Sep 12, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 492 words, a 2 minute read.

Situational awareness: Below are highlights from a must-read story by Axios' Felix Salmon which just went out in his Edge newsletter. Sign up here.

1 big thing: Jeffrey Epstein's enablers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Jeffrey Epstein story is going to far outlive Jeffrey Epstein, with MIT in the crosshairs — and Harvard on deck, Axios' Felix Salmon reports.

  • New today: MIT president Rafael Reif admitted signing a letter thanking Epstein for a donation, along with sitting in a meeting where a donation was discussed.
  • Axios obtained emails showing how Epstein allegedly engineered donations from billionaires to MIT — without his name attached.
  • Among those apologizing: LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman, who was not among those donors but interacted with Epstein, told Axios he is "deeply regretful" for helping Epstein "repair his reputation and perpetuate injustice."

Between the lines: Epstein would allegedly engineer a donation from Leon Black, the chairman and CEO of private equity giant Apollo, or from other undefiled third parties. (Black declined to comment, as did MIT and MacMillan.)

  • Black's gifts were understood within the Media Lab to be Epstein money, according to 3 MIT sources. And that understanding applied more broadly than just to Black.
  • It wasn't that Epstein gave money directly to Black, which was then passed on. But it was understood that Black and others owed Epstein "favors" and that Epstein could ask them to send those sums directly to MIT.
  • Bill Gates gave $2 million to MIT in a very similar deal, and former Media Lab director Joi Ito — who resigned soon after Farrow's article was published — pursued millions more via Epstein.

The bottom line: Thanks to his enablers, Epstein's post-conviction life was filled with money, access and esteem.

What's next: Epstein's MIT ties pale in comparison to the amount of time, money, and attention he lavished on his beloved Harvard.

Share this story ... Exclusive: MIT and Jeffrey Epstein's billionaire enablers

Bonus: Pics du jour
Photo: Ramon Espinosa/AP

Above: Pastor Jeremiah Saunders poses for a photo among the ruins of his church that was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian.

Below: Protesters sing songs and shout slogans after gathering at the IFC Mall in Hong Kong.

Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images
2. What you missed
  1. Astronomers think they've found an interstellar comet on its way through our solar system. Go deeper.
  2. Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) filed a $400 million defamation suit against CBS News, claiming on-air interviews with 2 women who accused him of sexual assault caused him "emotional distress." Go deeper.
  3. Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli told me this morning that birthright citizenship should be limited to the children of legal immigrants — although he doesn't expect any action on the issue any time soon. Go deeper.
  4. House Judiciary approved a resolution outlining its impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Go deeper.
3. 1 shop thing
A box of merchandise is unloaded from a truck and sent along a conveyor belt at a Walmart Supercenter in Houston. Photo: David J. Phillip/AP

Walmart is rolling out a grocery delivery subscription service this fall, the AP reports.

  • The service will charge an annual membership fee of $98 for subscribers to access unlimited same-day delivery.
  • The grocery services will be fulfilled by local stores and require a minimum order of $30. With same-day delivery, there’s a four-hour minimum wait time between placing an order and having it delivered, the AP reports.
Mike Allen