Finally! Over the weekend, the findings in the Mueller probe floated gently down to earth, like a meteor that was supposed to destroy the world but ultimately just fucked up a 7–11 a little bit.
What we all wanted was destruction and ruin of Trump, what we got instead was destruction and ruin of our hope for the future.
Except not really. We still haven’t seen the report. All we’ve seen is a letter from William Barr assuring us there’s nothing in the report to worry about, which in and of itself isn’t even true. From what we know so far, it says there’s no evidence Trump “knowingly” colluded with Russia, but also doesn’t do anything at all to clear him of obstruction of justice charges.
If you think what happened over the weekend means vindication for Trump, you’re probably just a little too eager to prove you’re not on the wrong side of history by supporting him.
You are, obviously. And you know it. But you also know it’s really difficult to indict a sitting president. So I guess enjoy your moment.
Even then, that there’s no evidence that he “knowingly” colluded in no way means he’s definitely innocent as it pertains to those Russia claims. It just means there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward with any additional legal action.
If you honestly believe that equates to total vindication, I absolutely cannot wait to hear your updated thoughts on OJ Simpson.
Sometimes people get away with stuff, you know? No one would commit crimes if there wasn’t at least a little bit of a chance of getting away with it. And the really good criminals, the ones who get to keep committing crimes for years and years and years, pick up tricks along the way that make committing those crimes easier and less risky.
Trump is stupid, but he’s not dumb. He might not have the tightest grasp on world politics, which is a terrifying thing to have to say about the president of the United States, but he’s also been the head of what some would describe as a massive criminal enterprise for decades now, with zero repercussions.
If there are two things every successful, high level criminal knows, it’s when to not be around, and when to shut the fuck up. Again, that Trump was able to abide by these principles in this particular instance is in no way a guarantee he’s innocent.
Fortunately, another thing all criminals have in common is that no one can predict what’s gonna happen in the future. The sex criminals of the past had no idea leaving their jizz at a crime scene would be their undoing years later. People dumping bodies in forests in the early-to-mid ’90s were oblivious to the fact that their cell phones were pinging off of nearby towers.
For Trump, the problem is the internet.
You see, Trump isn’t a great criminal. He’s a good criminal. If there was a Yelp for criminals he’d have three stars and mixed reviews. He’s great at not being around when he shouldn’t be (like at that Trump Tower meeting with the Russian lawyer), but sticking to the “shut the fuck up” part of getting away with wrongdoing sometimes escapes him, especially when he thinks he’s in the company of friends.
Those off-script moments at his rallies are a great example, so much so that he can’t even fight the urge to point it out himself. After pundits gave him credit for not having a total meltdown during the most recent State of the Union address, he congratulated himself for it at a rally in El Paso a few days later, right before going on a huge tangent about how being cool and calm in the presence of a rally crowd would never fly.
Later in that same speech, he very casually said this when talking about the backlog of 900,000 immigration cases in the United States right now:
“The good news is we have great law enforcement and, many of these people, we know where they are, and we’re gonna get ’em the hell out. But we have to change our laws.”
Raise your hand if you honestly believe the person who wrote his El Paso speech meant for him to say that.
Okay now stop it, you know I can’t see you. But you also know goddamn well that was another instance of Trump following his allegedly Adderall-addled gut and saying something he shouldn’t because he felt comfortable with the people around him.
Because what he said implies that dealing with that backlog of immigration and asylum cases in a “mass deportation” way has at least been discussed, which is a huge deal if it’s true.
It’s almost in our best interest that the discourse following this speech mostly centered around the fact that he talked about buying a dog also, because the day the mass deportation of 900,000 people becomes just another political debate will be a huge turning point for this country, and not in the right direction.
At the same time, I’m not sure total silence is the right approach. That only helps if it means someone who can maybe do something about it is somewhere coming up with a strategy for fighting back if and when that day arrives. I guess we’ll see!
What’s all this have to do with the internet?
Well, rallies aren’t the only venue where Trump has been known to feel comfortable enough to say potentially incriminating things. The Howard Stern show is another obvious example.
That’s where, among other things, he admitted to entering the dressing rooms of Miss Universe contestants. He’s also talked about his escapades in Russia during his cavalcade of guest spots on the show.
What all of his appearances on Howard Stern and the ensuing boasts about maybe having done some bad things have in common is that a lot of them happened at a time when no one quite knew what the internet was going to become. These were live radio appearances. You say your words, the people listening in that moment hear them, and then those words disappear into the annals of forgotten history forever.
But nope. Turns out Howard Stern viewed all that content as being far less disposable than Trump expected. Now clips of those offhand remarks from his days of yukking it up with shock jocks are the jizz on Trump’s collection of corpses, just waiting to be analyzed by their respective jurisdictions so we can lock him up forever.
At least that’s how it plays out in my dreams at night.
Same with the interviews he gave to magazines that people would presumably read and then throw away, forgetting what was said forever and ever.
Apparently, some of those magazines just went into archives where we can access them for all of eternity. Who knew?
I think the most damning example of both Trump admitting to something that could be regarded as inflammatory (to put it as mildly as possible) and facing almost zero backlash for it is what he said about notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in a 2002 interview with New York Magazine:
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
Just so we’re clear, that’s Trump admitting that he’s been friends with a convicted pedophile for years, and that they both like women “on the younger side.”
If you need proof of Trump’s crime boss-like untouchability, look no further.
Imagine if, instead of Trump and Jeffrey Epstein, that was a prominent musician talking about R. Kelly or Michael Jackson. The court of public opinion would destroy that person’s career seconds after a clip of them saying that surfaced, even if no court of law had punished Michael Jackson or R. Kelly for their crimes by that point in history (or any point in history).
With Trump, on the other hand, his admission that he and his pedophile friend both like ’em young isn’t even sort of a controversy anymore, even if we know exactly what he meant when he said it.
And hey, that all makes for a great segue into the actual point of this column!
With all the questions and angst around whether the full details of the Mueller report will ever see the light of day, the voices of the people asking right now for the same thing in Jeffrey Epstein’s insane child sex abuse case are being drown out.
In fact, I’d argue that there is no bigger scandal in the Trump administration right now than the relationship between Trump, Jeffrey Epstein, and current Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.
Back in 2007, at a point when Jeffrey Epstein was facing a 53 page indictment that likely would’ve ended with him spending the rest of his life in prison, Acosta, then the top federal prosecutor in Miami, agreed to a plea deal.
The details of Epstein’s crimes are shocking, to say the very least. They involve dozens of completely credible claims of girls, mostly age 13–16 at the time, being abused and trafficked around the country on a daily basis for years. All at a time when Epstein was living it up with all sorts of powerful and important people, up to and including former president Bill Clinton and current president Donald Trump.
What’s especially crazy is that, even taking the details of the case into account, the most heinous crime and abuse of power could be the plea deal Acosta approved.
Where to even begin? First of all, Jeffrey Epstein got 13 months in jail for a crime that involved as many as 50 to 60 young girls. Jail. He didn’t go to prison. He did that time in a private wing of a county jail. For prostitution charges, no less. Because you know how 13 year old girls are definitely capable of making the very adult decision to enter into sex work for a living?
He also didn’t even have to be in jail most of that time. He slept in jail. During the day he worked from a plush office that he set up, for reasons no one could really explain, miles away in another city. At one point a detective spotted him strolling around Miami Beach when he was supposed to be at that office. Nothing happened as a result of the encounter. At all. Jeffrey Epstein was actually released early.
But, but, but wait it gets worse, to quote 90s rap legends Onyx. Another stipulation of the agreement was that the accusers in the case not be informed of the details of the plea deal. By the time most of them knew what happened, Epstein had already served his jail time and was back out on the streets, albeit now as a registered sex offender.
That is a gross violation of federal law. Victims in cases like these are supposed to be notified before things like plea deals happen. What Acosta did instead was circumvent the victims entirely so as to ensure the ripple effects from Epstein’s sex crimes didn’t reach too far.
No, really, that’s part of it too. Another stipulation in the plea agreement was that four accomplices in the case, the people who helped him arrange his underage sex meet-ups, were granted immunity from prosecution.
With that, any lurid details about who else was involved in these crimes that might have come out during the course of future trials were locked away forever.
Somehow, it gets even worse.
By agreeing to that plea deal, Acosta effectively shut down an already active Department of Justice investigation into a child sex trafficking ring involving “elites.”
If you had an instinctive recoil upon reading that last sentence, it’s probably because, in 2019, it’s hard to read those words and not immediately think “hashtag pizzagate.”
That’s perfectly normal. All the best and most effective conspiracy theories are the ones that make you ask fewer questions about something real.
Blaming the Bush administration and/or holograms for orchestrating 9/11 means you aren’t asking about Saudi Arabia’s role in it all, and that’s good news for our sketchy relationship with that walking human rights crisis of a government.
Copping to getting a dude so high on LSD he jumped out a window is a way more manageable PR nightmare for the CIA than people looking too hard into whether maybe he was thrown out that window because he was about to tell on the United States for using chemical weapons during the Korean War.
That’s a reference to the documentary Wormwood, by the way. Watch it sometime.
Anyway, the point is, of course you’re getting #pizzagate vibes right now, that’s why that conspiracy theory exists. It’s there to act as a shield against you saying, “Oh hey, but what about that Epstein thing in 2007?”
Someone out there is so desperate to make sure no one ever takes a detailed investigation into the Epstein case seriously, an entirely new conspiracy has popped up that claims the allegations against him are all a plot by the Israeli government.
And sure enough, one of the people asking for the details of the Epstein case to be made public is notorious #pizzagate enthusiast Mike Cernovich.
Also in his corner on the matter, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who not only represented Epstein, but has also been accused of raping an underage girl in concert with his disgusting client.
Except, twist! Dershowitz says what’s in those court records will prove those allegations are false.
I understand if neither of those names fill you with confidence or any desire to see them achieve their goals, and I do think, especially in the case of Cernovich, that their attachment to this story partially explains why it isn’t getting the mainstream media attention it truly deserves.
However, Cernovich and Dershowitz are just two of the people asking for the Epstein case to be looked into again, and the rest are far more credible.
For one thing, a federal judge ruled last month that the plea deal was illegal. So there’s one more voice saying some suspect dealings were afoot here.
Additionally, compelled by that judge’s ruling, a group of 14 House Democrats, led by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel, and Jackie Speier called on the Department of Justice earlier this month to reopen the investigation that the Acosta plea deal shut down.
Meanwhile, since that judge’s ruling, two anonymous figures have come forward to request that the details of the Epstein case remain sealed.
It seems like one of them may be an Epstein victim, in which case, of course. Redact all the victim names, by all means.
That other anonymous figure, though, states their case more from the perspective of someone who‘s worried that their name showing up in the court documents pertaining to a massive child sex trafficking scheme could bring them some unwanted attention. Here’s hoping it’s not Tom Hanks!
Whatever the case, even if these particular court documents stay sealed, someone needs to find out who that person is and why they’re mentioned. Same for anyone else who might have been associated with Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes.
If nothing else, the Department of Justice needs to reopen that investigation, and a lot more people should be asking them to do it.
Remember, this all predates your #pizzagate association concerns. I honestly don’t even remember if we had pizza yet in 2007. We are living in a completely different world now than we were 12 years ago.
What I do know is that if we have time to cancel known racist John Wayne for being racist, we have time to demand that a crime involving dozens of girls being serially abused and the people involved in those crimes be investigated and prosecuted properly.
Oh, and on the off chance the connection between Trump and the Epstein scandal hasn’t been made clearly enough here already, don’t forget, there’s a lawsuit out there that alleges Trump raped a girl at Jeffrey Epstein’s house.
So, if you’re frustrated that the Mueller probe hasn’t delivered the results you want, don’t lose hope. Just redirect your rage and activist tendencies toward one of the other huge scandals plaguing the Trump administration right now, like this one.
For more information about the plea deal Alex Acosta agreed to and the crimes Jeffrey Epstein very briefly went to jail for, check out the Miami Herald’s fantastic and comprehensive coverage of the story, starting here. They should win all sorts of awards for their work.