departure came amid reports he was abusive to Labor Department employees and known for frequent outbursts against subordinates.

"I can tell you those reports about Geale were pretty wild and they were absolutely true," a Labor Department source told Newsmax.

The president told reporters Tuesday afternoon he felt "very badly, actually for Secretary Acosta because I've known him as being somebody that works so hard and has done a good job."

He added the White House was "reviewing" the role of Acosta in the handling of the Epstein prosecution — roughly repeating what then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Newsmax in March when she said, "those things [Acosta's role in the Epstein case] are under review. When we have an update, we'll let you know."

Even if the Epstein review vindicates Acosta, it seems highly unlikely it can repair the damage to his relations with the White House on other matters.

Should Acosta resign, the president is likely to name Deputy Secretary of Labor Patrick J. Pizzella as "Acting Secretary."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Sources within the White House and the Labor Department told Newsmax's John Gizzi that Labor Secretary Alex Acosta's resignation is fast approaching.
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2019-48-09
Tuesday, 09 July 2019 03:48 PM
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