tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN March 26, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT
devastating. thanks for joining me today. i'm jim sciutto in new york. at this hour starts right now. hello, everyone. thanks for joining me. a major reversal from the white house or more of a reversal on an old reversal? i will leave you to decide what it is. the trump administration now calling for the entire affordable care act, all of obamacare to be stricken down and thrown out after another court battle over the health care law. a federal court in texas invalidated obamacare. the administration's response, the justice department in their words, the justice department is not urging that any portion of the district court's judgment be reversed. to put it another way, going against what the president has
said repeatedly in the past year. >> we will always protect americans with preexisting conditions. we're going to take care of them. >> the next major priority for me and for all of us should be to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs and to protect patients with preexisting conditions. >> okay. joining me now cnn justice reporter with much more on this. what are you hearing about this move from the trump administration? >> the administration, they are ready to argue that the entire affordable care act is unconstitutional, a shift in stance from what we have seen before. the justice department spokesperson really making that stance clear in just a few short words last night. here is what she said. she said the department of justice has determined that the district court's comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it
on appeal, that referring to the texas court decision back in december. so this administration now really trying to dismantle obamacare by way of the courts. of course, that is something they couldn't undo in congress. democrats are already fighting back. house speaker nancy pelosi tweeted almost immediately that democrats will fight relentlessly to preserve affordable health care. she is pitching -- this comes six weeks after. it is notable because the administration argued that some parts of the affordable care act were unconstitutional namely protections for people with preexisting conditions saying that should be struck from the law. they did stand by other parts of the a.c.a. like medicaid expansion. now they are latching on completely to a district court judge in texas, his ruling back
in december that was very controversial at the time where that judge ruled that the individual mandate, that being the penalty that people must pay, he said it was unconstitutional and then said the whole health care law was then void. that ruling has been on hold as this plays out in the courts. but the administration now saying for the first time they agree with this texas judge saying that this whole law, the whole affordable care act cannot be defended and they filed a letter saying they are prepared to file briefs siding with that stance. where does it go from here? notably this will play out in the fifth circuit court of new orleans. that is the most conservative circuit court in the country. after that ruling it could potentially wind up back at the supreme court because of course all of what is at stake here is really the health care of millions of americans including those now covered by medicaid expansion in states all over the country and plus that guarantees
that insurance companies can't turn people away because of preexisting conditions. the big question, will all of that be wiped out if the trump administration gets its way and how will this play out in the courts? a notable shift from the trump administration here. >> i hope everyone feels the same way i do, confused on the president's position on even the most basic provisions in the health care law. joining me now for a little more analysis is cnn legal analyst shan wu. i want to get your take on what you make on the shift from the administration. going from backing a partial repeal that coming from the president but keeping some parts of it in place as jessica lays out and now going straight to the support throwing the whole thing out. is this unusual? >> it is really unusual and frankly it seems very difficult to justify for the department of justice. what has changed? did the law suddenly change or
precedent change? the only answer seems to be you have a new attorney general and he seems to be a big supporter of the administration's agenda. so i think first of all it would be embarrassing to be a justice department lawyer having to explain that reversal decision. it is a derelection of their duties to defend the laws. if they have a strong position fine. you might decide not to take a position on it. this original opinion by a district court judge is a very weak opinion. this whole idea that because a single provision might be unconstitutional, the entire law goes, that's 101 principles of construction of laws. it's a violation of that very simple first year law student understanding of how you construe laws. >> i know this sounds basic, but how does a decision like this get made? and how the administration responded to this court decision with basically those two sentences saying we don't want anything changed from the
judge's decision? does this have to come from the president? or could this shift be decided just within the justice department? >> the shift could theoretically be decided within the justice department, but the way the department works like any good federal agency t comes up from the bottom. all the real substance experts in the divisions, they are briefing this with their supervisors who brief their supervisor and makes it up to the leadership offices of justi justice. by the time i looked at something like dozens of people have prepared it so it bubbles up very slowly. the solicitor general's office oversees all the courts of appeals decisions, as well. there is a lot of career people looking at that. for something to be reversed this suddenly is highly unlikely that it is like an organic growth from beneath. it is far more likely that someone put their thumb or finger on a scale from above.
>> as jessica was getting to, where does this go from here? there are two tracks on how obamacare is fought out. we have seen that in many different ways on capitol hill. it has been fought out and at one point decided and then fought out again in the courts. the supreme court upheld obamacare before. now what? >> well, when they upheld it before, roberts was really basing that on the notion that the individual mandate was constitutional. he treated it as a tax. taxing is a constitutional power. that's gone now obviously so there is question as to how they will treat it if it gets to them. my personal view is that the district court's reasoning is so poor that it is not going to survive the fifth circuit of appeals. conservative circuit, conservative court. say what you will about their politics, these are good legal analysts. i just don't think they will find that the district court's reasoning will survive the scrutiny.
if it doesn't get past the court of appeals then i don't think the supreme court will take the case. if it does they certainly will take the case. >> say what you will about court shopping, the criticism that came from the president in other regards especially when it comes to like the travel ban and such. thank you so much. where does congress go from here on this? cnn is on capitol hill filled with everything involved health care. this is confusing. what are you hearing from democrats and republicans about this? >> reporter: to give you context about where democrats are i was texting to the democratic aid asking what was the response going to be internally after the mueller report was submitted a lot thought it didn't live up to the billing. he sent me a text message with a link for the full validation of obamacare. that meant the pivot now for democrats is straight on to this issue. they had a closed door caucus meeting a short while ago.
a large portion was about talking about health care. they will unveil a legislative package essentially from a democratic perspective after what everybody would acknowledge is a good couple of days for the president this moves into where they want to be from a messagic perspective. i think republicans just don't really know what to do with it. one person told me it was bizarre. another person told me it was ridiculous. it is an acknowledgment that an entire overhaul of the health care system is not tenable. so where does that leave things right now if this issue comes back on to the table? >> and the timing is somewhat baffling. the trump administration would want to shift the focus back to health care right now. i would say absent this move, you would have had democrats in that caucus meeting saying how do we shift the focus back to health care? what does this mean? >> it's a great question. nobody has a great sense in terms of why it happened now.
i think a lot of people are -- he told senators go back and look at the justice department. when you hear consistently is this basically gives democrats a message. you want an illustration of that. take a listen to what nancy pelosi had to say after the caucus meeting. >> republicans did say during the campaign that they weren't there to undermine the preexisting condition benefit. here they are right now saying they will strip the whole affordable care act as the law of the land. they say one thing and they do another. >> so just to kind of under score the point here. if you followed 2018 and i know you did as well as anybody, you had no choice given your position at cnn, this was the issue the democrats campaigned on. it wasn't robert mueller. it wasn't the special counsel or
the russian investigator. >> slight correction. republicans ran on health care, as well. republicans tried to run on saving preexisting conditions. even if that was a complete flip-flop for them hence a report number lost. >> you can go back to repeal and replace debate where republicans figured out how popular preexisting conditions coverage was. you saw in the senate they made clear during their campaign that they supported preexisting conditions coverage. you had governors doing the same ing the saying we will do whatever it takes to make sure preexisting conditions are covered. now that messy fight that really starkly divided the republican conference is now back on the table. you are seeing democrats seize on that for the most part. >> so also behind closed doors speaker pelosi was talk ing wit democrats about the attorney general, the mueller report
being wrapped up and if they will see the full mueller report. >> the focus from democrats and from the speaker this morning in the closed door caucus meeting was essentially it's not about what attorney general bill barr sent to capitol hill or his four page letter. it's about democrats continuing to push for the full report. last night they sent a letter saying they wanted the full report by april 2. it's unclear whether or not the justice department will meet the deadline or what democrats will do if they don't. there is some talk about them trying to compel the report if they don't get it. i think what they are trying to do right now is say this is what the summary from the attorney general said. we will focus on that but in the meantime let's focus on policy issues. >> left, right and center should want to see what the mueller report says in full. chuck grassley said no matter where you stand on this taxpayers pay for this report st. patrick's day should be able
to see this report. thank you. good to see you, man. coming up, the pentagon says it is shifting $1 billion in defense funds to build new border wall at the southern border. democrats not happy about it. details on that ahead. what does it mean? the mueller report is still a secret at this moment. democrats are demanding the full release by next week. will the department of justice comply? (client's voice) remember that degree you got in taxation? (danny) of course you don't because you didn't! your job isn't understanding tax code... it's understanding why that... will get him a body like that... move! ...that. your job isn't doing hard work... here. ...it's making her do hard work...
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statement from jussie smollett's attorn attorneys. they say that all charges have now been dropped against jussie smollett. today all criminal charges against jussie smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him. he was attacked by two people. he was unable to identify on january 29. he was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a report of false remarks made to the public. they go on to say this. he pmany others were hurt by the unfair actions. the 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 deserves dignity and respect. dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result. he is relieved to have the
situation behind him and is focussed on family, friends and career. ryan young has been following the many twists and turns that have followed since jussie smollett had filed that -- told police that he was attacked late in january by two unidentified people. ryan young is joining me now by phone. what are you hearing about this? >> this has so many twists and turns. we were surprised to get the e-mail basically telling us we needed to get here this morning. when we arrived the rumors were that charges may be dropped. now you are saying they are dropping the charges. when he heard this was happening he was baffled. the people that he knows
appeared here at the courthouse. we are setting up cameras now because we are expecting the actor to talk to us. this was really a shocking reversal when you think about the news conference here where you had the police superintendent come out and believe this was all a setup. what happens? we don't know this yet. we're not sure if this is here. will those men face charge snz we know the two men knew him and one guy is a trainer and there was this conversation about what happened next. i don't think anybody has that idea because this is all a shock to us. he is going to come down and maybe give us a statement. we are also waiting for that to happen. in a shocking reversal those charges have been dropped. after that january 29 attack, i'm taking everyone back to that. he said he went to a subway.
as he went to the subway and returned home, two men attacked him. there was that cheerful conversation that he had with good morning america. all of us were shocked by that. when you think about from there, the two people who police alleged attack him not only work on empire -- they said they were hired. what is the next step in all of this? the question marks are still out there because will there be a statement? i have been talking with some sources at the police department, the mayor and the police department will give a statement within the next hour. there is a graduation going on at the police department. hopefully we will have a statement from the city. there was some improprieties in terms of people calling. there are so many questions about this in terms of how you move forward. it would be interesting to see
what happens next. it's anyone's guess at this point. >> it has been anyone's guess to this point. i don't think for our viewers we can under score enough how far out there the police superintendent and the prosecutors went in publicly detailing what they believe happened on that night and in the days afterward and in the days before when it came to the alleged attack on jussie smollett. the superintendent calling it a disgrace, calling it a hoax, calling it a setup saying that jussie had taken advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. and now all charges dropped. the big question is why. is that what you are expecting to learn when they come out to speak? >> you have to imagine the mayor and the superintendent who are
together right now at that police graduation know that there is going to be a lot of focus on not only the investigation but how we arrived at this situation. as you remember, the superintendent used very strong words talking about the idea about who could talk about a noose or go through the length that they did in order to pull this off? in fact, they even believed the motivation was because they believed jussie smollett was upset about how much he was being paid. we have seen it swing all the way to the other side because people said i cannot believe jussie smollett would do this and people were upset about the man hours. and then after all that they were talking about over 140 man hours were used to try to investigate this case. here is the thing. at the end of the day, where are we? was he attacked by the two men who he knew? did he know about it or did he not know about it?
the charges have been dropped. hopefully someone can clarify this because you think about the spotlight put on the case and to have no answers right now for why we are where we are, we expect the state's attorneys office. how can you indict 16 times and say the charges are being dropped? someone will have to answer to why the state went forward with this. >> the police superintendent saying calling it a publicity stunt saying it is a scar that chicago didn't earn and didn't deserve and putting it all on jussie smollett. that is a key question. ryan is there. we are possibly going to hear from the attorneys or maybe from jussie smollett in the coming minutes. we'll bring that to you.
as we wait for that, let me bring in shan wu. on the most basic level, what does it mean? does it mean he was attacked? does it mean that he definitely did not stage it? what is your take here? >> i can certainly tell you what typically would cause such a dramatic reversal. there has to be something very wrong with the case. in a case like this, violent crime, it is a problem with the witnesses or the complaintant. based on my experience in trying violent crime cases, this is probably a situation where something went south with the testimony of those two men that knew him who were alleged to have been accomplices. it's a great example of why when
you are prosecuting cases or doing law enforcement you don't want to get that far out ahead of things. those statements were far out ahead of the case in terms of laying the blame. it is a classic example of trying things in the public arena rather than in the court. it will be difficult for their credibility to have to walk that back. as a prosecutor and investigator i would say i was struck by the fact that these two men really were accomplices and had been hired by them, why weren't they being charged or targeted? they were quick to essentially clear them which tells me someone quickly believed one side over the other and that could be a big mistake. >> in the statement coming from jussie smollett's attorneys they say he is relieved to have the situation behind him. so does that mean that with these charges being dropped as this is coming from his attorneys, does that mean that he -- is he now cleared? is this now over?
>> i think the criminal case is very likely to be over. once they have dropped the charges or dismissed them they typically don't dismiss them with prejudice. it's usually simply dismissed which means it could be brought back and really tough to bring it back because there is no credibility to the case after this. if they dismiss it with prejudice that is a real sign they are almost offering a public apology saying this is never coming back. >> what are you listening for if his attorneys comes to speak before cameras? obviously, there are statements we need to wait to hear from the state on this, but what questions, what is the big question right now? it's only questions at this point. this is a really surprising turn of events. what is your biggest question? >> my biggest question is why are the prosecutors and police changing their minds? and so from the point of view of him and his attorneys, what have
they been told? they have basically told a narrative which is that he was the victim, but hasn't really addressed the role of the two men. my big question is what was that dynamic and relationship with those men? i think that will be the key. >> jussie smollett himself has never changed, wavered in his position. he pleaded not guilty on march 14. he has maintained that he is not guilty all throughout. if we do have access to pulling up some of the press conference when we heard from the chicago police superintendent and how he laid out in detail what they believe happened in the investigation let me know. i keep harping on that because it happened during the show. we were so struck about how definitive the police superintendent was. and then when the state came out
and laid out their case, it was all out there and they were mad. they were frustrated that this is something that chicago had to deal with right now. i have been told that i think we have part of the press conference just for viewers to remember. let me play you some of it. >> this announcement today recognizes that empire actor jussie smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. i'm left hanging my head and asking why. why would anyone especially an african-american man use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? how could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile? >> shan, everyone was struck by
the police superintendent there. i guess maybe nothing should shock you as a former prosecutor. but does it surprise you now that that was not long ago and now what appears to be happening now with all charges dropped? >> that's very shocking. really at the time, i was struck as a prosecutor by how far out on a limb the police were going with that kind of statement. they were really laying out their case in public as though he had already been convicted. you have to be careful of that. if you have a very strong case and overwhelming evidence of the defendant's guilt no need to talk about it. it will take care of itself. a lot of times police in particular interview a lot of witnesses, they may have a very strong instinct is someone telling the truth or not. you have to wait for that corroboration. sometimes it comes slowly and small details fit or don't fit. it turns out this is based on a major question about their credibility, that's because
there was a hasty decision made about who to believe. you have to wait for those things to play out. >> we have much more to come on this. stick around. word coming in from chicago that all charges have been dropped. we have a statement from jussie smollett's attorneys saying just that. we have much more to come on this breaking news out of chicago. we'll be right back. the latest innovation from xfinity
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we are continuing to follow this wild breaking news out of chicago. thank you for joining us back. jussie smollett, we are learning the empire actor had been facing indictment on 16 charges all charges now dropped. this first we heard from his attorneys and now a statement from the cook county state, the cook county attorney's office. i want to read this to you. we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriates are luciappropriate s a resolution to this case. >> ryan, correct me if i'm wrong, but jussie smollett is in the courthouse for an emergency hearing. we could be hearing from his
attorneys and maybe jussie in a short time. when did they learn about this? >> they reviewed the information according to the state's attorneys office and decided to move forward on this. when we got the all call we rushed down here. jussie smollett just caulked down this hallway. we are told he has to file paper with recolle paperwork. his attorney said they plan to walk to the micced and have a conversation with us. as we were talking in the last ten minutes or so something stuck out. just last week the two brothers who were involved in this, one of them competed in the golden gloves boxing event here in chicago. watching this guy move around and throw power punches, if this guy was throwing punches of jussie smollett it would have done some damage to him. what did they learn about the evidence in the last 48 hours
that they didn't know before? what came through here? all the cameras are pointing this direction because we are expecting jussie smollett to walk this way. that is the spokesperson for his attorney. >> she is saying they will talk in a minute or two. one thing she wanted to stress is that all charges have been dropped. >> and ryan, we went over this this morning. everyone is surprised. this started as jussie smollett empire actor as a victim of a hate crime and was attacked. he said that they were wearing
red make america great again hats at one point. to the superintendent saying this was staged by smollett and a hoax and the motivation is that he was unhappy about his salary on the empire show. now we are where is a huge question? we don't know other than we are about to hear from jussie and charges are dropped. >> reporter: we know about an hour from now that the mayor and the superintendent will have a press conference, as well. they will be talking about this. but you have to ask, how did we get here? and what happens to the brothers? are they charged or not charged? was a noose used or was it not? these are all the questions that we have. so many twists and turns. you are saying he will walk away with no charges, all that man hours were used. did the police department not tell the complete story here?
what did they find out? whether it comes from the state's attorneys office or the team seems we will not have a complete picture of what happened. he walked back home, was attacked by two men who say he didn't recognize. he described one of the people who had a mask on as having white skin. he went to the hospital after that. when you think about the twists and turns, people at the hospital have been fired over this case because apparently people were looking into his medical records. when you think about the explosion that has happened from this case, there is so much here, so many twists and turns. everything this touched has been sort of corroded. someone has to answer for it but it doesn't seem like anybody is. >> we will find out jussie
smollett's position it sounds like in just a few seconds. just to put a point on it. jussie smollett has maintained all along that he is not guilty. at the end of this you had an empire show and cast mates who were upset. you had people who were upset about this. remember that first time he got a bond, he walked out of here, hundreds of cameras followed him. we know he was suspended from the job. you have the idea that he always maintained his innocence. he said he was going to continue to fight this. then you have the other two brothers who told the story. did they tell the truth or did they tell a lie? do they face charges now for twisting this at all? they never talked. their attorney has talked. we have never heard from them. you have to wonder how 12 detectives started believing what they said over the actor. how did this all work out?
what evidence did they give to make them come to the conclusion that 16 counts were going to be dropped? no community service. we are at the point where we are waiting to hear what happens next. >> the next thing we hear from is jussie smollett and his attorneys. we have a camera on ryan young. we will come as soon as jussie walks around the corner. you have been in touch with someone close to smollett's team. >> they are saying police and prosecutors mishandled this and there was a rush of judgment in this case. this started about a conversation about a rush to judgment. there was an argument that the media rushed to judgment and everyone assumed he was telling the truth. now it is flipped around again. now the charge is there was a rush of judgment to accuse our client of being guilty. he has lawyers and pr people around him.
one saying from the start the case against jussie smollett didn't make sense. he has always been an upstanding member of the community. that's the view from smollett's camp that prosecutors and police mishandled this and the case is falling apart because the evidence was not there. >> we were sitting there together when all of this happened. i am baffled by this. >> amazing. i'm parsing the statement of the cooks county attorney's office. >> can you help me with that? >> after viewing all the facts and circumstances of the case including mr. smollett's volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the city of chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution. i know ryan young spoke to the issue of a plea deal and said there was none. you would be forfeiting your bond at all but getting the bond back, we wouldn't be evaluatin evaluating -- >> so the a possibility you are
saying here is not that -- so the possibilities would be juss ir ie made this up or he was the victim of a hate crime and was attacked. >> the other possibility is that there was a complete overstep by the police. you had the superintendent going on good morning america. you had them speaking about the evidence that they had on him but also saying you can't believe what we have out there not quoting him directly. this is just the tip of the iceberg. it baffles the mind that you have 12 detectives on a case and then you flip the script and add 16 counts where it is very specific if you look at the indictment. initial line as it related to the officers about the hate crime and what was said to him and how it occurred. that was eight counts and then another eight counts as it related to lying to the
detective. now you say it is all dropped. >> so you're telling me that -- we will hear a little bit more. i find this fascinating what you are telling me. i think this is important that the superintendent could have been -- the police chief -- >> poisoned the entiry. >> could have been accurate in that he was not a victim of a hate crime but just that this is the better way of handling the false police report. >> this was made the case of the century. i think chicago there is a long history perhaps of the community there and them not treating people of color appropriately. i think this was -- they went after him with all their might. i think this would -- >> you can't waste your time. >> it is political and the authorities were acting for political reasons. in some ways it increased distrust in the community. >> this would sort of strike a balance. going after him like they did
and poisoning the jury pool, how do you get a fair trial after you have everybody weighing in that community, talking about deversion of resources. jussie smollett made up this thing about the noose. it's outrageous. now you have here they are considering his service to the community and he is forfeiting his bond. we believe that is appropriate. that's not saying we don't have the evidence. that's saying we believe it's a just resolution as opposed to all of this overkill. that's what this says. >> i'm curious about the mayor and superintendent will say. the view from smollett's camp, this case under scores the need for people in power to not rush to judgment. smollett's camp is going to be very critical of the chicago pd and of the authorities. i'm fascinated to hear what is the defense going to be from the authorities in this situation? >> i think shan wuis still with us. shan, this concept of rush to
judgment is i think an important one here. it sounds a -- a rush to judgment. how could that play into all this? >> they were way out on a limb with those overstatements. i agree with ryan and joey. the forfeiting of the bond i saw that in the news. that's very peculiar. he made a mistake and he is innocent you -- he will get a lot more than the bond back when the civil suit hits. that suggests there is some problem here. it could be maybe false statements on the part of the detective maybe, the police work was bad. there is some inconsistency certainly with the testimony of the two brothers. but the forfeiting of the bond is odd. the statement that upon full review of the evidence, you would think you would have reviewed the evidence fully before now. >> before you charge.
>> there are multiple impacts to the people involved here. ryan young mentioned some of the hospital workers who were fired. jussie smollett is off empire for now. he was taken out of episodes on the show on fox. there is no comment from fox right now. at first they were standing by their colleague. the producers were supporting smollett and then didn't know what to do for a while. >> let me go back to ryan young who has been following the twists and turns of this from the very beginning. he is in the courthouse. ryan, you mentioned the state's attorney who stepped away from the case. can you talk to me more about that and how that came about? >> very interesting conversation. >> the state's attorney basically said because of some relationships that she had and a
phone call that she received, she stepped away from the case. we were kind of all baffled by it and shocked by this. then it came out that maybe michelle obama's former chief of staff gave kim fox a call on jussie's behalf. all of that is being worked out. so many people talk about this young man and all the work he has done in the community. i think we will be somewhere in the middle about this. we have been too far to go one way or the other way. there is video of the two brothers going to the store to buy the supplies they needed to pull this off. they apparently told police and they went and that is how they got this indictment because of the testimony those two men gave to police and the state's attorneys office. what happened to that conversation? there was a grand jury involved in this and the grand jury heard that. this can't just all go away.
and someone has to explain the nuances here because we know those two men were in a hold for 47 hours talking to detectives before the 48th hour when they were getting ready to be let go something happened in that room and they started talking to police officers. it was you had people, including congresspeople calling for some oversight. you knew there was a sense of pride here when you're talking about the city. we're talking about an area of the city where they don't really have crimes like this, so this was standing out to everyone at the time, how could this happen near this hotel? why would that happen? and to throw this in the mix, there were cameras all around the situation, but the one
camera that was nearby didn't catch this whole altercation? and i'll never forget this because a detective told me this. the idea that jussie smollett walked back into his residence and he still had the sandwich in his hand from the subway. all of this sort of came together. police offered to take him to the hospital. he didn't want to go to the hospital with the police officers. he decided to self-transport himself. there was stuff about this story from the very beginning where you say, how did we get here? i still feel like at this moment, when they talk to the mikes here, we still want to hear from the brothers. you're telling me the guys that fight in the golden gloves, he gets attacked and he can't land a solid punch? what was the motive for the attack if they were paid for personal training? we can tell you all these people in the courthouse right now are abuzz. if you think about it, you have the actor and his team sitting around the corner. usually he comes in here with
his entourage. it's his lawyers, it's his family, people outside want to go show their support. that's not happening because they found out late last night this was happening. when he steps to the mike, is he going to talk about the case? yeah, he might say, i always said i was innocent, but what happens with the two other men? i think that's the big question here. and what happens to the police department because you certainly have detectives who probably believe in their case, and obviously there were people sitting in the grand jury who now have heard all the evidence but were able to review it in a different way, and they came forth with the indictments. then you look at the state attorney's office. they felt so strongly about the evidence at some point that they put a 16-count indictment. some of us were thinking that was a little heavy. even people who worked in the state attorney's office never believed he would serve a day in jail. maybe they thought there would be community service. there's not even community service at this point. what happens next? every time i make a guess of it or someone calls me to say this
is what's going to happen next, i almost don't want to believe it anymore. he walked in the door and someone said the charges are going to be dropped. >> there's the big question of what happens next, but we need to still be stuck on what just happened and is happening now. to that point, as we wait for jussie smollett to come out along with his attorneys, i want to bring back in brian stelter and joey jackson. there is something important that we know and there is a whole lot that we don't know, as we're very cautious in this moment, right? we know the prosecutors have dropped the charges after reviewing evidence, after a review of the evidence. as you were making the point, joey, and it was important, that doesn't necessarily mean that there has been -- we don't know if there's been a determination that jussie smollett is blameless. >> correct. exactly right. that's right. so that's the issue. what struck me again is you're talking about they're considering his voluntary service to the community and that he agrees to forfeit bond. when someone is blameless, that doesn't happen. the charges are simply dismissed
and sealed, you get your bond back -- >> why would you be expected to pay anything? >> they don't care what you did for the community, what convictions you had, they're basing it on this case. complete speculation, but based upon what they're saying, maybe there was a tremendous overreach by the police department here, and perhaps at the end of the day they felt this was an appropriate disposition, they were going at him too hard. but because of his place in the community, maybe they said, wiser minds prevail, let's move on. >> additionally you have prosecutors have dropped charges, but that doesn't necessarily mean the police have changed their mind or their view in what they saw. >> right, an open question, and we're waiting for smollett and his attorneys to come and speak. i think we'll hear them say smollett today will still say he was the victim of a hate crime. this was turned around in the last two and a half weeks because he is innocent and he's the victim of a hate crime.
he is staying with that position. i think what's been happening behind the scenes is his lawyers, his team, has been poking holes in these two brothers and the evidence that purportedly was provided. i think we'll hear very strong statements from his camp against the police and against the prosecutors in this case. >> unless there was a deal cut such that, you know, we're going to ramp down. i think a lot of people thought -- >> ramp down, you mean -- >> bring it down a notch. >> that's interesting. >> so the community is inflamed enough, there have been entrenched positions on both sides. stop the rhetoric, he's innocent, it was an overreach by the chicago police department. let's stop the chicago police department blaming him for the man hours, and let's have some calm and peace and healing in this community. >> this is a collision, right? it's a collision of celebrity and crime -- >> it has been from the beginning. >> -- and the police department. it's a race of celebrity and all these factors. it's because an anonymous source said to tmz smollett said they
were wearing naga hats. it became political in a few minutes. that's what has made this even harder to get to the truth about. there was pressure on the police probably because it became political, and whenever there is a celebrity involved, it takes on a life of its own. >> it does, indeed. >> shan, talk to me about this element of -- the prosecutors -- am i right to say, obviously prosecutors change their minds. they have charged and reviewed more evidence and now they're dropping charges. that doesn't necessarily mean that the police department has changed its mind in what they turned up in their investigation. this kind of -- do you think that you're seeing -- what we could be seeing right now is a clash of those two thoughts? >> that's certainly possible. there have been many times when, as a prosecutor, i reviewed evidence given to me by law enforcement and i disagreed with them on whether it was appropriate to charge or not, and sometimes there is a fair amount of hostile tension that can grow there.
in this case, however, i find it hard to believe they're not going to try to get on the same page because there's just so much at stake here. there certainly seems to be something up in the background. this reliance upon his community service makes no sense if you're talking about guilt or innocence. and i agree with joey to an extent, that they could be concerned about trying to ramp this down, but i would say they've gone so far out on a limb that if they had credible evidence of his guilt, it would have been more logical to give him something like a very small misdemeanor, probation, community service rather than outright dismiss the charges. they can't do some non-disclosure agreement with him. he'll be free to speak after this. this is a lot of egg on their face and i believe they could face civil liability as well. >> i believe tforfeiting the bod was a very small issue in smollett's case. this kid wanted his life back. this kid wanted it resolved.
>> jussie gave up that right. >> right, he gave up that bond money because now this is resolved. i think there are concerns about his show "empire." it's a big highly rated show on fox. there may have been concerns about the implications with him not being on the show. but he wanted this cleared and resolved and to have his name cleared. >> shan, what is the potential of the next step after this? >> well, i think depending on what comes out doi-- i don't me to harp on the civil litigation part of it, but they may file suit against the city and the police saying they smeared his reputation and there's damages. >> how good a case do you think they have? >> it really depends on what the reasons are, kate. >> and do you agree with the potential -- and i think this is one of jussie's attorneys right here coming out so i'm going to keep an eye on this camera. as we've been waiting, ryan young is there on the ground for us, and we have been waiting to
hear from the attorneys. they learn of an emergency hearing, but ryan young has been there for us, and he was talking us through this this morning, that they heard rumors they just need to show up at the courthouse today. they get there and then they learn that all of this is happening. the cook county courthouse in chicago. and we're waiting right here as we're watching, so i think it was one of the attorneys for jussie smollett coming out, and we'll be hearing from jussie, from his attorneys, and from many. brian, as i'm watching this, i am just blown away by the turn of events and what this has meant. and talk about a city that was in need of healing and is really in need of healing now. i wonder if this is a step in that direction or away from it. >> as we've said, this was political in the beginning, complicated from the beginning, and we can go back to four simple words we probably don't say often enough. innocent until proven guilty. there's been a rush to judgment about this case in multiple
directions, and right now the thing we can do is wait and find out what his camp is going to say and what the mayor is going to say. how are they going to explain what happened here? >> shan, you're a former federal prosecutor, you also have been a defense attorney as well. if you're working with jussie smollett, what's your recommendation of how he addresses this right now? >> i would come out with the statement they come out with. he's a victim, he's sticking with the victim anywhere tinarr then just sit back and wait what we hear from the police to get the next steps. >> i'm just getting more direction from the control room. we are watching the cook county courthouse right now, waiting for jussie smollett and his attorneys to come out after prosecutors have dropped all charges against the "empire" actor. what comes next? we will see as jussie smollett is about to come out and get handed over to my colleague in washington, nia malika henderson.