Acosta has been under renewed scrutiny over his previous role as the USA attorney in Miami, during which he negotiated the 2008 plea deal with Epstein. Acosta, a former federal prosecutor in South Florida, was reported to have agreed to a plea deal with Epstein in 2008 that allowed Epstein to avoid federal prosecution.
Trump announced Acosta's departure to reporters as he left the White House on Friday on a trip to Wisconsin. Acosta said he didn't think it was right for his handling of Epstein's case to distract from his work as secretary of labor.
In his resignation letter to the president obtained by CBS News, Acosta called his role at the Labor Department "the honor of a lifetime".
Acosta says stepping aside was the right decision. "I hate to see this happen". He made a deal that people were happy with, and then 12 years later, they're not happy with it.
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before.
"There would just continue to be disclosures", the official said. "There would be questions in this town and on the trail". A few moments ago, Trump told the press that it was Acosta's decision.
"Instead of prosecuting a predator and serial sex trafficker of children, Acosta chose to let him off easy", he said.
"I wanted to help them", Mr Acosta said of the 36 victims identified in the case against Epstein, during the hour-long press conference at the labour department on Wednesday.
Top Democrats in Congress had called for Acosta's removal in the wake of new charges against multimillionaire Epstein by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY.
The Justice Department inspector general told lawmakers in January that he is unable to investigate the circumstances surrounding the 2008 plea deal because of statutory limitations. The records also show that Epstein has a net worth of more than $500 million and makes at least $10 million per year, the filing said.
"My point here today is we have an fantastic economy, and the focus needs to be on the economy", Acosta said. As photos of Clinton and Trump hanging out with Epstein flooded the media, Clinton said he had travelled only four times on Epstein's plane, always accompanied by his Secret Service detail, and Trump trashed Epstein, even though he had described him in a past interview as a "terrific guy".
The Labor Secretary's oversight includes sex trafficking. Before joining the administration he was dean of the Florida International University law school.
Turning to himself, like a guilty man on the stand in a Law & Order rerun, Trump pointed a finger at others who were the real unindicted collaborators in the Epstein mess, those others who joined Epstein on his island.