House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta

House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta
© Greg Nash

House Democrats on Thursday called on the Department of Justice for a briefing on Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Trump taps Scalia's son as Labor secretary pick The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP MORE’s role in securing a plea deal for billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein.

In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, a dozen Democrats — including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerWhy are we permitting federal child abuse at our border? Trump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta MORE (N.Y.), Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuTwo Democrats vow to press forward on Trump impeachment Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment House Democrat says he still gets told to 'go back' to China MORE (Calif.) and Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment 'Orange is the New Black' author to Congress: Reform 'patriarchal' criminal justice system Top Democrat: Mass incarceration in US is 'an embarrassment' MORE (Calif.) — requested a briefing on “any related commission of professional misconduct” by Acosta, who was a U.S. attorney during the 2008 plea deal.

“We are abhorred by reports of Mr. Epstein’s repeated and longstanding sexual abuse of young girls,” the letter reads. “This despicable behavior constituted clear criminal activity that could have resulted in a lengthy sentence for Mr. Epstein had charges been vigorously pursued against him at the time."

“We believe it is of paramount importance that we learn the basis and rationale for the unusual plea deal,” the letter continues, adding that lawmakers have “serious misgivings about Secretary Acosta’s handling of the case and whether the Department fairly administered justice.”

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Lawmakers requested a briefing and “any relevant documents” by July 24, the letter reads.

After Epstein was convicted of sex crimes, Acosta approved the deal that enabled him to serve 13 months in “custody with work release." The deal also let Epstein spend 16 hours a day outside of prison and allowed him to avoid federal prosecution on allegations he sexually abused young girls and enticed his victims to recruit others.

Acosta continues to face calls from top Democrats for his resignation or for President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE to fire him from his Cabinet.

Acosta has routinely defended the deal, telling reporters Wednesday that “we believe that we proceeded appropriately” and adding that “times have changed, and coverage of this case has certainly changed.”

The Labor secretary has also insisted his relationship with Trump stays strong. Trump said Tuesday that Acosta has done a “very good” job and that he feels “very badly” for him, but that he would be looking at the Epstein case “very closely.”