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Acosta digs a deeper hole

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Trump insiders tell Axios that Labor Secretary Alex Acosta did little to help himself at his high-stakes news conference defending his handling of the Jeffrey Epstein case when he was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

The state of play: Trump hates being goaded into action by media outcries, and a source close to the president said there was "zero" chance he fires Acosta right away. "Zero," the source repeated — but allowing for Trump's impetuousness, another close source said: "I wouldn't say zero."

Between the lines: Trump will decide Acosta's fate based in part on his instinct about how Acosta performed on camera, and how the awkward presser plays.

  • In part, this is Trump as theater critic, making decisions almost as a detached observer of his own administration.

The bottom line: Acosta remains in a tough, shaky position.

  • The secretary has no ideological support with conservatives close to Trump.
  • And his TV performance wasn't particularly strong.

Go deeper: Acosta on thin ice with Trump