WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his weekend decision to share an unfounded conspiracy theory on Twitter suggesting without evidence that former President Bill Clinton was somehow connected to the death of wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
“He is a very highly respected conservative pundit,” Trump said Tuesday of Terrence K. Williams, the man whose tweet the president shared.
“He's a big Trump fan. And that was a retweet. That wasn't from me. That was from him. But he's a man with half a million followers, a lot of followers,” Trump continued, speaking to reporters as he traveled from his summer getaway in Bedminster, New Jersey, to Pennsylvania.
“Basically what we're saying is, we want an investigation. I want a full investigation,” Trump added.
Epstein was found unresponsive in his Manhattan jail cell Saturday. His death from an apparent suicide sparked immediate questions as to why he had not been monitored more closely. Epstein had not been on suicide watch at the time of his death, multiple people familiar with the investigation told NBC News.
Trump’s retweet of the conspiracy theory surrounding the cause of Epstein’s death sparked an immediate backlash. Democrats accused him of engaging in reckless behavior and using his position of power to attack political enemies.
Attorney General William Barr announced Saturday that the Department of Justice would open an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death.