Jul 11, 2019

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

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Alex Acosta resigns as Trump's labor secretary

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta announced Friday that he will resign next week during an appearance with President Trump at the White House.

The big picture: Acosta has faced scrutiny over his handling of the Jeffrey Epstein case during his tenure as a federal prosecutor in Florida. Trump said that Acosta had done a "very good job" at the Labor Department.

Go deeperArrowJul 12, 2019

Acosta defends handling of 2008 Epstein plea deal

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said Wednesday "facts are being overlooked" concerning his handling of a sex-trafficking case involving accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, as he defended his handling of the 2008 case.

Why it matters: Now Epstein faces sex trafficking charges involving minors in New York, Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are demanding Acosta resign over the lenient deal reached in the wealthy financier's earlier case, when the labor secretary was serving as U.S. attorney in southern Florida.

Go deeperArrowJul 11, 2019

Trump to nominate Eugene Scalia as labor secretary

Eugene Scalia gets encouragement from Sen. Kit Bond before Scalia's conformation hearing in 2001. Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday evening his intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new secretary of labor.

Details: Scalia, 55, is the son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. A source told NPR that Trump offered the job to Scalia, and he accepted. He is a partner at a Washington, D.C.-based law firm where he focuses on labor and employment. He worked as an assistant to Attorney General William Barr in the 1990s.

Go deeperArrowJul 19, 2019