tv MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle MSNBC July 9, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PDT
our community, across our country around around the world. he is survived by his wife and a large family, he was 89 years old. that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports," here is ali velshi and stephanie ruhle. >> andrea, have yourself an excellent afternoon. thank you. hello, it's tuesday, july 9th. >> president trump is defending his labor secretary today, alexander acosta. acosta is under intense scrutiny for a deal he gave sex offender and multi-millionaire jeffrey epstein back in 2008. here is what the president said while in the oval office just moments ago. >> i met secretary acosta, this is the first time i know when i made the deal to bring him on into the administration. i can tell you that for two and a half years he's been just an excellent secretary of labor. he's done a fantastic job. now, part of it is our economy is so good, our unemployment numbers are at record lows, you know, so many good things are
happening, but the fact is he's been a very good secretary of labor. what happened 12 or 15 years ago with respect to when he was a u.s. attorney, i think in miami -- is it miami? >> yes. >> you know, if you go back and look at everybody else's decisions, whether it's a u.s. attorney or an assistant u.s. attorney or a judge, you go back 12, 15 years ago or 20 years ago and look at their past decisions, i would think you would probably find that they wish they maybe did it a different way. i do hear that there were a lot of people involved in that decision, not just him. i can only say this from what i know and what i do know is that he's been a great -- really great secretary of labor. the rest of it we will have to look at. we will have to look at it very carefully. but you are talking about a long time ago and, again, it was a decision made, i think, no the by him but by a lot of people. so we're going to look at it very carefully. we will be looking at that very carefully. >> now house speaker nancy
pelosi, senate minority leader chuck schumer along with an increasing number of 2020 candidates are calling for acosta to resign, of course, they are all democrats. the labor department sources say acosta has absolutely no plans to step down, instead he tweeted earlier this: the crimes committed by epstein are horrific and i am pleased that new york prosecutors are moving forward with the case based on new evidence. with the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator. now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the new york prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice. >> i want to talk about that a little bit, but before we do that the president has a tendency to obfuscate. the labor secretary the unemployment rate may be low, it's got to go to do with the labor secretary, the labor secretary and that department measures unemployment. so the unemployment rate is low as a defense for alex acosta is
an irrelevant point, just so people don't get caught up on that. >> also from a historical perspective we know that the president has lost a number of people or fired a number of people in his administration and until hours, minutes before even those people don't know. so for the president to give him a seal of approval at 12:30 means nothing. >> let's take a look, though, at the history between epstein who we've been talking about a lot and acosta, the labor secretary. back in the mid 2000s epstein faced accusations that he sexually abused more than 40 girls, the victims ranged in ages from 13 to 17 years old and as palm beach authorities feared, local prosecutors would be rolled over by epstein's high powered lawyers, they asked the federal prosecutor in miami to step in, that's according to reporting in the "new york times." that u.s. attorney was, in fact, alexander acosta. he was a career government lawyer who clerked for justice samuel alito, he was -- before
his employment to the supreme court, he served as the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division and he was the u.s. attorney for the southern district of florida. despite his office developing a case against epstein acosta traveled from miami to west palm beach meeting privately with epstein's lawyers. for some reason out of that meeting came an npa, a nonprosecution agreement that basically allowed a guilty plea on lesser state charges. epstein was to serve 13 months in jail and required him to register as a sex offender at acosta's confirmation hearing to be secretary of labor senator tim kaine of virginia pressed him on this nonprosecution agreement. >> there is an allegation that i just read that you did not pursue a federal indictment even though your staff had advocated that you do so, is that accurate? >> that is not accurate. >> federal prosecutors detailed their findings in an 82-page prosecution memo and a 53-page
indictment, but epstein was never indicted. then there is a quote, quote, this agreement, the agreement you describe, will not be made part of any public record. >> it is pretty typical in a prosecution for an indictment, a draft indictment, to be written. that doesn't necessarily mean that that draft indictment is filed because that draft indictment does not consider often the strength of the underlying case. >> the draft indictment, 53-page draft indictment may not have considered the strength of the underlying case. here is what happened, the u.s. attorney in new york considers the underlying case strong enough and acosta wasn't the only one who used the law to benefit epstein. in 2011 the manhattan district attorney's office asked a judge to downgrade epstein's sex offender status from the most restrictive to the least. the judge incredulous at the request denied it, but here is the interesting part, this is how seriously epstein took his punishment.
just a month after the da went to bat for him, epstein joked about his sex offender designation, telling the new york post, i'm not a sexual predator, i'm an offender. it's the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel. >> a person who steals a bagel. >> this is from a man accused of abusing dozens of girls. steals a bagel. >> girls, as young as 14 years old. >> yeah. >> so that's like stealing a bagel. here is why that's important, because acosta is the secretary of labor and that's why this is relevant, because the labor department is a key partner in preventing human trafficking, including sex trafficking, which is a component of epstein's charges. here is how acosta defended the case during his confirmation hearing. >> at the end of this case i received a telephone call from the special agent in charge of the fbi who had been part of this entire process and had been at the meetings and had been
involved and he called to just say congratulations. this was really hard fought and well won. and i say that because this really was a point of pride. >> since you've added on then i want to add on. you are aware that mr. epstein served that 13 months, he was allowed out during the day and he had to sleep at a county jail, but he was basically allowed to move and go around the community and do whatever he wants and then that became a subject of significant criticism. >> and i am on record condemning that and i think that was awful. >> and you would say that was a state -- you know, that was a problem with the way the state administered the state sentence? >> yes, and i think it was wrong. >> now, despite the deal, every senate republican other than pennsylvania's path toomey who didn't vote elected to confirm acosta. they were joined by eight democrats including kaine's virginia colleague mark warner along with angus king.
joining us now jill wine-banks. >> jill, acosta said this was the best deal possible. we have talked to a number of lawyers since this news broke that say that this doesn't seem like the best deal possible, but let's talk about what would happen, why a u.s. attorney would make a deal with a defendant, not consult the victims about the deal. >> it's a terrible deal and everything about it stinks. the fact that he kept this secret from the victims, did not give them the notice that's required by the law, that he met with the defense attorneys in palm beach in a hotel instead of having an on the record meeting in his office, only indicates how terrible this deal was. there were multiple victims, there was plenty of evidence, there is never a decision made where you have a prosecution memo that doesn't consider the underlying evidence.
that is just wrong. any prosecutor learns right away that you talk about the strengths and the weaknesses and you point out exactly how strong your case is. and this was a case that was clearly strong enough to be prosecuted. and should have been prosecuted. the sentence would have been over 40 years in jail in the federal system. he served less than a year and he did it, as you have noted, by going to his office and working every day. >> six days a week. >> that is not punishment. >> help us understand in the nonprosecution agreement, co-conspirators who are never named are granted immunity. when the prosecution would agree to immunity, to the best of our understanding they would be getting something on the other side. >> you don't give away immunity for nothing. >> what was given away? jeffrey epstein doesn't seem to have offered anything. >> it's very hard to understand and let's look at the current indictment, which also says that epstein acted with others known
and unknown. that means -- and let's just look at the watergate indictment which also indicted all of the president's top men with others known and unknown. and then later in a bill of particulars as part of discovery we released the names of others that were known, including president nixon. so i don't know who those others known and unknown are, but we do know that at least one girl was taken from mar-a-lago where jeffrey epstein met her and so we don't know who those others are. we do know that some were employees of his who are named as employee one, two and three, but it's going to take some discovery and some trial to find out more of the details. but this is inexplicable, it's terrible. we need to protect young girls and the fact that he is now in charge of supervising human trafficking is really
unconscionable and justifies the calls now for his resigning. >> bill barr has said he will recuse himself because he formerly worked for kirkland ellis which was the law firm that represented jeffrey epstein. the fact that acosta has said in the last couple hours that he's glad that the southern district of new york is doing this and there's new evidence, does it give you any confidence that acosta at the very least will be hands-off? >> it's a good thing that -- well, he has no control, of course, over the prosecution. barr would have some powers and it is good because, remember, not only was barr at kirkland and ellis and acosta was at kirkland and ellis, so were the defense attorneys for epstein. those are the attorneys -- so you have two guys from kirkland & ellis meeting in a hotel room, deciding that they won't bring federal charges, they will let him get off with some minor state charges. that's clearly a system of
justice that isn't working for everybody. no one who isn't a man of great power and wealth is going to get that kind of a deal and we need a system of justice that's fair to everyone. i am very relieved that barr is recusing himself because otherwise you would have to wonder what would happen to u.s. attorney berman's case, would he interfere this that case? now he can't because he is recould used. >> jill, thanks. jill wine-banks. we want to continue this part of the discussion with a former assistant director for counterintelligence at the fbi. frank, you are concerned about this, that attorney general bill barr decided he would not recuse himself initially from the epstein case. >> well, he's done the right thing if he indeed is going to recuse himself, but, you know, i wonder if he's doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. he has cited the reason that his prior law firm was engaged in defending epstein, but he's not mentioning the fact that his
father had hired epstein as a private schoolteacher with no college degree in new york, so there's that connection as well. look, as jill said, each one of these components of this original plea deal just stinks badly. taken together i would say it's unprecedented in my experience. i supervised a crimes against children squad in the san francisco fbi division. i have to tell you everything stops when you are talking about trafficking minors. there aren't deals cut like this. i have never seen this level of sweetheart deal provided to anyone and i think it is a reflection of power, money and connections. >> so what at this point do you think the government needs to do in order to deal with epstein? we've got a whole bunch of potential areas of conflict in the department of justice and the department of labor also involved in child trafficking. what's your concern? >> well, first of all, don't be surprised if we at some point learn that the u.s. attorney's office in the southern district
of new york is sharing what they have with the state prosecutors in new york. why do i say that? because they need to ensure that epstein becomes pardon proof. in order to do that you're going to want to also make possible the existence of state charges. we heard from the search warrant results that they found a lot of nude photos of alleged minors. if that's the case, you've got state charges there that you could -- before possession of child porn. and there will be others. we're going to see a detention hearing very soon, perhaps as early as thursday and you will see an argument that he's a flight risk, but let's also watch carefully to see if there's an argument that he might be an active offender. that would be block busting news based perhaps on the photos that they found. >> what would the biggest priority be for law enforcement at this point? would they be looking to get jeffrey epstein to cooperate because they want the co-conspirators or do they want
the whole enchilada? it's extraordinary that this man is still this wealthy and powerful and this connected after all that's gone on. >> here is the dilemma whenever you're thinking about a plea or a proffer agreement or what's called queen for a day where a guy offers up everything he can. when you're talking about exploitation of children, you really don't want to cut a deal that involves leniency. that's what this case is all about and how we got here in the first place, but i will tell you what, when they sit across the table from epstein and say, look, you're going to spend the rest of your life in prison, it might benefit you to tell us what you know and what you can give us, this he might hear him out, but the moral dilemma will be what kind of deal can you cut even if he's giving you prominent people involved in child exploitation. >> frank, former assistant director of the fbi for counterintelligence. new court documents say jeffrey epstein maintained a steady supply of new victims to
exploit. we will hear from some of those alleged victims and break down his powerful connections. plus we will get a look inside ep seen's life with the best selling author james patterson who wrote a book on epstein in his 2005 florida case. why patterson calls this, quote, the most powerful and disgusting of the me too cases. you are watching velshi and ruhle. o cases. you are watching vsheli and ruhle. pain settle for a restless night's sleep. there's a better choice. aleve pm. the only one to combine a safe sleep aid and the 12-hour pain-relieving strength of aleve that dares to last into the morning. so you feel refreshed. aleve pm. there's a better choice.
welcome back to "velshi and ruhle." not reformed. >> not chase nd. >> not repentant. that's how manhattan prosecutors are describing alleged sexual -- serial sex abuser and multi-millionaire jeffrey epstein, a man they call a continued danger to the community who now faces devastating evidence supporting deeply serious charges smooth court documents state that epstein designed, financed and perpetuated this scheme, both as its main participant and through direction of others including certain of his employees to further facilitate his rampant abuse of underaged girls. we've been covering this story at length, but right now we want to take a moment to acknowledge the victims, the ones who say they were abused by epstein, some when they were as young as 14 years old. >> i was 16. >> i was 16. >> i started going to him when i was like 14, 15. >> and then he came in with this white towel on around him. >> and then he just laid down in
his towel on his stomach and he was just talking to people on the phone. when he flipped -- flipped over, that's when he said, okay, you can go ahead and take off your shirt and pants. >> and i'm really, really sad that i brought other girls my age and even younger into a world that they should have never been introduced to. >> while the charged conduct is from a number of years ago, it is still profoundly important to the many alleged victims now young women. they deserve their day in court and we are proud to be standing up for them by bringing this indictment. >> we get to look him in the face today and see him, you know, in handcuffs. >> it was just nice to be able to share it with somebody, you know, look at you and say, okay, today is our day. >> it brought back the last time i saw him which was right there at the massage table and it just
started making me feel uneasy, nervous. >> just to hear that they're standing up for the victims, you know what i mean, is just like so overwhelmingly -- it's past due. >> jeffrey epstein is known to be a man of extreme wealth and power and has connection toss top political and business figures dating back to 2002. former president bill clinton a one of them and today clinton's spokesperson is speaking out about the alleged crimes against epstein. excuse me. crimes against epstein. >> the crimes that he committed. >> the statement is saying in part president clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes jeffrey epstein pleaded guilty to in florida some years ago or those which he has been recently charged with in new york. >> but epstein's connections go beyond president clinton, this is prince andrew and donald trump who used to be his neighbor in palm beach. in a 2002 interview president
trump said, quote, i've known jeff for 15 years. terrific guy. court documents call epstein's ex -- call him extraordinary wealthy and state his potential avenues of flight from justice are practically limitless. forbes says although epstein is extremely wealthy the source of his wealth a money management film in the u.s. virgin islands generates no public records and his client list has never been revealed. >> but what has been made public is epstein's massive real estate empire here in the u.s. and abroad. he owns a $77 million home in manhattan and a $12 million one in florida. according to the southern district of new york. a $16 million ranch in new mexico, an apartment in paris with a cost unknown. and an entire private island near st. thomas in the u.s. virgin islands. back in 2011 "vanity fair" described epstein's new york residency to be manhattan's largest private residence, as described as an entrance hall covered with a row of individually framed eyeballs
from england that have been made for injured soldiers. >> that's not all. epstein also owns a boeing 727 jet, court documents suggest that epstein is an extraordinary flight risk noting in the past 18 months alone the defendant has traveled abroad by a private jet either into or out of the country on approximately 20 occasions. joining us now is the named novelist james patterson, he has a nonfiction book about jeffrey epstein called "guilty rich." james, good to see you. >> may i go first? >> yes, go ahead. >> from your reporting -- >> yes. >> -- do you have any understanding of where this man made -- >> you asked me that question before and i don't. that's one of the things we couldn't get at. we did get out a lot, though, and what's unusual about this book which came out in 2016, by the way, and god bless the "miami herald," but most of it's in here. the thing that's also in here which is interesting, they got these girls who are now women, we have the police records of what they said when they were
little girls. >> what did they say? >> they just described everything that went on. it's just -- it's revolting kind of stuff. but what's interesting about this book is the people that i got involved writing with, these are people -- you see the outrage right now, you see what you're feeling, you hear what a lot of people are feeling, these people have felt this since 2006. tim malloy who is a friend of mine, he was a reporter down there, he covered this case in 2006, john conley was involved with "vanity fair," he was an ex-detective and when we went -- we actually had three private investigators going after this. so we looked at president clinton, we looked at president trump, you know, we did airplane records, you know, more than -- i mean, a lot of these places people sit in their cubicles and they read blogs. no, we went out and had investigative reporters out there chasing down a lot of stuff. >> what did you discover? >> well, for example, you know, with respect to president trump, i'm not trying to be political one way or the other, but he threw epstein out of the club
when he heard that epstein -- >> mar-a-lago. >> out of mar-a-lago, exactly. >> there are allegations about things that happened at mar-a-lago. >> two things, one was that a member had complained because his daughter had been approached by epstein. >> 15-year-old. >> another was i interviewed a woman who had run the spa there and i said did you know about epstein? did you know epstein i asked. she said, yes, yes, yes. he would come over to the spa occasionally, he was inappropriate. she said i went to mr. trump and trump threw him out. so that's interesting just in terms of when people start linking -- i don't know about that, and obviously with president clinton, we talked to several -- two of the pilots and they said there was nothing, you know -- >> clinton is your collaborator on another book. >> yes. absolutely. that doesn't matter. >> right. >> i don't care about that. but i also don't think -- and i'm positive smart people around him, they are not going to say that he went on four airplane
rides if he went on 27 with somebody. it isn't going to happen. >> what did epstein had to say about you writing this book? there's reporting that these private -- >> no, i was here -- i was getting letters from lawyers every week saying we're -- >> saying what? >> you're going to be in big trouble, you will going to regret you ever started this book. was i ever trailed? i don't know. but i know, you know, before the -- back in 2006 chief of police was trailed, the detective on the case was trailed. they literally had -- they had pictures -- >> wait. hold on. epstein had the chief of police trailed by his own team of private eyes? >> somebody them, whether it was the lawyers, who knows who was behind it, yes. we're doing a documentary now, we actually have photographs of one of the people that was trailing detective vicari, photographing outside his house. also threats, the girls were
threatened. so people were really afraid and they remained afraid right up -- i think right now is probably the first time these girls are not afraid. >> they should not be afraid. >> well, you could have said that before and people would say -- the lawyers would say it, but they are getting all this -- i am going to be afraid because he's contacting me, people are outside my house, people are shining lights in my window at night. >> so the combination of the intimidation of the victims and the fact that they were young sort of for you -- >> also how about his supreme wealth and their humble situation. >> this is the worst example of a lot of the stuff we've seen. >> i think there are two horrible things. obviously the justice situation, which is one piece of it, you know, can you buy justice and obviously it seemed like influence and money works, which is really unfortunate. and the other thing is just what happened to these girls. one of the things and i've said before that in my mind this is the worst of the me too cases, it's worse than cosby, worse than weinstein. it's a horrifying, horrifying case. i'm surprised and i think it will happen that more women will
step up and say, oh, my god, we feel for these girls. this is -- this is horrifying. and the same way that they did in defense of people who had been wronged by cosby and -- >> i don't want to put you in a bad spot. >> but you're going to. >> i know you said lawyers contacted you, but did any people -- he had -- has one of the most powerful social circles you can think of. when you were working on this book, did people of influence reach out to you -- >> and in palm beach, look, towns don't want bad stories about their town. nobody -- i've had hundreds of people from that town come up to me and thank me for writing the book. >> really? >> yes. >> but no one said stop what you're doing. >> nobody knew. look, people don't -- i saw somebody on cnn this morning say, well, this he all knew. who would know about that? did people at nbc know about matt lauer? i don't think so. did people know about charlie rose? i don't think so. people didn't know. they knew that he threw parties,
they knew that he was -- they knew he was very smart, they knew he was chatty, but people had no idea what he was doing in his house and in his house in new york i don't believe. >> james patterson is the author of "filthy rich." >> 2016, by the way. >> 2016. >> god bless the "miami herald," they did a great job. god bless senator sasse. but they were there -- it's interesting because where was everybody else when we put this out? because 90% of what's in the "miami herald" thing is in this book. >> it's amazing. >> including acosta. >> thank you for joining us. it continues to be another big story. james patterson, the author of "guilty rich." next another democrat is entering the race, billionaire and environmentalist tom steyer, how will his impact enter into the already crowded field. plus a federal appeals court will hear arguments on repealing all of obamacare benefits for 20 million people. all of that is at stake. remember, healthcare, it is the
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entering the crowded field of hopefuls in the race for the white house. billionaire hedge fund manager and environmentalist tom steyer officially kicked off his presidential campaign this morning. earlier this year tom steyer said he would not run for president in 2020. >> i think what people believe is that the system has left them. i think people believe that the corporations have bought the democracy. americans are deeply disappointed and hurt by the way they're treated by what they think is the power elite in washington, d.c. and that goes across party lines and it goes across geography. we have to take the corporate control out of our politics. >> but this morning he said, psych, he is going to run. the 62-year-old founded the nonprofit groups nextgen america and need to impeach. over 1.2 million americans have signed up to support steyer's campaign to impeach president trump. steyer also reportedly spent 120 million bucks to support
democrats in the 2018 elections. he is now pledging to contribute $100 million to his own campaign and has already reserved more than a million bucks in tv ad time in early voting states. he's serious. >> today the affordable care act is back in court, a federal appeals court in new orleans is hearing arguments to strike the law down after a lower court judge ruled it unconstitutional. this is a top issue for republicans and one that president trump calls incredibly important heading into the 2020 election. it's possible the case could end up in the hands of supreme court if repealed the impact could be catastrophic for millions of americans who gained health insurance through obamacare. the government says 8.5 million people signed up for obamacare this year alone auto. joining us now nbc justice correspondent pete williams. pete, help us understand the dynamics of all this. if the lower court ruling is upheld, what happens? >> it goes to the supreme court whoever doesn't prevail in the appeals court. i would think the appeals court
would probably rule by maybe november or december and if they do that would be in time for the supreme court to hear it in its next term with a decision by, say, june of 2020. here is the issue, you may remember that when obamacare was first passed it was challenged in court as unconstitutional because of what was called the individual mandate, the requirement that everybody buy insurance or pay a penalty on their tax. so in 2017 the republican-controlled congress said we will fix that problem, we will just zero out the tax. texas and a number of other red states sued and they said, well, there is no tax anymore, so now you can't salvage the law as a fair use of congress' taxing power, therefore, it's unconstitutional. now, the states that are defending it and the u.s. house of representatives say, no, that gets it all wrong with the tax gone there's no penalty for not buying insurance so it's no longer mandatory. so that's the essence of the issue. the second part of the question
is this, even if that part of it is right, even if the individual mandate is wrong, does the entire statute fall? that's what the judge in texas said and that's one of the issues today before the fifth circuit. and that is a position, by the way, on which the trump administration has switched sides. initially earlier this year the government was saying, well, we think most of the law should be struck down but not all of it. certain parts of it should be salvaged. the president ordered the justice department to change its position and said in a court filing upon further reflection it believes that the entire law should fall, too. those are the two big issues the court will consider today. >> thank you, pete. pete williams, our nbc news justice correspondent. coming up next, a close look at jeffrey epstein's unprecedented 2008 plea deal orchestrated by alex acosta? florida. you are watching "velshi and ruhle" on msnbc. you are watching "velshi and ruhle" on msnbc.
i get to select my room from the floor plan... when i book at hilton.com free wi-fi... ...and the price match guarantee. so with hilton there is no catch. yeah the only catch is i'm never leaving. no i'm serious, i live here now. book at hilton.com and get the hilton price match guarantee. i want to give you an opportunity because i know you've been under the spotlight with this epstein thing and i don't want to come at you with facts, but i want to give you an opportunity if you want to just explain some things. were there ever federal charges because the "miami herald" article said he was facing 53 federal indictments. >> there were -- if i could just provide a brief overview, congresswoman. >> yes, please.
i would appreciate it. >> this matter -- this was a state matter. >> before it went to the state it was my understanding that it was actually -- he was facing 53 -- >> that is incorrect. >> was he facing any federal charges? >> that is incorrect, congresswoman. all right. that was democratic congresswoman lois frankel of florida back in april. she was pressing the labor secretary alex acosta on his involvement in jeffrey epstein's sweetheart plea deal when he served as the u.s. attorney in florida. this calls for acosta to resign season to grow. >> joining us now democratic congresswoman from florida lois frankel. congresswoman, thank you so much for joining us. secretary acosta earlier today tweeted a statement that he is saying now he is glad that the southern district of new york picked up the prosecution. he defended his choices from a decade ago, arguing that epstein was forced to register as a sex offender, i'm not going to say
that was justice, but he seemed to say that was the right thing at the time, there's new evidence and that new evidence is what new york is going after. >> is that a question? >> what do you think of his statement? >> okay. first of all, thank you both for having me today. i think it's ludicrous. i mean, he allowed a sexual predator who -- who molested countless numbers of young girls to run free on the streets. that's what really bothers me the most is that we have had -- not only the deal making, the sweetheart deal that epstein got, but the fact that a dangerous man was let loose. >> i mean, in that testimony and you and other of your colleagues questioned him, he didn't seem -- he didn't seem troubled by this. he seemed to suggest that you, members of congress, didn't really understand how the law works and this was a good deal because the guy went to jail and they got the deal they could get.
he didn't seem to really get -- share the sense of outrage that others had about the fact that epstein got what some are calling the deal of the century. >> well, let's just remember what epstein was doing. i mean, he was bringing young girls, some as young as 13 or 14, to his home under pretense, molesting them, countless numbers, i have heard numbers up to 80, probably more, we just probably know the tip of the iceberg. he was given a sweetheart deal in a state court where he served just a few months, i think, but most of it it was in like a two-bedroom suite, he was allowed to leave the jail every day to go to work and as far as being arrested as a sexual offender or being -- the fact of the matter is the man owns mansions, i don't think he really cares exactly where he's termed a sexual offender. >> then when all of this happened and he got this
sweetheart deal, what did the people of palm beach say? this is your district. these are your constituents. he big-footed his own prosecutors who had a 53-page indictment waiting. >> well, i can tell you this, the chief of police of palm beach was very upset. he remains very upset to this day and i inquired several months ago -- i mean, when this started bubbling up again i inquired back at the state attorney's office to try to find out why they had allowed this kind of deal and the state attorney who was there at the time, he is not there now, he is retired, and, you know, the kind of reaction i got was, well, we really didn't think much of these young girls at the time. you know, in terms of acosta, i will say this, if you look at that deal, people were given immunity, why were other people given immunity? why was the deal confidential? why did they shield it from the
victims? why did a -- potentially a 53-count indictment turn into a little slap in the arm for soliciting prostitution? who calls a 13 or 14-year-old girl a prostitute? there is so much wrong with what was done here and what i want to add is, you know, mr. epstein is now going to face criminal charges. that's a great -- that's a good thing in new york, but i still think we have to get to the bottom of why did he get that sweetheart deal. to let you know, our women's -- democratic women's caucus we have been following this for months now. we have been in constant communications with our oversight committee and requesting that the committee look into it. what we've been waiting for, though, is an opportunity where we will not interfere with the criminal prosecution. but we are not done following this. >> what's your level of confidence in secretary acosta's ability to continue as a labor secretary given all the light
that is now on how this deal was handled? >> well, myself and others, we have already -- we've already written two letters to the president requesting that he remove acosta. of course, i think it would be better for mr. acosta just to resign. i mean, the irony of it is that part of the duties of the labor department is to prevent labor trafficking and here is a man who said it's okay for this sexual predator to traffic in young girls. no, i don't think he's fit to be in office right now. i think the best thing he could do for this country is to step down. >> all right. congresswoman lois frankel, thank you for joining us. congresswoman frankel is from palm beach. >> we got a lot of feedback on the issue of what bill barr did or didn't do with respect to recusal in the epstein case. remember one of the confusing things about this case is that there are two issues we're talking about, the investigation that was opened up in miami in florida and the new york investigation.
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you should know the location of a decent bathroom.ation, my gut says, take new benefiber healthy balance. this daily supplement helps maintain digestive health naturally while relieving occasional constipation and abdominal discomfort. new benefiber healthy balance welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." gun owners in new mexico are pushing back against a universal
background check law and some counties designated themselves as second amendment sanctuary cities. gadi schwarz traveled there to talk to them about their rights. >> reporter: on the weekends, across the new mexico desert, the sound of gunfire is nothing out of the ordinary. in fact, for 16-year-old competitive shooter christina and her twin brother wyatt, this isn't every given sunday. >> not everybody is a football player or a volleyball player or competition baker. some of these kids like -- that's their thing. they want to be involved in a shooting sport. >> reporter: and that's one reason why sheriff tony mace is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to new gun laws now taking effect. declaring his region a second amendment sanctuary county. >> it triggered a nerve. why choose the word sanctuary? >> you have these sanctuary cities that say, hey, we're
going to ignore federal immigration laws, right, and so why not have a second amendment sanctuary county that's going to protect people's constitutional rights? >> reporter: mace, a democrat, isn't alone. in the blue state of new mexico, 29 of the 33 county sheriffs have declared their turf sanctuary counties. pledging not to enforce gun laws recently passed by the state. and the trend is spreading across the country. those who wrote the new background check law say it's merely aimed at closing a loophole, not taking people's guns. >> personally, i feel there are too many guns in our country, but we do have a second amendment right which is something that is celebrated in our constitution. and we take that very seriously. >> reporter: but in rural areas, skepticism is high. >> we think this new background check legislation is going to lead to a gun registry, and then that leads to gun confiscation. and, i'm sorry, you ain't going to come into my house and take
my firearms for any reason. >> despite politicians over and over and over again on the far left saying no one is coming after your guns -- >> they are. >> you don't believe it? >> they absolutely are. >> reporter: they're talking about a wave of red flag laws in response to school gun shootings. those with a court order to take guns if family members, officers or mental health professionals think a person may be dangerous. last year in maryland, a man in his home was killed by police when they were trying do that. >> when they replied they'd be taking his guns, he became irate and went back in the house and grabbed his gun. >> reporter: they claim the red flag law is saving lives. >> at least five of them have been school-related threats. >> reporter: but back in new mexico, mace is standing up to any law he says encroaches on the second amendment. >> even if they're bad people, they still have constitutional rights that need to be protected. as a sheriff and a law enforcement officer, that's my job to protect those rights.
good, bad or indifferent. >> this really highlights the divide between how rural america and how the cities see guns. a lot of places there where the sheriff was taking us, the response time from when you call 911 is 45 minutes from when you call to when a deputy shows up. he says that's one of the reason why so many see guns as a first line of defense. they don't want to be stuck there for 45 minutes with no means of protection when police are so far away. >> gadi, thanks very much. nbc news has confirmed that attorney general bill barr did not recuse himself from the current federal criminal case proceeding in new york against jeffrey epstein. he did recuse himself from a review of the plea agreement with epstein in florida. the nonprosecution agreement that we've been talking about. >> tom winter of our nbc news investigations team is here with us to clear it up. walk us through because there's a lot of confusion.
recusal, nonrecusal. but there's multiple issues. >> i've seen the confusion that you're talking about and reached out to my colleague and cnbc reached out. and the bottom line is in our discussion with a senior justice department official is that the attorney general recused himself from this review and from this look into the nonprosecution agreement and this idea that the victims were not properly notified. and a judge ruled that victims were not properly notified of this nonprosecution agreement. when we go back to the whole florida, alex acosta when he was u.s. attorney in florida, when we go back to that whole investigation. as far as the current case involve -- >> and that barr is recusing himself from, why? >> he's recusing himself from that because he worked for the law firm, one of jeffrey epstein's attorneys worked for the same law firm around the same time. it wasn't that bill barr was working on jeffrey epstein's case, wasn't that he was defending him, but they happened to work for the same law firm.
and so i think out of an abundance of caution so there's no conflict of interest, bill barr has recused himself from that review. however, the attorney general in the current prosecution in new york being handled by federal prosecutors here, he has not recused himself from any sort of developments or decisions. there's no indication to me that bill barr is, you know, directly the man behind the scenes coordinating this whole case, the current case of jeffrey epstein, but he does have the option of being briefed on it, and if there's a significant decision that needs to be made, as far as we know at this point, he's still in the game on that. at this point, that's where things stand, and i think -- look, it's a confusing issue. you have a case in the past and a nonprosecution and then a review into that. we have this other case. >> here's the question. acosta said he's happy that new york is prosecuting this based on the new evidence. how much of this is new evidence? >> yeah, i mean, look, there's portions of it that are new from the standpoint we haven't heard about it before which is the
allegations that involve underage girls here in new york. as far as the florida allegations, i'm very flummoxed as to what he is talking about because all of that was included in the prior investigation. the state's case that was there and then in acosta's own -- in the nonprosecution agreement that he authorized, there were five, i think i misspoke earlier. a slip of the tongue saying eight criminal codes they found he violated. five specific statutes they found that alex acosta -- excuse me, that jeffrey epstein violated. and they all have to do with sex trafficking or similar types of charges. >> do we know, i'm trying to understand the new evidence. when they went to his house in the last week and found all of these photographs or files with the photographs, i know we've got to go, why were they at his house to begin with? >> well, as far as that's concerned, that's not new evidence as it relates to the indictment. the indictment was already filed. it was filed on july 2nd. so if alex acosta is referring to the stuff found at jeffrey
epstein's house, that has nothing to do with the indictment brought that was unsealed yesterday for which epstein was in court for. >> thank you for clearing this up. you are the guy we turn to when we need to clear things up. thanks for watching. see you back here at 3:00 p.m. >> i'll see you tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. we hand you off to peter alexander who picks up coverage in washington. >> hello. thank you very much. i'm peter alexander in today for katy tur. 11:00 out west, 2:00 in washington where the president is defending his secretary of labor amid growing calls for his resignation. >> for 2 1/2 years, he's been just an excellent secretary of labor. he's done a fantastic job. what happened 12 or 15 years ago with respect to when he was a u.s. attorney, i think in miami -- is it miami? >> yes. >> if you go back and look at everybody else's decisions, whether it's a u.s. attorney or an assistant u.s. attorney or a judge, you go back 12 or 15 years ago or 20 years ago and