From Donald Trump to Bill Clinton, Jeffrey Epstein's political ties run deep and wide
In his journey from a school teacher to a wealth manager, Epstein associated with quite a few political heavyweights including Donald Trump and Bill Clinton
Shortly after billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's arrest at Teterboro Airport on July 6, DNC official Christine Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tweeted that the arrest had the potential to implicate a number of Epstein's powerful ties on both sides of the aisle. However, the way she phrased it was rather controversial.
“It is quite likely that some of our faves are implicated but we must follow the facts and let the chips fall where they may — whether on Republicans or Democrats,” she wrote on Twitter.
Pelosi's words were construed as more than just a bit flip, especially after Epstein was charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, and prosecutors alleged that he was responsible for building a network of teenage girls to satisfy his sexual desires.
While one can choose whether those complicit in the case qualify as their "faves" or not, quite a few prominent political and entertainment personalities most certainly have deep connections to Epstein.
Here are some notable political personalities associated with Epstein:
Donald J. Trump
The US president is undoubtedly the biggest name associated with Epstein so far, and his pictures with the hedge-fund honcho at Mar-a-Lago in 1997, and three years later with wife Melania and British media mogul heiress Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's ex-girlfriend and alleged co-abuser, have been given much media play.
Back in 2002, a New York Magazine profile of Epstein featured Trump praising him and his inclination towards younger women.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” the former real estate mogul said at the time. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
The Trump administration drew scrutiny after it resurfaced that Trump's labor secretary Alexander Acosta had secretly made a plea deal with Epstein 11 years ago when the latter was slapped with prostitution charges. Epstein was required to serve a meager 13 months in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to charges of solicitation of a minor in 2007. What's more? He spent most of that sentence in the comfort of his lavish Palm Beach office on a work-release clause as part of his plea agreement with Acosta. Acosta was forced to resign from office after being embroiled in the controversy.
But while the White House denied the president had an ongoing social relationship with Epstein, one of his accusers, Virginia Giuffre, alleged that she was employed as a towel girl at Mar-a-Lago when Maxwell recruited her to become a "masseuse" for Epstein and his high profile associates at age 15.
Meanwhile, Bradley Edwards, an attorney representing multiple accusers of Epstein in civil court, claimed Epstein was barred from Mar-a-Lago after being accused of sexually assaulting a young girl at the club.
Aside from Trump, the biggest political figure linked to the 66-year-old pervert is former POTUS Bill Clinton. Clinton's name reportedly appeared 26 times on flight manifests for Epstein's private Boeing 747 between 2001 and 2003.
According to flight records, Epstein, Clinton, and Hollywood stars Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker flew together on his private jet to Africa back in 2002. Furthermore, Clinton also received repeated donations from the billionaire financier for the Clinton Foundation.
The former commander-in-chief described Epstein in a statement to New York Magazine in 2002 saying he was “a highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of twenty-first-century science.”
But earlier this month, he told the magazine he was on the plane only four times and strictly for official Clinton Foundation business.
“In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane: One to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation," the statement read, adding that he knew nothing about Epstein’s “terrible crimes… which he pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York.”
The statement also claimed that Clinton's “staff, supporters of the Foundation,” and Secret Service detail accompanied him on “every leg” of those trips."
But a May 2016 report by Fox News cited flight logs from the Federal Aviation Administration that showed Clinton went on at least 26 trips aboard the notorious jet — dubbed the "Lolita Express" — from 2001 to 2003.
The destinations listed for those trips were rather exotic, namely the Azores, Brunei, Singapore, Norway, Russia, et cetera. Also, the flight logs highlight that Clinton was not accompanied by any Secret Service personnel on at least five of those trips.
However, the former president did travel with Maxwell and Sarah Kellen — Epstein’s former assistant — on multiple occasions. Both women were previously interrogated by the FBI and Florida law enforcement over concerns they facilitated hiring the sexual deviant's underage victims.
That said, the former president maintained he has not communicated with Epstein “in well over a decade” and has “never been” to any of the locations where the alleged abuse took place.
According to multiple reports, the Duke of York is a longtime pal of Epstein. The duo was often spotted partying in several destinations, including St. Tropez and Thailand. Likewise, Andrew was also seen meeting with the hedge fund manager in Central Park just days after his release from jail.
Prince Andrew is probably the most directly implicated in the allegations against Epstein among the latter's notable former associates.
Giuffre claimed in her suit that she was instructed by Epstein to engage in three separate sexual encounters with the Duke at Epstein's New York mansion, in Maxwell's London residence, as well as on Epstein's private island Little Saint James where she allegedly participated in an “orgy with numerous other under-aged girls.”
Buckingham Palace has denied all allegations, saying they are "false and without any foundation.”
Nonetheless, the negative press coverage over Andrew's friendship with Epstein resulted in his removal from the post of UK trade representative to the United States.
Interestingly, Epstein has a significant history with Attorney General Bill Barr. Barr's father hired Epstein in the early 1970s to work as a physics and math teacher at the coveted Manhattan private school Dalton, despite having no college degree.
Former FBI assistant director Frank Figliuzzi hinted after Epstein's arrest that Barr could "attempt to interfere" with the prosecution of the case, but also dismissed it saying it would be unlikely considering the "obvious" link between the two.
Barr stated during his confirmation hearings he would likely recuse himself from the Epstein case, having previously served as counsel for Kirkland and Ellis — the same law firm that represented Epstein and negotiated the terms of his 2007 plea deal.
However, former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah alleged in an essay for The Daily Beast that Barr may not stay true to his word in this case.
“While it pains me to say this, given Barr’s conduct in the past acting more as a defense attorney for Trump than an overseer of justice, I am concerned that Barr might interfere if he thought that Epstein might implicate Trump, who was friends with Epstein,” she opined.
Having said that, Epstein now faces more than 40 years in prison if convicted. He's currently 66, and so it is likely to be a life sentence.
Prior to his 2008 conviction — for which he received a mere slap on the wrist — Epstein was a Democrat megadonor. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, he donated more than $139,000 to Democratic federal candidates from 1989 to 2003.
Interestingly, a major portion of that sum went directly or indirectly towards Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns.