Biden Cabinet nominee's meetings with Epstein in 2012 spanned 90 minutes, document reveals

Senators voiced concern about the nearly decades-old interactions during his nomination hearing.

5/7/2021 2:22:00 AM

Biden Cabinet nominee Eric Lander’s past meetings with Jeffrey Epstein spanned approximately 90 minutes over two events in the spring of 2012

Senators voiced concern about the nearly decades-old interactions during his nomination hearing.

, submitted by the White House and obtained by POLITICO, says Lander's first such encounter was at a 60-minute lunch meeting with other scientists and “three or four donors or prospective donors” including Epstein on April 15, 2012.Lander and other faculty members “made presentations about the state of research in their respective fields, and answered questions from the group, including Epstein," according to the document. It stated Lander attended the entire event.

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The second interaction took place at a reception on May 12 of that year ahead of a dinner with “about forty people” consisting of faculty, donors and prospective donors, including Epstein. Lander did not attend the dinner but spent about 30 minutes at the reception and spoke to Epstein, among others.

“After these two events, Dr. Lander never saw or spoke to Epstein again,” states the document, which offers one of the fullest accounts of the events made public to date. Lander "neither ever requested or received any funding from [Epstein] or his foundations," the document reads. A headtopics.com

2019 BuzzFeed investigationfound that Epstein donated millions to other researchers.A spokesperson for OSTP declined to comment, and the Senate Commerce Committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Epstein had been a convicted sex offender since 2008. He was later arrested on federal sex trafficking charges in 2019 before killing himself.

At his April nomination hearing, Lander called Epstein an “abhorrent individual” and said he “chose to have no association whatsoever with him,” including never receiving funding from the financier.“The sum total of my interactions was that I met him briefly at two events within the span of three weeks in the spring of 2012,” Lander testified, adding that he wasn’t aware of Epstein’s “sordid history” at the time.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said at the session that she was “troubled” about those meetings among other incidents that called into question his handling of race and gender issues. Other members, including Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), have privately expressed concern as well,

has reported.The OSTP director post has been elevated to Cabinet level for the first time under Biden, in a nod to what he called the importance of scientific innovation. Read more: POLITICO »

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