Believe it or not, this might be the best fallback scenario for Bill Clinton. According to a new book coming out Tuesday from Alana Goodman and Daniel Halper, the reason that the former president jet-setted with Jeffrey Epstein on the so-called “Lolita Express” didn’t have to do with underaged girls. Clinton had a clandestine affair with Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, according to one source in A Convenient Death:

Ghislaine Maxwell, a constant presence at the ex- president’s side during these trips, was the primary reason Clinton let Epstein ferry him around the world.

“[Bill] and Ghislaine were getting it on,” a source who witnessed the relationship said in an interview. “That’s why he was around Epstein—to be with her.”

The source explained that reporters have been missing the point about the Clinton- Epstein relationship by focusing on Epstein’s sex crimes. “[Clinton’s] stupid but not an idiot,” the source says, dismissing the idea that the ex- president was sexually involved with children.

One proof of this, the book argues, was Clinton’s contacts with Maxwell apart from Epstein. Those did not go unnoticed in the city adopted by the Clintons after they left the White House:

The relationship between Clinton and Maxwell was not confined to these overseas junkets. It continued in New York City, where Clinton on multiple occasions visited Maxwell’s own private townhome at 116 East Sixty-fifth Street, an $11 million pad that runs a touch below seven thousand square feet, much more modest than Epstein’s palatial townhome a few blocks north. (Maxwell purchased it in 2000 for a mere $4.95 million.)

The coziness between the former president and the charming British socialite drew notice in New York social circles. Clinton and Maxwell were spotted dining together at the Madison Avenue Italian mainstay Nello, according to a 2002 New York magazine article, which described Maxwell as a “man-eater” in the same paragraph. When Clinton went stag to a New York education charity gala in late 2001 — Hillary declined to attend — Maxwell was reportedly at his side.

That’s an interesting theory, but … it seems a bit off. First, Clinton’s taste in affairs didn’t tend toward high-society types, although they also didn’t tend to underage girls, either, at least as far as anyone has ever shown. Clinton tended to approach women that his own authority and standing could overshadow, not someone who would compete on the same level. Possible? Sure, but this would be out of character.

The New York Post excerpt of the book gives more room for skepticism, too. It notes that Maxwell became a bit of a fixture around the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative later, orgs built for the purpose of keeping Hillary Clinton’s political power in place. Maxwell also got one of the few invitations to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in 2010, an honor that Hillary would have quashed if Bill was carrying on with Maxwell. Hillary wouldn’t have turned the other cheek while Bill’s mistress showed up at her daughter’s wedding, and it’s tough to believe that Hillary wouldn’t have figured it out if New York society had been gossiping over the possibility.

Of course, Maxwell’s connection to Epstein was already making her toxic. The book describes how Maxwell got served papers at a Clinton Global Initiative event in 2009 to appear at a deposition related to Epstein’s sexual-abuse investigation. Her money and influence might have gotten her close to the Clintons, but an affair? Color me … skeptical.

Plus: doesn’t all of these alleged contacts in New York mean that Clinton didn’t need the Lolita Express to cover for his supposed trysts with Maxwell? They operated in the same city for years, and had lots of opportunities without jetting somewhere else.

Which brings us back to the utility of this narrative. No one has ever offered testimony that Bill took advantage of underage girls, unlike Prince Andrew. Virginia Giuffre, Andrew’s main accuser, has already stated repeatedly that she had no sexual contact with Clinton and never saw him engage sexually with anyone else. Still, his repeated trips on Epstein’s plane raise questions about what he was doing with Epstein, and the Maxwell-affair narrative is about the the best possible way to answer that with any credibility whatsoever. Possible, certainly, but … also very, very convenient.

By the way, where is Ghislaine Maxwell these days — and what’s the status of the reported probe into Epstein’s enablers? That thread has gotten mighty quiet in recent months.