Kellyanne Conway defends Trump Labor secretary amid fresh scrutiny over Epstein deal

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayFederal guidance identifying 'go back to where you came from' as discrimination goes viral after Trump comments Kellyanne Conway says she meant 'no disrespect' with question about reporter's ethnicity Kellyanne Conway asks reporter 'what's your ethnicity' while defending Trump's 'go back' comments about minority lawmakers MORE on Tuesday defended Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Trump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions NBC News releases video showing Trump, Epstein at 1992 party MORE amid renewed calls from Democrats for his resignation over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein.

"[Trump] met Alex AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Trump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions NBC News releases video showing Trump, Epstein at 1992 party MORE when Alex applied and got the job, where he’s doing a great job. You look at the economy," Conway told reporters on the White House driveway.

Conway skirted multiple questions about whether Trump still had confidence in Acosta, instead criticizing the media and Democrats for focusing on the Labor secretary instead of Epstein's crimes.

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"It’s classic [Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSally Yates: Moral fiber of US being 'shredded by unapologetic racism' Al Green calls for additional security for House members after Trump rally #IStandWithPresTrump trends in response to #IStandWithIlhan MORE (D-Calif.)] and her Democratic Party to not focus on the perpetrator at hand and instead to focus on a member of the Trump administration," Conway told reporters. "They’re so obsessed with this president that they immediately go to Alex Acosta."

Pelosi late Monday joined several other House Democrats in urging Acosta to step down over his role in a years-old plea deal Acosta oversaw that allowed Epstein to avoid a possible life sentence. They argued the 2008 plea deal he helped negotiate as a U.S. attorney in Miami allowed Epstein to victimize more young women and girls.

Epstein was charged Monday in New York with sex trafficking. He has pleaded not guilty.

"As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice," Pelosi tweeted late Monday. "This was known by @POTUS when he appointed him to the cabinet."

While serving as U.S. attorney in Miami in 2008, Acosta oversaw negotiations that ended with a favorable plea deal for Epstein that allowed the billionaire to avoid federal prosecution and a possible life sentence. Instead, Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges and served roughly a year in prison.

A federal judge ruled in February that prosecutors in the case violated the Crime Victims Rights Act by failing to inform Epstein’s victims about the plea deal.

Conway on Tuesday noted that Acosta addressed the plea deal when he was asked about it at his confirmation hearing in 2017. Acosta defended the arrangement, arguing it forced Epstein to register as a sex offender and ensured he served at least some time in jail. 

"You want to revisit what happened in Florida," Conway said. "New York has applied fresh charges to Jeffrey Epstein because they have a right to do that and I hope we’re all paying attention to the true perpetrator here."