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Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein: No links shown in latest documents

“I’ve heard that one thing that doesn’t seem to be covered is the Epstein files. Those files have been released. And Donald Trump is all over it, so to speak. There are pictures of him with Epstein. He took several flights with Epstein that had young girls on board. He’s listed in the call logs with Epstein. One of the most trending hashtags on Twitter right now is about Trump and Epstein. … You all should look at that. Because it’s highly disturbing.”

— Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Comments to reportersJuly 9

Florida District Court Judge Luis Delgado last week released nearly 200 pages of grand jury testimony related to the 2006 Florida case of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein had been accused of raping teenage girls. In 2019, after he was charged in federal court with sex trafficking of minors, guards found Epstein dead in his cell at a federal prison in New York. Investigators said he had hanged himself.

The documents revealed that prosecutors heard testimony about Epstein’s assaults on teenage girls before cutting a plea deal with him in 2008 that was kept secret from the victims and provided for a lenient release. “The details in the record will outrage decent people,” Delgado wrote in his order. “The grand jury testimony concerns activities that range from grossly unacceptable to rape — the entire conduct involved is sexually deviant, repulsive and criminal.”

But Donald Trump’s name does not appear anywhere in the transcripts.

That hasn’t stopped Democrats from suggesting on social media – perhaps to distract from President Biden’s problems – that there is a disturbing connection between the former president and a sex offender. Some social media posts claimed Trump was mentioned in a draft indictment released last week, but that is false. Only the 2006 grand jury testimony has been released.

Julie K. Brown, the Miami Herald journalist whose meticulous research forced a reopening of the Epstein case, has tried valiantly to point out the errors at X, but the misinformation continues to spread. “I have come to believe that the American public will not pay for the truth,” she lamented. “They prefer to believe the lies they get for free on the Internet.”

(Trump may have fueled this speculation by commenting in a recent Fox News interview on whether he would seek the release of all documents related to Epstein. “You don’t want to impact people’s lives if there’s false stuff in there,” he said.)

When we asked Lieu’s office for evidence to back up his speculation, we received a number of old Washington Post articles examining the ties between Trump and Epstein. But contrary to Lieu’s statement, none of these articles show that Trump engaged in anything inappropriate. Let’s look at what the public record says.

“Pictures of him with Epstein”

Trump has acknowledged that he and Epstein shared the same social circles in Palm Beach decades ago, but their relationship seemed to have ended by the time Epstein’s legal troubles began.

There are numerous photos of Trump and Epstein. In 2019, NBC News released a video showing Trump with Epstein at a party with NFL cheerleaders in 1992. At one point, Trump points Epstein at someone and appears to say, “She’s hot!”

In 2002, Trump was quoted in a profile of Epstein: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. He’s a great guy. He’s a lot of fun to be around. In fact, they say he likes beautiful women just as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. There’s no doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

But as the Washington Post reported, the relationship soured in 2004 after the two men fought over the purchase of an exclusive Palm Beach estate, a seaside villa called Maison de l’Amitie. Trump won the auction, and phone records – the call logs cited by Lieu – show that the two men did not communicate afterward. Two weeks after the auction, Palm Beach police received a tip that young women had been seen entering and leaving Epstein’s home – which led to a grand jury investigation.

“Multiple flights with Epstein”

Many prominent figures, including former President Bill Clinton, flew on Epstein’s jet. Trump took at least seven flights with Epstein in the 1990s, according to flight logs released as evidence in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, an Epstein confidante serving a 20-year prison sentence for helping him sexually abuse girls. Lieu claimed that “young girls were on board,” but no evidence of this has emerged. The ages of the passengers were not noted in the logs.

Trump flew between Palm Beach and New York City airports. On a June 1994 flight, Marla and Tiffany are listed among the other passengers, apparently referring to Trump’s then-wife Marla Maples and their daughter, who was not yet one year old.

“Extremely disturbing”

Trump was mentioned briefly in about 1,000 pages of documents released in January about a defamation lawsuit filed against Maxwell by an alleged victim, Virginia Giuffre. (Lieu’s staff sent an article about those documents.)

However, these were only minor clues.

In a 2016 deposition released by Giuffre, she was asked about Trump. Giuffre said she was recruited by Maxwell when she was a 17-year-old spa attendant at Mar-a-Lago.

“I don’t believe Donald Trump was involved in anything,” she said. “That would be another assumption. I never saw or witnessed Donald Trump participate in these acts, but was he in Jeffrey Epstein’s house?”

She said anyone who visited Epstein’s home would have seen his many nude photos of women on the walls. “These are lewd acts of girls, young girls doing things to each other that would be considered child pornography,” Giuffre testified. “If you were to enter Jeffrey Epstein’s home and go in there and continue to be an acquaintance of his, then you would have to know what was going on there.”

Johanna Sjoberg, one of Epstein’s other alleged victims, was quoted as saying that Epstein’s plane made an unplanned stop in Atlantic City between 2001 and 2006. There was no evidence they saw Trump, and she said she never gave Trump a massage.

The documents also included emails from an accuser who made allegations against Trump but then retracted them. (A woman using the pseudonyms Katie Johnson and Jane Doe also accused Trump of raping her at Epstein’s home when she was 13; those allegations were dismissed or retracted years ago.)

In a statement, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said: “Ted is a total failure and loser who continually makes a fool of himself. He has allowed his brain to rot with Trump Derangement Syndrome and instead of getting the care he needs, he allows himself to be made the laughing stock of all his colleagues who secretly mock his blatant misdeeds.”

Lieu’s office had no comment other than providing links to articles.

The Pinocchio Test

As we have documented, 17 women have alleged that Trump was guilty of sexual assault. A Manhattan jury found that Trump sexually assaulted and defamed a woman on our list. However, no credible allegations have emerged linking Trump to any of Epstein’s crimes.

Lieu is a congressman who doesn’t need to rely on questionable social media posts for his information – especially if he’s going to make a statement like this. Trump was not mentioned in the recent Epstein documents. He was barely mentioned in the earlier documents. Rest assured – if Trump had been mentioned prominently, it would have been a huge story.

Lieu receives four Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios

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