Pelosi on Acosta: 'Thank god he's gone'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — California monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus | Pence taps career official to coordinate response | Dems insist on guardrails for funding Overnight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Hillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment MORE (D-Calif.) made clear Friday that she won't miss Alex AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaFlorida sheriff ends work release program criticized over Jeffery Epstein The 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 MORE

“Thank god he's gone,” she told a group of reporters in the Capitol.

Acosta, President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE's Labor secretary, announced Friday that he'll step down on July 19 amid an intensifying controversy over his role in a 2008 criminal case involving New York financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested Monday on sex-crimes charges involving underaged girls. 

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Acosta, as a U.S. prosecutor in Miami more than a decade ago, had worked to secure a plea deal that kept Epstein, then facing similar charges, out of federal prison.

On Thursday, Acosta staged a televised press conference to defend his conduct surrounding the episode, arguing that the federal case was a “roll of the dice” and he therefore pursued the lesser state charges to ensure a guilty plea and some jail time for Epstein.

“I wanted to help them,” Acosta said of the victims. 

Appearing with Acosta on the South Lawn of the White House Friday morning, Trump lauded his Labor secretary and lamented his departure.

“This was him, not me, because I’m with him,” Trump told reporters. “I hate to see this happen.”

Pelosi voiced a different verdict, saying Acosta's “sweetheart deal” for Epstein should have disqualified him from the Labor secretary spot to begin with since the evidence of Epstein's guilt was “very clear at the time.”

“We have a secretary of Labor whose department oversees the sex-trafficking issue, where we have him do a sweetheart deal for a sex offender engaged in such sex trafficking, especially of children, young girls,” Pelosi said. “He should never have been appointed; he should never have been confirmed; and he should have resigned.

“I guess we'll have another acting secretary.” 

Updated at 8:04 p.m.