I understand the argument that Hillary Clinton has suffered enough for her husband’s sins. (Of course, she’s hardly suffered enough for her own.) But she’s a beneficiary of the power and money Bill Clinton enjoys in the wake of his presidency. She’s his wife and a window into his personal life. So why are any serious news outlets interviewing her without asking about Jeffrey Epstein? If the press wants to treat allegations against Epstein seriously, why should Clinton get a pass when she’s trying to sell books?
The former secretary of state is on a book tour, hawking her new novel, making stops at “The View” and “The Atlantic” to sell copies and complain about conservatives. Yet, in the years since her failed presidential bid, the public learned a great deal about Bill Clinton’s deeply suspicious ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex criminal with a network of powerful allies. She should hardly be on the hook for all of Bill’s personal failings but these allegations are credible and enormous.
In May 2020, Netflix dropped “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” a docuseries bizarrely executive produced in part by James Patterson, Epstein’s former neighbor and Bill Clinton’s repeated co-author. (Their latest book dropped this summer.) That documentary features two witnesses who say, despite the Clintons’ denials, that Bill visited Little Saint James, Epstein’s private island that was literally nicknamed “Orgy Island.” Steve Scully worked on the island for six years, from 1999 to 2005. “I saw Bill Clinton sitting with Jeffrey on the living room porch,” he says in the show.
Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s most vocal accusers, also told documentarians, “I remember having a dinner with Clinton. He was there, and I never saw him do anything improper. I wish, you know, he would just come clean about [it].”
Giuffre made that claim in court documents as well, telling investigators in 2011 that Epstein said Clinton was on the island because he “owe[d] me a favor.”
There is also a serious discrepancy between the number of flights Clinton admits to taking on Epstein’s plane and the number in reports from flight logs. Fox News reported that Clinton took at least 26 flights on the jet. Flight logs from Gawker show at least a dozen. Clinton admits to only four.
Did the former first lady ask her husband why he was photographed getting a neck rub from Epstein’s 22-year-old massage therapist on a post-presidential humanitarian trip to Africa? That massage therapist, who’s since accused Epstein of rape, says she saw Clinton partake in “no foul play” on the trip, during which he traveled on Epstein’s plane. Fine. But what does his wife think of the pictures, which were released in 2020? Did she ask him about that? Does she think they suggest Bill had way too casual of a relationship with a convicted abuser?
New photos just came out with Epstein trafficking victim with Bill Clinton tonight's speaker at the DNC.
"Bill Clinton leans back and smiles while receiving neck massage from Epstein victim" pic.twitter.com/qETzGvs9pQ
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) August 18, 2020
The media largely treats Giuffre’s many allegations against Epstein credibly. Outlets have reported on the flight logs. Why, then, should Hillary Clinton be allowed to continue enriching her family and advancing her message without answering difficult questions about her own husband’s ties to Epstein? Does the news value of her insipid political commentary really outweigh the value of asking these questions?
Of course, any outlet that asks Clinton about Epstein will be punished by her team. That’s how this works. That’s almost certainly why ABC News “quashed” Amy Robach’s story on Epstein back in 2019, despite the network’s denials. Yet Clinton’s ties to Epstein have made enough headlines, and are plenty serious, that his wife has presumably brought it up and presumably knows something more than the public. She’ll, of course, deny wrongdoing. But she should actually have to do that.
ABC News let “The View” give Clinton a nine-minute tongue bath earlier this month. The network’s executives and journalists are normalizing something very abnormal.
Every journalist should make these questions a condition of sitting down with Hillary and Bill Clinton. If the pair wants access to the media, they should have to earn it by answering important questions the media exists to ask.