In a shock announcement Tuesday morning, Cook County, Illinois, prosecutors dropped all 16 charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett for allegedly lying to Chicago police about faking a hate crime against himself and blaming it on Trump supporters. They released a statement reading:
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his ($10,000) bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.” It was also claimed that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx decided that was good enough, since the punishment would have just been community service. The case was then immediately sealed.
Smollett’s lawyers said his record would be expunged and declared, “He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement. Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result. Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.”
But that’s going over like a bottle of bleach in the punch bowl with many Chicago residents and leaders. As shocking as the dismissal was the reaction from ultra-liberal Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who asked “how dare” Smollett claim he’s innocent: "This is, without a doubt, a whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that, if you are in a position of influence and power, you will get treated one way and other people will be treated another way. There is no accountability, then, in the system. It is wrong, full stop. This is a person who has been let off scot-free." (Note: where was all this righteous indignation when Comey let Hillary walk?) "You have a person using hate crime laws to advance your career. Is there no decency in this man?"
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson argued that an innocent person wouldn’t forfeit $10,000 bond and cut a secret plea deal behind closed doors. Johnson said, "Do I think justice was served? No. What do I think justice is? I think this city is still owed an apology. When I came on this job, I came on with my honor, my integrity, and my reputation. If someone accused me of doing anything that would circumvent that, I would want my day in court. Period. To clear my name. I have heard that they wanted their day in court with TV cameras, so America could know the truth, but no, they chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system."
This surprise rabbit-out-of-the-hat for Smollett might not be the end of the magic show, though. A lot of people are demanding answers and floating theories about which friends of Smollett (even the Obamas) might be powerful enough to have pulled strings for him. And there’s still the matter of that alleged hoax threatening letter with a powdery substance on it that Chicago police say Smollett mailed to himself. That would be a federal charge, and so far, federal investigators aren’t commenting.
In the meantime, I’d just add that when the 16 felony charges were handed down, I wrote this on March 9th:
“But before you get your hopes up that justice will actually be served, Chicago grand juries routinely return multiple charges that get knocked down to one guilty plea deal, so there’s a good chance he won’t even go to jail.” Of course, I didn’t think that meant all 16 charges would be dropped with no explanation and the public not allowed to see the details, but I guess that falls under the category of “The Chicago Way.”
Oh, and in anticipation of the “What-about-‘ers” who will try to knock Republicans for criticizing Smollett while slamming the media for assuming Trump and Brett Kavanaugh were guilty, here’s what I wrote the day of the first police press conference outlining the charges:
“(Disclaimer: I always respect due process rights so I will stipulate up front that ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett is still telling castmates that he ‘swears to God’ he didn’t fabricate the attack on him, and his attorneys insist that Chicago authorities trampled on his presumption of innocence by portraying him as definitely guilty in their press conference. Duly noted.)”
I’ll also point out the other big difference between the presumptions of guilt for Trump and Kavanaugh and for Smollett: in Smollett’s case, there was actual evidence of a crime that definitely existed. If you could find someone guilty on nothing but suspicion alone, then the Cook County prosecutors would now be going to jail.
If CNN would like to gather up the confetti that is their journalistic reputation after their non-stop, two-year “Russia collusion” orgy and try Scotch-taping it back together, here’s one good place to start. They could stop claiming that President Trump said there were “very fine people” on the neo-Nazi side of the Charlotteville riots when their own reporting from 2017 plainly showed that he condemned the neo-Nazis and was talking specifically about people who just wanted to preserve the statue of Robert E. Lee.
Also, it would be nice if CNN would quit trying to support that false story by airing a deceptively edited video of Trump's comments. There are no “very fine people” on the side of any news organization that deliberately misleads its viewers.
Video: If you missed my appearance yesterday on “Fox & Friends,” here’s the clip. I talked about where the "Russia collusion" investigation needs to turn now that President Trump and his family and staff have been cleared. I think the path may lead to some pretty powerful people's doorsteps.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Monday with President Trump, who signed an order officially recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. But Netanyahu cut short his planned four-day visit to the US after a rocket strike from Gaza destroyed an Israeli family’s home north of Tel Aviv. It injured seven people, including two children, and killed the family’s dogs.
In retaliation, Israeli military struck Hamas military targets across the Gaza strip, destroying a secret headquarters building for Hamas militants. Locals claim it was just the home of an insurance company. Well, then they can collect the insurance now.
And here are the IDF's tweets about it. They are must-reads.
Israel is facing a major election soon, with Netanyahu under a cloud of absurd corruption charges by his political opponents. I just returned from Israel and a visit with Netanyahu last week. I hope the Israeli people will see through the political theater and realize what they would be risking if they traded this uncompromising leader and fierce defender of Israel for his weak and conciliatory opponents.
Speaking of brave leadership, the Israel-supporting AIPAC conference was held over the weekend. Here are some of Vice President Mike Pence’s comments, but there were no comments from several top Democratic Presidential hopefuls. They were too afraid to attend after MoveOn.org demanded that they boycott it. There are two profiles in courage for you: Israel’s leader rushes home to face missile attacks while Democrats who aspire to lead the United States cower before some leftists with a mailing list.
Having exposed their naked partisanship through their endless promotion of the “Russian collusion” fairy tale, news outlets are now grasping around for fig leaves to cover themselves.
Some, like the New York Times, are trying to rush past Mueller and point at other investigations of Trump, as if we’ll forget the last witch hunt if they wave another broomstick at us. Others are hilariously trying to claim that they weren’t promoting the Russian collusion narrative, they were simply doing their job as journalists by covering all the talk about the story (which is sort of like saying they were just doing their job by covering a four-alarm fire they set themselves.)
And there’s always the ever-popular “It’s Trump’s fault!” excuse. Some are demanding that Trump apologize to Mueller for calling what we now know to have been a witch hunt a “witch hunt.” And Politico tweeted that “after the nearly two-year investigation found no clear collusion or obstruction of justice” (clarification: it found none; clear, fuzzy or otherwise), “Trump and his aides showed no interest in healing or national unity.” You see, it’s Trump’s job to bring America back together after the media and Democrats spent two years slandering him to tear America apart.
This reminds me of the claim that Brett Kavanaugh wasn’t fit for the bench because he got angry when he was falsely accused of running a gang rape ring. When you falsely accuse someone of a crime like treason or gang rape, it’s not up to them to repair your damaged reputation, and you don’t get to criticize them for not being nice enough about being slandered. If you still have teeth, then the accused showed remarkable restraint.
And then, there’s the approach taken by one of the foamiest-mouthed Trump critics, former CIA Director and frequent MSNBC guest John Brennan, who was predicting indictments just two weeks ago and who has made some of the most incendiary comments about Trump, including a tweet accusing Trump of behavior that was “nothing short of treasonous.” He’s now broken the world speed record for scuttling backward set by crabs, saying, “I don't know if I received bad information, but I think I suspected there was more than there actually was.” Gee, you think?
And let’s not forget how late night comedians jettisoned their traditional even-handed tone to become unfunny partisan blowhards who lecture us every night. This article asks, “Can comedy recover from the Russian conspiracy hoax?”
I would suggest that they take the advice the space aliens in the movie “Stardust Memories” offered Woody Allen’s self-important comedian character: “If you want to do mankind a favor, tell funnier jokes.”
I’d have more sympathy for all these people if they stopped spinning and/or doubling down on believing wild conspiracies without evidence and just claimed they’ve been drunk for the past two years. At least that would be halfway believable. And there’s actually a cure for it: you can stop drinking, but it’s a lot harder to stop being stupid.
PS – On the subject of late night comedy, here’s a refreshing article about a writer for Conan O’Brien, discussing why Conan prefers to do silly, surreal comedy bits and avoid divisive, anti-Trump political material.
Liberals, just keep repeating, “There’s no border emergency, there’s no border emergency…” while you click your Oxfords together three times, and soon, you’ll wake up a thousand miles away from the border, in DC or the New York Times’ editorial offices, and say, “There’s no place like home” while you sip a martini.
Meanwhile, here’s what people who don’t live in the magical land of Oz are dealing with.
Anyone who thinks Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not the voice of the modern Democratic Party should note how her high-handed “we’re the boss” attitude is now infecting the entire House majority. At the link, a description of how Democrats are shutting out Republicans and refusing to work in a bipartisan fashion, even on bills that were previously created across party lines. Yep, that’s what Americans want to see: more pointless, partisan investigations and an arrogant refusal to advance bipartisan bills.
Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania declared, “Now we’re in charge, and maybe some of them don’t understand that yet.”
Hate to break this to you, Mike, but Republicans are in charge of the Senate, where any nakedly partisan Democratic legislation you force down the other side’s throats in the House will go to die. Maybe you don’t understand that yet. If not, then maybe you need to retake “Introduction to Civics 101.”
I know President Trump’s critics are desperate for something negative about him to take the spotlight off their own well-deserved lies, partisanship and incompetence. So I’m going to take pity on them and help them out by offering a negative comment about Trump.
First, I have to note that in just the past week or so, we’ve seen virtually everyone who has been relentlessly attacking Trump and Republicans take a face plant: the SPLC, the Mueller “Russian collusion” probe, “elite” universities and Hollywood liberals, “Beto” O’Rourke and the Green New Deal, CNN and Michael Avenatti and the list goes on and on.
But even I have to admit that President Trump was dead wrong about something. Even with all of that news above…I’m still not tired of winning yet.
Attorney General William Barr’s letter to Congress shows that the Russia collusion investigation is exactly what President Trump always said it was -- a witch hunt.
“In addition to this notification, the Special Counsel regulations require that I provide you with ‘a description and explanation of instances (if any) in which the Attorney General’ or acting Attorney General ‘concluded that a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.’ 28 C.F.R. 600.9(a)(3). There were no such instances during the Special Counsel's investigation.” Barr wrote in his one page letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.
In other words, for a man Democrats said was hellbent on obstructing justice and preventing the Special Counsel from completing his investigation, President Trump did a lousy job.
CNN political analyst Gloria Borger admitted that the president is “vindicated” by the conclusion of Mueller’s probe.
Even one top Democrat in the Senate is now urging restraint. Sen. Chris Coons on Saturday said that House Democrats must use their oversight power in a "focused and responsible way" as they go forward with investigations involving President Trump, cautioning his colleagues to make sure they don’t "overdo it."
“We have to be careful to use the resources and the abilities of the House majority in a focused and a responsible way,” Coons said on CNN. “We need to focus on things that are relevant and matter to the average American.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are obsessing over the contents of the Mueller Report, but they’re overlooking the significance of what’s not in it.
Not one of the Democrats’ high-value targets — Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or any other Trump family members — were indicted by Mueller, and the Department of Justice has already said there will be no more indictments forthcoming.
Of course, Mueller didn’t subpoena the president, either, crushing the hopes of the mainstream media journalists and pundits who had been confidently expecting that very outcome from the start of Mueller’s probe. If President Trump really was an agent of Russia, as they fervently believe he is, then surely Mueller would have taken the added step of at least interviewing him before ending the investigation.
Among those who were indicted in the Mueller investigation, moreover, not one was charged with conspiring with Russia to fix the 2016 election -- the entire purpose of assigning a special counsel.
Here we are, two years and $30-plus million in taxpayer funds later, and nothing to show for it, except some completely discredited media commentators and partisan members of Congress who breathlessly all but guaranteed there would be evidence of the president and members of his family and staff colluding with the Russians. I won’t hold my breath for their admissions and apologies.
Lives have been ruined and America’s image on the world stage has been tarnished because rogue government agents and hyper-partisan Democrats thought they could overturn the results of an election they lost fair and square.
With the Mueller witch hunt behind him, perhaps now the President Trump can finally focus his full attention on the job that the American people elected him to do: making America great again.
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