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Bush admin official explains why Republicans are painfully silent about Alex Acosta’s plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein

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Democrats on Capitol Hill have been demanding the resignation of Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta for the lenient plea deal he once gave billionaire financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who pled “not guilty” this week to new sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Conservatives, meanwhile, have mostly remained silent, but a major exception is former GOP insider and anti-Trump conservative Peter Wehner — who explained to MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace why he believes Republicans are showing blatant “hypocrisy” where Acosta is concerned.

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During an MSNBC appearance on Tuesday, Wehner told Wallace — another anti-Trump conservative — “Remember the context of this: Secretary Acosta is accused of not prosecuting a sexual predator. The president is a sexual predator.” And he went on to say that President Donald Trump was “credibly accused of rape” last month.

The person who accused Trump of sexual assault last month was veteran journalist and long-time Elle Magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, who alleges that Trump sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store, Bergdorf Goodman, in the 1990s. Trump has flatly denied Carroll’s allegation.

Wehner has a long history with the GOP. He was a senior White House aide under President George W. Bush and before that, served in the administrations of President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. And Wehner recalled, “Once upon a time, this was a party that appointed itself as a party of family values.”

In 2008, Epstein was accused of sexually abusing under-age girls in his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida — and he was facing the possibility of being sentenced to life in prison. But Epstein worked out a plea deal with Acosta, who was a prosecutor at the time. And he was sentenced to only 13 months of incarceration, which was a light slap on the wrist in light of the severity of the charges.

Wehner, speaking to Wallace, denounced GOP silence on Acosta as “a joke and hypocrisy and just an extraordinary offense” — adding, “I mean, these are young girls who are being sexually assaulted, and they don’t care. And they’re siding with rich, powerful men against these kids, and the fact that they’re not blinking twice is such an indictment.”

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Wehner is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a right-wing think tank. But he hasn’t been shy about criticizing Trump or expressing vehement disdain for Republicans who reflexively excuse his behavior. In a February piece for The Atlantic, Wehner cited Trumpism as the reason he decided to leave the GOP after many years.

Like Wehner, Wallace was part of the George W. Bush Administration: the MSNBC host served as White House communications director under Bush and went on to serve as a senior advisor to the late Arizona Sen. John McCain when he ran for president against Democratic nominee Barack Obama in 2008. And Wallace joined Wehner in criticizing the response of Republican lawmakers to Acosta, calling it a “joke.”

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Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.

The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.

It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

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GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.

Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."

Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.

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White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’

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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."

Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.

https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1218704788432572422

Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.

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