The president was asked why he’d sent well wishes to Maxwell – charged with child sex trafficking – at a recent White House press conference.
‘Well, her boyfriend died in jail, and people are still trying to figure out how did it happen. Was it suicide? Was he killed? And I do wish her well,’ Trump told Axios.
‘I’m not looking for anything bad for her. I’m not looking bad for anybody.’
Probed on his compassion, Trump replied: ‘Yeah, I’d wish her well. I’d wish you well, I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty.’
The president’s relationship with Epstein and Maxwell has been scrutinized as they mixed in the same affluent circles for decades, with Trump once describing the convicted pedophile as a ‘terrific guy’.
Donald Trump has sent a message of support to Ghislaine Maxwell as she awaits her trial for sex trafficking minors. Pictured the president, with First Lady Melania Trump, Epstein and Maxwell at Mar-a-Lago in 2000 (left) and Trump and Maxwell together at the Anand Jon Fashion Show in September 2000 in New York City (right)
Epstein was found hanging in his Manhattan prison cell in August last year while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges.
The 66-year-old’s death was ruled a suicide but his attorneys and some family members claim he was murdered to stop him from sharing what he knows about other high profile, powerful people.
Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein
Shortly after his death last year, Emerson College found that out of 1,458 registered voters, 34% said they believed Epstein was murdered; 33% agreed with the official finding that he committed suicide; and 32% said they were unsure.
Trump’s kind message to Maxwell comes after he recounted how he’d met the alleged madam ‘numerous times’ in Palm Beach, Florida, at a press conference at the White House on July 21.
Asked whether he thought Maxwell, 58, would turn in the names of powerful people, Trump responded saying he ‘hadn’t been following it too much’ but that he ‘wishes her well’.
‘I just wish her well frankly,’ he said.
‘I’ve met her numerous times over the years especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach.’
Trump then reinforced his well-wishes for Maxwell and said he doesn’t know about the ‘situation’ with Prince Andrew.
‘But I wish her well whatever it is,’ he said. ‘I don’t know the situation with Prince Andrew. I don’t know, I’m just not aware of it.’
One of Epstein’s victims Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims she was coerced into having sex with the Prince Andrew as a 17-year-old – claims the prince strongly denies.
Epstein’s sprawling waterfront property in Palm Beach, where many of his victims said they were lured to and sexually abused, is just 1.8 miles down the road from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club where the two men partied and Epstein is accused of procuring victims from
Trump, Melania, Epstein and Maxwell pose together at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach in February 2000 (right) and Trump and Maxwell at the Gucci Envy Perfume Launch Benefit For Cancer Patients in New York City in 1997 (left)
Trump knew Epstein and Maxwell for decades, running in the same elite social circles in Florida and New York in the 1980s and 1990s before the pedophile’s fall from grace.
Epstein’s sprawling waterfront property in Palm Beach, where many of his victims said they were lured to and sexually abused, is just 1.8 miles down the road from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.
In 1992, the future president organized a ‘calendar girls’ party with 28 women, with Epstein and himself the only men, according to Vanity Fair.
The two men were also seen on recently surfaced video footage partying together that year at Mar-a-Lago with cheerleaders from the Buffalo Bills.
In the footage, Trump is heard saying: ‘Look at her… she’s hot.’
In 1997, Trump also flew from Palm Beach to Newark, New Jersey, on Epstein’s plane with Maxwell also aboard.
In 2002, Trump heaped praise on Epstein calling him a ‘terrific guy’ who likes women ‘on the younger side’. Pictured Trump and Epstein at Mar-a-Lago in 1997 (left) and at a 1992 party (right)
Now famous photos taken at Mar-a-Lago show the president posing with future First Lady Melania Trump, Epstein and Maxwell later in February 2000.
Trump heaped praise on Epstein back then calling him a ‘terrific guy’ who likes women ‘on the younger side’.
THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MAXWELL
- Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts (5 years max sentence)
- Enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts (20 years)
- Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity (20 years)
- Transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity (10 years minimum, life maximum)
- X 2 counts of Perjury (x 10 years)
Prosecutors say Maxwell groomed three girls between 1994 and 1997 for Epstein.
They are not named in the indictment, but she allegedly targeted them in London, Florida, New York and New Mexico.
Maxwell, it is alleged, would befriend the girls by asking them about their life and their schooling. She would put them at ease by taking them to the movies and taking them shopping, winning their trust to later deliver them to Epstein, it’s alleged.
To ‘normalize’ the abuse that would come later, prosecutors say she undressed in front of the girls herself and asked them sexual questions.
She then not only facilitated Epstein abusing them, prosecutors say, but took part in some of it herself.
The alleged sex abuse includes ‘sexualized group massages’.
The indictment also says Maxwell made the girl feel ‘indebted’ to Epstein by encouraging them to take money from him and let him pay for their education and travel.
‘He’s a lot of fun to be with,’ Trump said in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2002.
‘It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.’
Trump and Epstein reportedly fell out around 2004, in a dispute over a property purchase.
Four years later in 2018, Epstein pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation of prostitution and one count of solicitation of prostitution with a minor under the age of 18 and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
The president has since sought to distance himself from Epstein and downplay his relationship with the pedophile.
One month before Epstein died in a New York jail cell in August last year, Trump said he was ‘not a fan’.
‘I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years,’ Trump said at a White House press conference.
‘I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.’
Some of Epstein’s victims have mentioned Trump and Mar-a-Lago in their accounts of events surrounding the abuse.
The alleged Epstein victim claims her abuser took her to Mar-a-Lago when she was just 14 and showed her to Trump.
She claims Epstein elbowed Trump ‘playfully’ and said: ‘This is a good one, right?’
There is no suggestion Trump knew she was underage or was involved in any abuse.
Roberts Guiffre claims Epstein used Mar-a-Lago to prey on and recruit young girls into his sex-trafficking operation.
She claims she first met the pedophile as a 15-year-old working as a locker room attendant at Mar-a-Lago in 1999.
Newly resurfaced footage from 2015 also shows Trump telling reporters to ask Prince Andrew about Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘pedophile island’.
In in an interview with Bloomberg, Trump said: ‘That island was really a cesspool, there’s no question about it.
‘Just ask Prince Andrew, he’ll tell you about it. The island was an absolute cesspool.’
Maxwell and Epstein in 2005. Maxwell, 58, was denied bail last Tuesday and learned she must stay locked up until her sex trafficking trial in summer 2021
The connections between the pedophile and the president ramped up last month when Attorney General Barr said Trump had ordered him to fire Geoffrey S. Berman, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Berman’s office charged Epstein with child sex trafficking last year.
Maxwell was denied bail last month and learned she must stay locked up until her sex trafficking trial in summer 2021.
She is now being held in a Brooklyn jail after pleading not guilty to trafficking minors for Epstein.
Maxwell had been lying low since Epstein’s death last year but was arrested earlier in the month, when authorities swooped on her luxury home in New Hampshire where prosecutors say she was hiding out.
She was romantically involved with the pedophile from around 1992, but then became his ‘right-hand woman’, managing his property empire and, it is alleged, his trafficking of minors.
Maxwell is currently in custody in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where she has been given paper clothes to prevent her committing suicide.
Maxwell is currently in custody in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn awaiting trial
President Donald Trump’s shady history of support for alleged crooks and convicted felons
Roger Stone (Convicted)
The former strategist, 67, was convicted of seven felony counts in November 2018.
His convictions included five counts of making false statements to the FBI and congressional investigators, one count of witness tampering, and one obstruction of justice count.
In a statement four months later White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Donald Trump ‘signed an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the unjust sentence of Roger Stone, Jr. … Roger Stone is now a free man!’
The commutation did not erase Stone’s felony convictions in the same way a pardon would, but it protected him from serving prison time as a result.
Trump said: ‘I think Roger Stone was very unfairly treated, as were many people.’
Stone was prosecuted as an offshoot of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Roger Stone flashes a victory gesture on February 1, 2019
Michael Flynn (Pleaded guilty)
In December 2017 the former National Security Advisor, 60, pleaded guilty to a felony count of ‘wilfully and knowingly’ making false statements to the FBI.
By April this year President Donald Trump said he would consider bringing Flynn back to work at the White House.
‘I would certainly consider it,’ he said at an event in the East Room, when asked if he’d hire Flynn again.
‘He will be fully exonerated one way or another, and he would be capable of coming back,’ Trump noted.
His case was bolstered by newly unsealed FBI documents that show that FBI officials discussed whether to get Flynn ‘to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired’ during a 2017 interview with the Trump aide on his contact with the Russian ambassador.
The president cut Flynn loose in February 2017 – a month after he took office – first saying he fired Flynn because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence, and later because he lied to the FBI.
Michael Flynn was fired a month into President Trump’s tenure
Donald Trump used his presidential power in February to commute the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Blagojevich, 63, was sent to prison for 14 years for soliciting bribes
Blagojevich, 63, was sent to prison for 14 years for soliciting bribes, including those for the Senate seat once held by Barack Obama, and for trying to shake down a children’s hospital.
‘Yes, we have commuted the sentence, he served eight years in jail, a long time,’ Trump told reporters about Blagojevich during a Q&A session at Joint Base Andrews before he left for a four-day trip to the West Coast.
‘I don’t know him very well, I’ve might’ve met him a couple of times,’ Trump added. ‘He was on for a short while on “The Apprentice” years ago. Seem like a nice person, don’t know him, but he served eight years in jail, it was a long time he had to go, many people disagree with the sentences. He’s a Democrat, he’s not a Republican.’
He added: ‘He will be able to go back home with his family after serving eight years in jail. That was a tremendously powerful ridiculous sentence in my opinion. And in the opinions of many others.’
The commutation means Blagojevich is freed from prison but doesn’t have his conviction wiped from his record. Republicans had asked the president not to pardon the former governor, pointing to his corruption record.
In 2009, Blagojevich appeared on NBC’s ‘The Apprentice,’ the reality TV show then hosted by Trump.
Paul Monafort (Convicted)
With a jury in its second day of deliberations, Trump called Manafort a ‘very good person’ and called his trial ‘very sad.’
But he wouldn’t talk about a potential pardon of Manafort, who refused to cooperate with prosecutors to get what could have been a reduced sentence. ‘I don’t talk about that,’ he said.
Asked about Manafort as he departed for a fundraiser in Hamptons, Trump told reporters in August 2018: ‘I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad, when you look at what’s going on there.’
On August 21, their fourth day of deliberation, the jury found Manafort guilty on 8 of the 18 felony counts including five counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose a foreign bank account.
Judge Ellis declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 charges.
Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort in June 2019
Michael Cohen (Convicted)
The disbarred lawyer and convicted felon, 53, pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges and lying to Congress, among other crimes.
Cohen’s campaign finance charges related to his efforts to arrange payouts during the 2016 presidential race to keep the porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal from airing claims of extramarital affairs with Trump.
Trump has denied the affairs.
In April 2018, Trump accused the New York Times of ‘going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will “flip”.
He called Cohen ‘a fine person with a wonderful family’ who is a ‘businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected’.
On June 15, 2018, White House reporters asked Trump if Cohen was still his friend and lawyer. He said: ‘I always liked Michael Cohen… No, he’s not my lawyer anymore. But I always liked Michael, and he’s a good person.’
Michael Cohen, 53, pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges
Joe Arpaio (Pardoned)
President Donald Trump pardoned the former law enforcement officer and politician, 88, on August 25, 2017, for criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor.
He had been convicted of the crime two months earlier for disobeying a federal judge’s order to stop racial profiling in detaining ‘individuals suspected of being in the US illegally’.
Trump hailed Arpaio as a ‘patriot’. He added: ‘Sheriff Joe is a patriot. Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff Joe protected our borders.
‘And Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration, especially right before an election, an election that he would have won. And he was elected many times. So I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe, and I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me,’ Trump said.
In the wake of Trump’s pardon, many critics also argued that he was being excused from serious violations – violations of people’s constitutional rights by ignoring a federal judge’s order. But Trump argued that Arpaio’s past service to the nation was relevant.
Arpaio had yet to be sentenced and hadn’t expressed remorse for the crimes he was convicted of committing. He campaigned frequently with Trump in 2016 and endorsed him.
President Donald Trump pardoned the former law enforcement officer and politician Joe Arpaio, 88, on August 25, 2017, for criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor. Pictured together in 2016