Stupidest Man On The Internet Knows Just How To Spin This Jeffrey Epstein Thing!
On Wednesday, the Miami Herald published a damning and far-reaching account of how Trump Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta -- at the time a Bush-appointed US attorney in Miami -- not only gave Jeffrey Epstein an absurdly light sentence of 13 months in a county jail for raping and trafficking at least 80 underage girls, but gave him and four of his accomplices immunity from federal charges and, very unusually, gave immunity to "any potential co-conspirators" involved in the case. If you haven't already, take 45 and go read it. We'll wait.
Acosta and other federal prosecutors also conspired to keep the victims in the case unaware of this deal until it had gone through, fearing that they'd spoil everything by running to a courtroom and demanding justice be served.
Now those girls are demanding at least some semblance of justice, with many of them filing civil cases against Epstein in hopes of getting his crimes on the record. And good for them. It won't send him to jail. He'll still get to live free at his home in the Virgin Islands, but at least people would know what he did. At least they'd know who else was involved. Unfortunately, because of the way things were handled, it's just about the only thing that can be done.
The whole thing is horrifying. One would think that it's so horrifying that all Americans would be able to agree on who the villains in the story are -- that, collectively, we would all agree that Alex Acosta probably shouldn't be the guy overseeing sex trafficking crimes. One would think that indeed.
But the actual facts of the story undermine the whole Pizzagate/QAnon conspiracy, and that's not something a lot of extremely stupid people are willing to give up. In the QAnon narrative, Donald Trump is leading a secret war against pedophile sex rings in Hollywood and the government and is on the verge of exposing them all. The mass arrests were supposed to happen on November 27, but they're sure they're coming soon. After all, why would an anonymous person on the internet lie to them?
In real life, Trump's labor secretary gave a ridiculously lenient sentence to a sex trafficker Trump used to hang out with -- going so far as to let Epstein's defense attorneys write the deal, and even conspired with those attorneys to make sure the press didn't get wind of the case. In real life, a 2002 article in New York Magazine has Trump calling him a "terrific guy" who is ... into younger women.
"I've known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,'' Trump booms from a speakerphone. "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."
Anything that conflicts with the narrative must be studiously ignored, and so the most-shared article about the Epstein investigation in rightwing circles doesn't even mention Acosta, and in fact blames Robert Mueller for Epstein's light sentence, because he was in charge of the FBI during that time. That is, he was in charge of an FBI that was still investigating when then-US Attorney Acosta made his deal with Epstein's attorneys.
That article, naturally, is from freaking Gateway Pundit, home of Stupidest Man On The Internet Jim Hoft, and written by his twin brother Joe Hoft. Yes, there are two of them. And no, that first sentence is never even finished.
The initial headline, by the way, was "Robert Mueller's FBI Gave Orgy Island Billionaire Epstein Light Sentence -- Today Details Were Released on His Widespread Child Sex Abuse." It is unclear how long it took them to figure out that the FBI is not actually in charge of doling out sentencing arrangements or accepting plea deals.
The gist of that entire article is that Jeffrey Epstein hung out with Bill Clinton (no mention of him hanging out with Donald Trump, also), and that because Robert Mueller was in charge of the FBI at this time, he should not be allowed to investigate Donald Trump for anything.
Corrupt Mueller destroyed the FBI with years of corruption. This man in no way should be leading an investigation into anything on behalf of this great country.
When I went to look at the QAnon voat page, when I went to go look at The_Donald, when I looked through my secret Twitter list of rightwing nutjobs, this was the article being shared most. Not the original.
But, if you're thinking that if these people had the correct information, they'd have the right take, you'd be wrong. When a Twitchy post about Epstein that mentioned Trump's ties to him was shared on the QAnon Voat forum, the reaction was largely that this was merely a "hit piece" against Trump, or that this must somehow fit into "the plan."
That's the scary thing. It's not just that these people are getting the wrong information, it's that when they do get the correct information, they immediately dismiss it if it doesn't go along with their narrative. I don't imagine much can be done about that.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse