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‘Is he involved?’ MSNBC’s Mika asks why Trump’s labor secretary let Jeffrey Epstein off the hook for child rape

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MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski wondered aloud whether President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor might be personally implicated in the Jeffrey Epstein child trafficking case.

Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta signed off on a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein more than a decade ago, when he was a federal prosecutor in South Florida, and that controversial deal that has fallen under new scrutiny following a series of Miami Herald reports — and now with the arrest this weekend of the 66-year-old financier.

“Justice was not served in that case,” said former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah, during an appearance Monday “Morning Joe.” “It is a travesty what Jeffrey Epstein was allowed to get away with, that he sexually abused and raped — himself and allowed others — so many young girls. That is one of the most serious federal crimes I have ever involved in prosecuting. I mean, we are talking about 10, 15, 20 years in prison, and he got a slap on the wrist.”

Brzezinski asked if Acosta, who has resisted calls to resign since his role in the case was highlighted in recent months, personally allowed Epstein to get away with raping and trafficking young girls.

“Yes,” Rocah said, without hesitation.

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Despite a mountain of evidence against him, Epstein was allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges, serve time in county jail and even spend half days at his office — and Brzezinski asked why Acosta would have agreed to that deal.

“So here’s the question,” Brzezinski said. “What is Alex Acosta’s intention to do this? What would he gain out of letting this guy basically run scot-free after abusing dozens of young girls and also inviting his friends to and letting others — like what is Alex Acosta, what does he have to gain?”

“I mean, he’s made a fool of himself in the law community,” Brzezinski added, “but, even more, he’s let a predator go scot-free. Why? What is behind that? Is he involved? I’ve got to ask. Is he protecting himself?”

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Rocah admitted she didn’t know the answer to Brzezinski’s questions.

“There are not indications that he himself,” Rocah said, “that I know of, that he himself, Acosta, was involved, but what there are indications — I mean, if you look at the judge’s opinion they violated the law by not informing, in fact, deliberately concealing from the victims the state plea.”

“What you see, when you read that opinion,” Rocah added, “when you hear the details of how the plea negotiations happened, is that Alex Acosta was very close with attorneys who were representing Epstein. They knew each other from their law firm days. I think, at best, this was a case of sort of an old boys network. They know each other. You know, Alex Acosta had a meeting with one of the defense attorneys privately, away from the U.S. Attorney’s office, in a restaurant. That’s highly unusual and improper in the ongoing case.”

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Illinois GOP embarrasses itself with meme calling four Democratic congresswomen ‘The Jihad Squad’

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Top leaders of the Illinois Republican Party sought to reverse damage on Sunday after posting a movie-style poster on Facebook that depicted four progressive congresswomen who have been repeatedly attacked by President Donald Trump in recent days as "The Jihad Squad."

This article was originally published at Salon

The poster, whose image was reportedly uploaded to the Facebook account of the Republican County Chairmen's Association of Illinois on Friday night, displayed images of the four newly elected congresswomen of color — Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — who are often nicknamed "The Squad." It showed the lawmakers in film-style action poses with a smiling Pressley aiming a gun and Ocasio-Cortez donning a red evening dress that was on fire. Omar is seen pursing her lips and Tlaib is screaming.

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Democrats, White House near deal to raise debt ceiling

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US Democrats have nearly reached a deal with the Trump administration to raise the debt ceiling, allowing the government to borrow more money and avoid a disastrous default, sources close to the negotiations said Monday.

The "near-final agreement" would suspend the debt limit until the end of July 2021, and increase government spending by raising budget caps on defense and domestic outlays, one source said.

Republicans and Democrats have been hammering out the broad constructs of a deal for weeks as they faced calls to approve the agreement in the House by Friday, when the chamber begins a six-week recess.

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Ivanka Trump visits defense contractor Lockheed Martin to promote apprenticeships

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President Donald Trump's eldest daughter visited defense contractor Lockheed Martin to discuss apprenticeships for minorities.

White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump visited the company's Denver-area facility Monday to discuss its apprenticeship programs and efforts to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees, reported UPI.

The president's daughter and Lockheed CEO Marilyn Hewson heard from several women who benefitted from Lockheed programs, and Trump pointed out that women who earn STEM degrees were more likely to remain in that industry if they receive on-the-job training during school.

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