Alex Acosta stands on the South Lawn of the White House after US President Donald Trump announced Acosta’s resignation [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

US President Donald Trump said on Friday that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is stepping down following criticism of his handling of a 2008 plea deal with wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

Trump announced the resignation with Acosta by his side at the White House as the president left on a trip to the the US state of Wisconsin. 

“I hate to see this happen,” Trump said. He said he did not ask Acosta to leave the Cabinet.

Acosta said his resignation would be effective in seven days. He added that he didn’t think

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