Trump Pledges A Federal Investigation Into Jussie Smollett’s Case

Jussie Smollett waves to the crowd.
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In the midst of an early Thursday morning stream of Twitter posts, President Donald Trump suggested that he would direct the FBI and the Department of Justice to investigate what exactly happened with the Jussie Smollett case. According to Politico, the president took to Twitter to comment on Chicago prosecutors’ decision to drop all charges against the Empire actor, who had been accused of setting up an elaborate plan to fake a racially and homophobically-motivated attack on himself.

In February, Smollett was charged with 16 criminal counts, including disorderly conduct and making a false report to police. It was reported that he had paid a pair of men $3,500 to stage the attack and paid them by check, leaving a paper trail. Other evidence cited by the police in filing the charges against Smollett included the fact that even in reviewing the footage from numerous CCTV cameras in the area where the attack allegedly took place, there was reportedly no video evidence any such attack had occurred.

But on Tuesday, Cook County prosecutors announced that all charges were going to be dropped in the case, re-igniting a national discussion surrounding Smollett and eliciting outrage from high-profile figures including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and superintendent of Chicago police Eddie Johnson. And Thursday morning, the president weighed in, suggesting he might use his office to re-investigate the case and look into what happened using federal resources.

“FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!”

According to the report in Politico, efforts to speak with Department of Justice officials on the possibility of the department reviewing the case went unanswered Thursday morning.

Donald Trump listening to a reporter's question.
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This isn’t the first time the president has shown an interest in the Smollett case, as it raised a number of issues that at least tangentially touch on his brand and seemed to at first implicate Trump supporters. According to Smollett’s initial report, he claimed his attackers told him he was in “MAGA country,” a reference to the president’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” as they poured bleach on him and taunted him using racist and homophobic slurs.

And in late February, just after the reports came out that Smollett had faked the entire attack, the president again took to Twitter to offer his thoughts.

“.@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA,” the president tweeted on February 21.