President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he wanted a “full investigation” into the circumstances surrounding millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide.
Trump was asked about his retweeting of a joke video linking former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Epstein’s death. Trump defended his retweet and discussed the actions taken by U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr, who has opened an investigation into Epstein’s death.
“Basically what we are saying is we want a full investigation, I want a full investigation and that is what I am demanding and what our attorney general, our great attorney general is doing a full investigation.” Trump told reporters in video posted by The Hill.
Earlier in the day, Barr announced that the warden running the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York, where Epstein died, had been temporarily reassigned while the Department of Justice investigates the situation. Two other MCC staff members were placed on administrative leave.
“I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody,” Barr said on the day Epstein died. “Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death.”
Since Epstein’s death, conspiracy theories have circulated the internet. A more plausible explanation for his death is that the prison system is not as well-run as Americans think it is, and the most high-profile prisoner in America was not properly guarded. As Daily Wire Editor-In-Chief Ben Shapiro discussed on his podcast:
He was supposed to have somebody else in the cell with him. The procedure of him being checked every 30 minutes was not followed that night. Because Epstein may have tried to commit suicide three weeks earlier — obviously, that other inmate was supposed to be in there. But the jail [had] recently transferred his cellmate and allowed Epstein to be housed alone, a decision that also violated the jail’s procedures.
Various news outlets have since reported abnormalities in the way Epstein was guarded in prison. Fox News reported that Epstein had been taken off suicide watch at the end of July. He had been placed on the watch following an alleged suicide attempt three weeks before his death. CNBC reported that Epstein’s cellmate was transferred from his cell just hours before his death and that he was not checked on regularly by prison guards, in violation of protocol. The New York Times reported that guards “fell asleep” and didn’t check on Epstein for hours, giving him time to kill himself. The guards allegedly claimed in prison logs that they did check on Epstein, meaning they falsified documents.
Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, told The Hill that not only does the prison need to be investigated, but Barr should be questioned as well, since he oversees the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which is part of the DOJ.
“There needs to be a question of what happened specifically inside MCC,” Honig said. “But there also needs to be a broader organizational examination — what did William Barr and others within the Justice Department do?”
“Did he take any steps to ensure that Epstein would be protected?” she continued. “The MCC is Bill Barr’s responsibility.”