Sep 26, 2019

Senate confirms Eugene Scalia as labor secretary

Eugene Scalia. Photo: Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

The Senate voted 53-44 on Thursday to confirm Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, as labor secretary.

The big picture: The position was previously filled by acting Secretary Patrick Pizzella after Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned in July amid renewed pushback over his role in Jeffrey Epstein's 2008 plea deal.

  • Scalia is a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He previously worked at the Labor Department during President George W. Bush's administration and served as an assistant to now-Attorney General William Barr in the 1990s.

Go deeper: Every high-profile Trump administration departure

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Jeffrey Epstein's richest friend

Bill Gates. Photo: Nicolas Liponne/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein was a master of maximizing and leveraging proximity to wealth and power. While some of his associates certainly inherited their social status (like Robert Maxwell's daughter Ghislaine and Queen Elizabeth II's son PrinceAndrew), most of the time he went straight to the top of the family tree.

The big picture: After Epstein was convicted of sex crimes in 2008, his friendships with the rich and powerful continued unabated. In fact, his relationship with Bill Gates started in 2011.

Go deeperArrowOct 17, 2019

AG Bill Barr reportedly "surprised and angry" at Trump-Ukraine phone call

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr was "surprised and angry" to find that President Trump had grouped him together with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani during a controversial July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine, a source "familiar with Barr's thinking" tells the AP.

Between the lines: The anonymous leak to the AP suggests a possible effort by Barr to distance himself from the Ukraine scandal that ignited a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump last week. The whistleblower complaint at the heart of the scandal alleges that Trump solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election by asking Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, and that both Giuliani and Barr appeared to be involved.

Go deeperArrowSep 28, 2019

Trump asked Australian PM to help investigate origins of Mueller probe

Morrison and Trump together at a recent state visit. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen/The Sydney Morning Herald via Getty Images.

At Attorney General Bill Barr's request, President Trump asked Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a recent phone call to help with a Justice Department investigation looking into the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation, the New York Times first reported and NBC News later confirmed.

Context: In May 2016, Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos told Australian diplomat Alexander Downer over drinks that he had been informed Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton. After hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee surfaced a few months later, Downer alerted the FBI about his conversation with Papadopoulos, setting off an investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Go deeperArrowSep 30, 2019