The New York Times editorial board on Thursday warned Democratic lawmakers against going after Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Trump officially nominates Eugene Scalia as Labor secretary pick Our farmers need a better labor program MORE over his 2008 plea deal with billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is currently facing sex trafficking charges involving minors.

The newspaper cautioned lawmakers that they could make Acosta a political “martyr” and said that the focus should be on a slate of other issues involving the Trump administration, including immigration policies, attempts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census and Hatch Act allegations against at least 10 Trump senior officials.

ADVERTISEMENT

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFederal agency to resume processing some deferred-action requests for migrants Overnight Defense: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort Top Oversight Democrat demands immigration brass testify MORE (D-Md.) and Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats bicker over strategy on impeachment Overnight Defense: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort Top Oversight Democrat demands immigration brass testify MORE (D-Md.), who heads the panel’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, sent a letter to Acosta Wednesday, inviting him to testify later this month about his role as U.S. attorney in the Epstein plea deal.

The Times editorial board said that going after Acosta is a “poor use of the lawmakers’ limited time and resources.”

“This is a mistake. There’s no doubt that the judicial system must examine the accusations against Mr. Epstein, and that the Justice Department will have many questions about Mr. Acosta’s apparent leniency toward him,” the editorial said. “Congress digging into this case, however, is a poor use of lawmakers’ limited time and resources.”

The editorial board also warned the testimony could cause lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to make the testimony a proxy battle between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats.

“Mr. Acosta’s appearance before House members right now is unlikely to bring much more light to the situation. At best, having lawmakers grill him will give the issue a political rather than a criminal cast. And the second a Democratic member suggests that Mr. Acosta is emblematic of the rot at the heart of the Trump presidency, the partisan battle lines will harden,” the editorial said.

The board pointed to how the accusations against Acosta have already turned political.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzDemocrats walk tightrope in fight over Trump wall funds Parkland father: Twitter did not suspend users who harassed me using name of daughter's killer Hillicon Valley: Senate Intel releases election security report | GOP blocks votes on election security bills | Gabbard sues Google over alleged censorship | Barr meets state AGs on tech antitrust concerns MORE (D-Fla.) accused the president of “coddling” Acosta after Trump said he “feels badly” for the Labor secretary and said he is doing a “fantastic job.” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden blasts Trump, demands he release transcript of call with foreign leader Pelosi wants to change law to allow a sitting president to be indicted Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week MORE (D-Calif.) have both called for Acosta to step down.

“As for Mr. Acosta’s past failures as a federal prosecutor, better to let the legal system and the court of public opinion carry this particular burden. Some outrages are best kept as free of partisan politics as possible,” the editorial said.