Hint: It might not be the person you think, nor even the person Vanity Fair thinks. Allahpundit linked this story earlier today in his excellent run-down of the mysteries surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, but it might be worth a second look for its insight into another mystery. VF’s Emily Jane Fox notes that Donald Trump kept tabs on Epstein’s exploits through his tabloid contacts, but that story leads to another president with apparently much more risk:

Trump had been following the story closely. In the week or so leading up to his CPAC speech, David Pecker, who owned the Enquirer until it was sold in ruin earlier this year, visited Trump on the 26th floor of Trump Tower, bringing along an issue with a Prince Andrew and Epstein-related cover, according to people familiar with the meeting. Pecker, of course, was in the business of protecting Trump. An early supporter of his presidential campaign, Pecker has helped “catch and kill” at least two stories involving the real estate mogul and women who claimed to have had affairs with him. (Trump has denied the affairs.)

Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, who would later go to prison in part for his role in these hush money schemes, was in the room when Pecker sat down. Pecker, he later told me, used to send him articles and issues before they were published so that he and Trump could read them. After the meeting Trump called in Sam Nunberg, then a Trump Organization employee, who saw Pecker leaving Trump’s office. “Michael was sitting in there when I came in, and the issue of the National Enquirer with the pictures of Prince Andrew was on his desk,” Nunberg recalled. “He said not to tell anyone, but that Pecker had just been there and had brought the issue with him. Trump said that Pecker had told him that the pictures of Clinton that Epstein had from his island were worse.” (Cohen, speaking by phone from the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, corroborated Nunberg’s version of the events, though he declined to add any additional information about the meeting.)

Oddly, the Vanity Fair article doesn’t follow up on the Clinton thread. Instead, it focuses on Trump, but largely in a manner that distances him from the stench. Fox notes that Trump never accompanied Epstein on what’s been termed the Lolita Express, or even hung out with him much. Fox links two pictures from 1997 and 2000 Epstein took with Trump, who isn’t exactly known as camera shy. Trump’s assertion that he had a falling out with Epstein “fifteen years ago” does come up, but without any hint that it was over Trump ejecting him from the Mar-a-Lago resort, allegedly because of his predatory behavior.

Fox dismisses the Clinton thread in a parenthetical to the focus on Trump:

(Clinton denies ever traveling to Little St. James Island, but has confirmed that he traveled with Epstein several times in 2002 and 2003, including trips to Africa in connection with the Clinton Foundation. In her interview with the Enquirer, Giuffre said she had seen Clinton around, but that she never saw him involved with women.)

Actually, what Giuffre said in 2015 (under her maiden name of Virginia Roberts) was that she’d seen Clinton around on the island, directly contradicting Clinton’s claims now. That’s a point that Fox skips in this parenthetical. Giuffre also said in the Enquirer interview that she didn’t witness him having sex with anyone, but that doesn’t mean it never happened, either. At any rate, his presence on the island with Epstein raises a lot of questions about what it was that Clinton saw — and why Clinton never spoke out about it.

And if Giuffre is correct about Clinton being on the island, it might turn out that Epstein has some pictures in his possession that would corroborate Giuffre. Or rather, Epstein might have had them in his possession, until Saturday night’s raid. Given that circumstance and the corroborated version of the conversation between Pecker, Nunberg, and Trump, one would think that Clinton’s potential risk here would be a bigger story than Trump’s single briefing about Epstein from Pecker.

Here’s another nugget from the 2015 interview that’s timely now, too. This tends to corroborate the claim from a woman who came forward today that Epstein wasn’t just molesting girls but flat-out raping them:

As The ENQUIRER first reported, Epstein’s socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, procured Roberts and others for Epstein and his pals to engage in “forceful” sex with underage girls, the filing confirmed.

Roberts’ affidavit charges that Maxwell, the daughter of the late UK newspaper mogul Robert Maxwell, recruited her for prostitution in 1999 at age 15.

“I was trained to be ‘everything a man wanted to be,” Roberts said, detailing multiple sex encounters daily, instruction in the use of sex toys and Epstein’s reputed sex dungeon.

Ugh. Undoubtedly, we will be hearing more horror stories in the days and weeks ahead. Lots of men will have night sweats over this, and Clinton appears to be among them, but he likely won’t be alone:

Epstein’s black book of contacts — the printed phone directory that his Palm Beach butler, Alfredo Rodriguez, stole and that later was obtained by the FBI — includes Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger; more than a dozen aides to Clinton; other celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Naomi Campbell and Jimmy Buffett; media titans such as Rupert Murdoch, Conrad Black and Michael Bloomberg; business magnates such as Richard Branson, Steve Forbes and Edgar Bronfman Jr.; Kennedys, Rockefellers and Rothschilds; lords and ladies; ambassadors and senators. …

There is no implication that most of the hundreds of people in the book were involved in or aware of Epstein’s alleged abuse of young girls. Some people listed in the book have said they barely know Epstein.

But after federal agents obtained the list, Rodriguez, the butler, circled a few names in black and noted them as “witnesses.” They included people who worked at Epstein’s Palm Beach estate and some other associates, including Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, and Trump, both of whom have denied any knowledge of Epstein’s alleged sexual abuses.

Trump banned Epstein from his Mar-a-Lago estate after a teenage girl who worked in the club’s locker room was recruited to give Epstein a massage, according to David Boies, an attorney for one of Epstein’s alleged victims.

Actually, Michael van der Galien observes, the Vanity Fair article is notable for its lack of any dirt on Trump:

What makes Vanity Fair‘s report double fascinating is that the leftist magazine clearly implies that Epstein doesn’t have any dirt on Trump himself. On Twitter, leftist users have been tweeting hopefully about how this could ruin Trump’s presidency. Vanity Fair knows better. When push comes to shove, this case will involve high-ranking and extremely influential Democrats.

So far? Sure, but don’t bet the farm on this being a single-party issue. A man like Epstein would make sure to suck up to players across the spectrum to protect himself, or at least protect himself by digging up dirt on both sides of the aisle. We have yet to see the full scope of Epstein’s sins, and it’s still an open question as to whether we ever will.

Update: I changed one passage from a clumsy “using force to have sex with them” to the simpler and more accurate description of the allegation, “flat-out raping them.”