Prosecutors in New York announce charges against Epstein. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta has defended the plea deal he approved in 2008 for accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Acosta was serving as U.S. attorney in southern Florida at the time.

Why it matters: With the wealthy financier once again facing charges, this time in New York, Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are demanding Acosta resign over the lenient deal reached 11 years ago. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Acosta said the prosecutors at the time "insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator."

  • While Epstein was jailed, he pleaded guilty to state charges to soliciting prostitution, not to sexually abusing minors. He was free during the day under a "work release" deal and freed entirely after 13 months.
  • Acosta said in the tweets that he is "pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence."

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Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 19,680,042 — Total deaths: 727,777 — Total recoveries — 11,962,565Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 5,002,523 — Total deaths: 162,455 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Nancy Pelosi says states don't have the funds to comply with Trump's executive order on employment — Trump adviser Larry Kudlow says he regrets suggesting the benefits could only be extended by Congress.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — Poll: 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Schools: Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo showing packed hallway went viral — How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Blumenthal calls classified briefing on Russian interference "absolutely chilling"

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.) called on the Trump administration to declassify intelligence detailing Russian efforts to influence the 2020 elections, telling MSNBC on Sunday that the classified briefing lawmakers received about the Kremlin's activities this week was "absolutely chilling."

The big picture: National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said in a statement Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate" Joe Biden ahead of the election. China and Iran would prefer that Trump is defeated, according to Evanina.

2 hours ago - Health

Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths in 2020

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" that the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. will be "definitely" somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 by the end of 2020.

Why it matters: "Whether we're closer to 200,000 or closer to 300,000 depends on what we do now and how it evolves," Gottlieb warned on Sunday as the U.S. surpassed five million confirmed coronavirus cases.