Following the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein on charges of molesting underage girls and sex trafficking children, media organizations have tried to tie him to President Donald Trump.
What Does the Video Show?The footage, taken nearly 27 years ago—shot before Trump converted the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, into a club—shows a party that featured the Buffalo Bills cheerleaders.
The video also shows Trump greeting four guests (not three as MSNBC reported), one of whom is Jeffrey Epstein.
This old video was promoted by the hosts of "Morning Joe" as evidence against the president’s recent claim that he was “not a fan of Epstein.” Co-host Mika Brzezinski claimed that the president said that “he never liked Epstein.” Co-host Joe Scarborough chimed in, noting that Trump “looks like a big fan of Epstein” in the video.
But that quick summation fails to place the story into its proper context and timing.
Trump had known Epstein, who owns a house in Palm Beach, socially for years. At some point, however, the two had a falling out after Trump became aware of inappropriate behavior on Epstein’s part, leading Trump to ban Epstein from Mar-a-Lago.
Epstein wouldn't face accusations of statutory rape and sexual abuse until 2005—13 years after the video had been recorded.
Epstein was indicted in 2007 on charges he abused underage girls, but reached a controversial plea deal in which he served only 13 months at a low-security facility that allowed him to work from his office each day.
This month, Epstein was charged with sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking that may lead to him spending the rest of his life in prison. Justice Department officials have indicated that they expect the charges against Epstein to expand as they delve further into the case.
Contained within the federal indictment against Epstein is a short timeline of his offenses, which notes, “Beginning in at least 2002, Jeffery Epstein, the defendant, enticed and recruited, and caused to be enticed and recruited, dozens of minor girls to engage in sex acts with him.”
But Trump continued: “I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn’t a fan. I was not—a long time ago, I’d say maybe 15 years. I was not a fan of his. That I can tell you. I was not a fan of his.”
Trump Bars Epstein From Mar-a-LagoBest-selling author James Patterson, who wrote a book on Epstein, titled “Filthy Rich,” has stated that Trump banned Epstein from Mar-a-Lago. In a recent interview on Fox News, Patterson said: “There were some complaints about Epstein at Mar-a-Lago. I spoke to the head of the spa there. ... She said she went to Trump, and he threw [Epstein] out of the club.”
The Washington Post article also noted that all sides agreed that Trump’s involvement in the Epstein case was only tangential and wouldn’t even require his testimony:
“Lawyers involved with the various Epstein cases said there is virtually no chance that the president will be required to testify in a matter in which both sides agree his involvement was tangential.”
In other words, nothing in the 1992 footage disproves anything that Trump has said about his relationship with Epstein.
Political Donations by EpsteinAttempts to make damning connections between Epstein and Trump from a 1992 video may ultimately prove to be problematic for the media. since Epstein’s ties appear to fall primarily in Democrat circles.
Other notable recipients of Epstein's donations included former President Bill Clinton and Democrats John Kerry, Richard Gephardt, and Chris Dodd.
Clinton Activities at Time of 1992 VideoAt the same time that Trump was pictured with Epstein in 1992, Bill Clinton was making news of his own. In January of 1992, shortly after announcing his candidacy for president, Gennifer Flowers alleged that she had a 12-year affair with then-Gov. Clinton.
According to the article, these same flight logs “show Clinton flying aboard Epstein’s plane to such destinations as Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, China, Brunei, London, New York, the Azores, Belgium, Norway, Russia, and Africa.”
The article also notes that those regularly traveling with Clinton included “Epstein’s associates, New York socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein’s assistant, Sarah Kellen, both of whom were investigated by the FBI and Palm Beach Police for recruiting girls for Epstein and his friends.”
Epstein Scandal ExpandsThe ongoing investigation of Epstein is likely to implicate others as it progresses, and the scandal may have already impacted an Israeli election. On July 11, 2019, Israeli media Haaretz reported that Epstein “partnered with former Prime Minister Ehud Barak to invest in the former prime minister’s startup.”
Barak continued, noting that he “never attended a party with him. I never met Epstein in the company of women or young girls.” Barak also has admitted to visiting Epstein's private island, although he said he hadn't been to any parties or met any girls there.
The Daily Mail reported that “a bevy of young women were also seen going into the multi-millionaire’s lavish seven-story home on the same day that Ehud Barak was snapped.” It isn't clear if Barak was still present at Epstein’s home when the “young women” arrived.
It's worth asking why these pictures are only coming out now, and how Probe-Media knew that Barak would be present at the Epstein residence on that particular day. Why did they choose to wait outside Epstein’s mansion for the entire day, in the cold New York weather, to capture photos of the female visitors?
Although the Epstein investigation is still in the early stages, it's suspected that more individuals will be caught up in the unfolding scandal. Epstein was denied bail on July 18 by Judge Richard Berman, who noted, “I am not suggesting that a different bail package would be appropriate because I doubt that any bail package can overcome the danger to the community.”
Perhaps the new investigation will provide answers and accountability in relation to the early investigation that allowed Epstein to escape with a light punishment for his crimes.