Melber Blames Trump DOJ's Underfunding, Understaffing of Prisons for Epstein's Suicide

In the aftermath of the suicide of billionaire and accused pedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein in federal custody on Saturday there has been plenty of finger pointing, some of it serious, some of it conspiratorial. MSNBC's The Beat host Ari Melber joined Stephanie Ruhle on Monday morning's MSNBC Live to point the finger at President Trump and Attorney General Barr.

Melber was not convinced of Barr's anger that Epstein was allowed to kill himself at the Manhattan Correctional Center, "The Attorney General says he is appalled. The Attorney General is in charge of the Justice Department and Bureau of Prisons. This is like that thing when sometimes when Donald Trump says can you believe what the federal government is up to and you want to say, you run the federal government."

 

 

This is a less conspiratorial version of the argument fellow MSNBC host Joy Reid offered over the weekend: Donald Trump runs the federal government, Bill Bar runs the DOJ, ergo it's their fault Epstein died before his victims could justice and before he ratted out any co-conspirators. However contrary to Melber's accusation of "whataboutism and blame shifting," the Attorney General can't micromanage the day-to-day operations at MCC anymore than the Secretary of Defense does at any military base, here or abroad.

Melber was not done blaming Trump and Barr, saying budget cuts may have had something to do with it: "If the are not....funding and staffing the Bureau of Prisons appropriately, that goes to the systemic part." He added: "They had a deputy-director vacancy for a while. This takes us back to bigger things that are a little more intricate, which is Donald Trump's lack of interest in staffing and funding his own cabinet, his own agencies."

Melber ended on a much more conspiratorial note, trying to cover himself with the "just asking questions" excuse he declared that the BOP's budget and understaffing when added to "the questions about as we’re looking on the screen, the fact that he had a history with this person" as "[t]he Clintons did" too. 

What Trump, Barr, accusations of underfunding and understaffing at the BOP have to do with being taken off suicide watch and guards not performing their routine 30 minute checks is a question that was not answered.

Here is a transcript for the August 12 show:

MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle
August 12, 2019
9:07 a.m. Eastern

ARI MELBER: Well, I think you're asking the right questions. The Attorney General says that he's appalled. The Attorney General is in charge of the Justice Department and Bureau of Prisons. This is like that thing when sometimes when Donald Trump says can you believe what the federal government is up to and you want to say, you run the federal government. So, there's --- there's a lot about that whataboutism and blame shifting. When you mention some of the conspiracies, again, it shouldn't be normalized. It is outrageous to have the President of the United States who has his own history and links to this person -- 

STEPHANIE RUHLE: As does Bill Barr. 

MELBER: -- as do many of these folks, as you say, to try to turn that around and deflect. If they are not, as Barrett mentioned, if they're not funding and staffing the Bureau of Prisons appropriately, that goes to the systemic part is yeah, as you say, people may want to move on in a couple days. That is the larger question. This is not the only important person in U.S. Custody. This is just probably one of the most controversial, rightly reviled, now dead famous people in custody but the Bureau of Prisons is under-funded. They have struggled under an acting director with a President who says he likes acting. They had a deputy-director vacancy for a while. This takes us back to bigger things that are a little more intricate, which is Donald Trump's lack of interest in staffing and funding his own cabinet, his own agencies, piled on to, yes, the questions about as we’re looking on the screen, the fact that he had a history with this person. The Clintons did. I would point out again while we're talking about responsibility, it was the Obama Justice Department that initially signed off on a far too lenient deal, according to many experts we've consulted, there's a lot wrong with this case from the very first inception to this now embarrassing in custody death. 

NB Daily Political Scandals Sex Scandals MSNBC MSNBC Live Video Stephanie Ruhle Ari Melber Donald Trump Bill Barr Jeffrey Epstein
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