MSNBC Analyst: Trump, Barr ‘Facilitated' Epstein Suicide

Chris Matthews says analyst is making a 'Hell of a leap'

August 14, 2019

MSNBC legal analyst Paul Butler on Tuesday night floated a conspiracy theory about President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr, saying they "facilitated Mr. Epstein's suicide."

Butler appeared on MSNBC's Hardball, where host Chris Matthews asked him where Trump gets the "chutzpah" to trash Bill Clinton and bring his name into conspiracies about disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein's suicide.

In a clip first flagged by Newsbusters managing editor Curtis Houck, Butler floats a conspiracy theory about Barr and Trump.

"The fact is that Mr. Epstein took his own life. He died while in the custody of the Trump administration. Bill Barr directs the Bureau of Prisons, and they allowed, in some ways they facilitated Mr. Epstein's suicide," Butler said.

"That's not fair. What do you mean facilitate?" Matthews asked.

"Well again they were on notice that he wanted to take his own life," Butler said, prompting Matthews to ask a follow-up question.

"What do you make of pulling back and not having the guards there? What do you think of not doing a half-hour checking of him? Making sure he had a cellmate who could watch him. What do you think of that?" Matthews asked.

Buttler said he hoped they would get some answers from several investigations, but he then floated another conspiracy theory.

"We also know that Mr. Epstein tried to take his own life earlier. The decision about whether he should be taken off a suicide watch is one that’s made by a medical professional," Butler said. "Here it seems like the jailers made that decision. Again, at minimum, negligence. At worst, something much more sinister."

Matthews circled back and asked Butler what he meant by "sinister."

Matthews also pressed Butler for making "a hell of a leap" by suggesting somebody killed Epstein, according to Newsbusters.

"Oh, again, not necessarily. They could — they knew that he wanted to kill himself," Butler said. "Again, when you're in the custody of federal officials and you want to kill yourself, they're supposed to not let that happen."

Butler isn't the first person on MSNBC to spread conspiracy theories about Epstein's death. Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough spread a "Russian" conspiracy theory on Twitter over the weekend, along with John Heilemann, one of his frequent guests on his show.

MSNBC's AM Joy host Joy Reid also suggested Barr could be responsible for the death of Epstein.

"This Department of Justice does not exactly inspire confidence. Let's just be blunt. William Barr's Justice Department is not one you can readily simply rely upon and feel confident in," Reid said. "What do we make of all of this now that in this federal facility this person was allowed to be alone long enough to either harm himself or be killed by some—we don't know what happened. We just don't know."