The New York Times editorial board on Thursday warned Democratic lawmakers against going after Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by National Association of Manufacturers — Whistleblower complaint roils Washington On The Money: Senate confirms Scalia as Labor chief | Bill with B in wall funding advanced over Democrats' objections | Lawyers reach deal to delay enforcement of NY tax return subpoena Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene' 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.


House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBrindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah Cummings's widow, will run for his House seat Former NAACP president to run for Cummings's House seat MORE (D-Md.) and Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinBrindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees Overnight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation 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 SchultzDem rep defends calling Ken Cuccinelli a white supremacist Both sides claim win in White House official's impeachment testimony Ex-Rep. Livingston pressed for Ukraine ambassador's firing, says witness 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 SchumerDivided Supreme Court leans toward allowing Trump to end DACA Ilhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' Top Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGiuliani pens op-ed slamming 'unprecedented' impeachment inquiry Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees Overnight Health Care: Top health official defends contract payments to Trump allies | Vaping advocates confident Trump will turn from flavor ban | Sanders gets endorsement from nurses union 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.