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Acosta told Trump transition team he was told to ‘back off’ because Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’: report

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Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta told members of Trump’s transition team that he was instructed to “back off” when prosecuting Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago, according to investigative reporter Vicky Ward.

Writing at The Daily Beast, Ward said she had spoken to sources that informed her that concerns about Epstein “had been raised by the Trump transition team when Alexander Acosta, the former U.S. attorney in Miami who’d infamously cut Epstein a non-prosecution plea deal back in 2007, was being interviewed for the job of labor secretary.”

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Acosta helped negotiate a secret plea deal with Epstein, a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager accused of sexually abusing young girls, which allowed Epstein to serve just 13 months in a county jail.

Acosta reportedly told Trump’s transition team that he had been told to go easy. He told his interviewers, “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” according to Ward. It is unclear who was instructing Acosta.

Ward authored a lengthy profile of Epstein for Vanity Fair in 2003. But she says many of the most salacious details she uncovered were axed by editors.

“I tried to expose Jeffrey Epstein for what he is and I was silenced. Everyone who knew about Epstein was—silenced by people with more money and power and influence. Now that silence is over. It’s time for the truth to see the light,” Ward wrote on Twitter.


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Buffalo has a long history of protecting cops from criminal charges: report

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On Saturday, The Daily Beast documented the recent history of use of force in the Buffalo Police Department, which is reeling from controversy as two officers face assault charges for shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground.

"As shocking as this all may be to outsiders, the shoving of demonstrator Martin Gugino and the defiant response of officers to an effort to discipline two of their own is indicative of the state of police affairs in Buffalo," wrote Jim Heaney. "Has been for a long time, not that you have to go back too far to find other episodes of brutality that have been captured on video."

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Internet disgusted after Buffalo first responders cheer cops charged with assaulting 75-year-old protester

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Commenters on Twitter expressed both contempt and disgust for Buffalo firefighters and police officers who turned out in front of Buffalo City Court to support two suspended police officers with applause and cheering.

Moments after officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault and then released without having to post bail, they were greeted as heroes outside the courthouse.

After a video was posted showing the celebration, commenters on Twitter vented at cops and firefighters for defending the two officers who assaulted the 75-year-old man who had to be rushed to a hospital after they shoved him to the ground where he sustained a head injury.

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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