tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN March 26, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PDT
as obama grudges or trump injustices. indeed there are, but he's trying to cut that republic ptar that view, but he is a man in the middle, so he'll be inching to the left. thanks so much for that, joan. thank you for joining us on "inside politics." brianna keilar starts right now. i'm brianna keilar live from c cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now we start in a stunning twist of the case of "empire" actor jussie smollett. prosecutors announced just moments ago they are dropping all charges against smollett. he was accused of staging a hate crime and filing a police report. but smollett spoke to reporters, still fiercely maintaining his innocence. >> i've been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.
i would not be my mother's son if i was capable of one drop i've been accused of. this has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly the worst of my entire life. but i am a man of faith and i am a man that has knowledge of my history, and i would not bring my family, our lives or the movement to a fire like this. i just wouldn't. now i'd like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life. but make no mistake, i will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized lives everywhere. >> we have ryan young at the cook county courthouse. there are still so many questions here. tell us about this decision. >> reporter: this is exaspirating. we had a call early this morning that we had to get to the courtroom. if you think about this, this story, this case, has been a head scratcher from the very beginning. of course, when we arrived here
there was a rumor that charges would be dropped. of course, when you talk to all the folks who work for the police department, they thought they had a rock solid case here, so we never thought this would be the ending. don't forget, this went to a grand jury and there was a 16-count indictment for this case, and all along we were told before that they believed they had evidence from the darrell olson brothers, the two men who told police they were hired to do the attack. how do you go from that to this, and that's been the big question so far? one of the things they made clear when they went to the mikes today, there was a conversation about this case being sealed? will we ever have all the evidence from this case? before we get to that point, let's not forget jussie smollett said at the end of january, he was walking back from a subway when he was attacked by two men. he described them as having white kind of features. they had masks on but he could see through the eyelets.
they worked back weeks to get to all the evidence they have. listen to the police who were talking so strongly afterwards about how much evidence they had in this case. >> "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. >> you know, i lived in the city of chicago my entire life. we just don't have any room for hatred in this city, and for somebody to use it for personal gain is just -- is shameful. we gave him the benefit of the doubt up until that 47th hour. when we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off. >> strong words from the policeman there. the video store said he went and bought supplies for this. they gave their testimony. we checked with the attorney
afterwards to see how they would move forward with this case. you could see a response in terms of going after the police department. they didn't sound like they wanted to do that. but listen to the attorney who is well known in this area talk about this case and how it's going to move forward. >> we have nothing to say to the police department except to investigate charges and not try their cases in the press, but to allow matters to be investigated, allow the state to investigate, and to bring charges and not to jump ahead and utilize the press to convict people before they are tried in a court of law. >> reporter: brianna, where do we go from here? if you remember after that attack, people were saying, this is maga country. now we know that was not the case, so we have to figure out if the brothers talked to them within 48 hours after being
investigated by police, what did they give up in that 47th hour that made police feel so confident about this? we do know the next 30 minutes or so, not just the mayor rahm emanuel, but the police sergeant is going to give a speech about this. we're not sure that the cook county state attorney's office even gave them a heads-up about this today. so much about this is still in question. how do you move forward? was this it? there is no way this is how it ends here. this is playing out like some sort of reality tv or some sort of daytime movie, because all the twists and turns in this, every single hour you're wondering, what's going to be the next step? jussie smollett and his attorney kept saying they want to move ahead with their lives. what information are we going to get? laura coates, why would prosecutors dismiss this case?
>> they wouldn't, particularly when it's been out there, there was a press conference, and you had a grand jury and presented evidence to a grand jury that led to 16 counts of an indictment. they're felonies. they're low-level felonies but felonies nonetheless, so i'm shocked by the turn of events. however, it is quite common with prosecutors to think about maybe a criminal solution or criminal prosecution is no longer the most effective way to reach justice. the reason i pinpoint that is because even though the attorney said there is no plea deal, there is no agreement, he dropped all charges against this person voluntarily, he still forfeited a bond, and chicago said -- the attorney said, excuse me, we look at his criminal history and of course his community service. that to me sounds like a deferred prosecution.
>> let's wait for a moment. president trump is on capitol hill. >> some are still talking about the mueller report. what's your response? >> i don't think they're talking about impeachment. we have the greatest economy
we've ever had. our country is in great shape. they and others have taken up the time in this country for this ridiculous investigation that came up with no collusion, no obstruction, no nothing. we are doing so well. we probably never had a time of prosperity like this. >> the people who launched the investigation oppose this act. how do you explain? >> i think it went higher up. i don't think our country wants this to happen again. we can't let it happen again. it went very high up and it started fairly low, but with instructions from the high up. this should never happen to a president again. we can't allow that to take place. [ inaudible question ] >> i don't want to say that, but
i think you know the answer. >> while the mueller report -- >> the mueller report was great. it could not have been better. it said no obstruction, no collusion. it could not have been better. >> do you think the affordable care act is invalid? >> let me tell you exactly what my message is. the republican party will soon be known as the party of health care, you watch. >> all right, president trump there on capitol hill. just to be clear, we have to fact check something he just said. he said the mueller report is great,
and then he said it said no obstruction, no collusion. just to be clear, one, we haven't seen the report. there is a few quotes from it in the letter from attorney general barr, but it said, quote, while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
that is on obstruction. it certainly does not say no obstruction. i want to bring in laura coates to talk about this. you can see what the president is doing now coming out of -- we haven't seen the report, but it's gone to the justice department, and right now the ag is looking at it and scrubbing it and figuring out what he can hand to congress. he was asked, the president, how high up did this go? he said, i don't want to say it, but he is. he is pointing a finger back at the obama west wing, presumably at president obama. what do you make of this? >> i think this is part of a concerted effort in anticipation of now there's no criminality aspect of it, while the impeachment proceedings, if there were ever to be so, is in the political context and it requires there to be a come to jesus moment between the republicans and democrats. if you pit the two against each other, as the democrats had a hand in what he calls the witch hunt, or a closs -- colossal
waste of time depending on what he wants to say. the democrats were a problem. if they were inherently complicit in all this, it will not allow the republicans to say, we'll go ahead with everything. he's well aware of the controversy. this is about republicans and democrats hashing it out about the popularity contest being the president. in the clinton years, we already know what happened to newt gingrich, to the popularity of bill clinton. impeachment did not benefit the people seeking impeachment in bill clinton. it actual helped in the longevity and tenure of bill clinton. he's aware of this game that he's playing, and he uses the words wisely. the mueller report did not exonerate him on the issue of obstruction. it was the barr summation of the mueller report that still leaves very loose ends about why could there be a conclusion about collusion and not a conclusion
reached about infrastructure? remember, the president is the head of the executive branch. their job is to enforce the laws. if there is a question with regard obstruction, the resignation of nixon led to obstruction. you need to have a political rally going on about this notion. >> it's interesting, listening to him there, listening to a number of white house officials coming out of the last few days, it's almost easy if you just listen to them to forget what this investigation was all about, which was russian meddling in the 2016 election, right? 37 people or entities charged, many of them russian entities or people. there were 16 trump associates who had contact with russians. what should -- if you're looking at this, keeping in mind -- we keep having to say this. we haven't seen the report, we have only seen the summary put together by a political
appointee of president trump's, right? that's important. what do you think, even just looking at that letter, should be the takeaway other than this focus of what the president is talking about? >> remember, the mandate was about the campaign and a foreign entity's influence in it. the president's public opinion and the president's publicity campaign is about making it about himself. that was never actually implicit in the narrative, it was in the campaign, not the president's. the issue here was there were always parallel investigations going on or should have been going on. congress had a criminal role to perform. their role is about there is a gap here, brianna, between what we think is wrong behavior in a political campaign sooefreceivi perhaps, opposition research or the ability of foreign interference. we think that's a wrong thing.
has the law matched that in corresponding ways of saying, we want to criminalize that conduct? congress has something to look at on the impeachment side if they want to, and how should we fill the gap? what their role should be going forward is has the law been investigated? do we already know how we can legislate a remedy? that's how the mueller report in its full fashion is important. we do not want congress to take 22 months to figure out how to reinvent the wheel. >> if this is a witch hunt, as the president describes it, they found a lot of witches and they're russian. you have to look at what the mueller investigation found. laura coates, thank you so much. as we hear from the president, republicademocrats ag a deadline for the mueller report. nancy pelosi thinks the president is above the law.
and they are sparking an explosive fight. the charges against jussie smollett completely dropped in what's a stunning reversal. mber, but he's not using it. and he has subscriptions to a music service he doesn't listen to and five streaming video services he doesn't watch. this is jerry learning that he's still paying for this stuff he's not using. he's seeing his recurring payments in control tower in the wells fargo mobile app. this is jerry canceling a few things. booyah. this is jerry appreciating the people who made this possible. oh look, there they are. (team member) this is wells fargo.
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right now president trump is on capitol hill. he made a rare trek on pennsylvania avenue to sit in a senate republican lunch. and the present administration is really trying to hit the reset button here now that the mueller report is finished. we haven't seen it, but it has gone to the attorney general who has put out a four-page summary. first up, they're trying to scrap obamacare and they're also moving ahead with the president's funding the border
barrier. they're also unveiling new health care legislation, tomorrow it's climate change and then they'll move ahead with a measure to close the pay gap. also today the house is going to vote on whether to overturn the president's veto of their bill to overturn the national emergency declaration. but even with all this action today, the mueller report still to be released is still hanging over the halls of congress, with democrats setting an april 2nd deadline with its release to congress. let's turn back now to this major reversal from the white house on health care. the trump administration's health care after saying the obamacare program should be tossed, it's now calling for the entire affordable care act to be thrown out. it's asking for the u.s. court of appeals for the fifth district in new orleans to affirm a lower court's ruling that invalidated the aca. let's take a look back now at the president's promises on a key provision of obamacare. >> 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. >> but if the white house and the justice department gets its way, that will not be the case. so how exactly could this affect the millions of americans who have preexisting conditions. christina is in new york and she's here to break it down for us. what can you tell us? >> it's a major blow to obamacare, brianna. the court essentially changed its position on the affordable care act. it previously opposed the individual mandate and protections for preexisting conditions. but now the administration is saying the entire aca should be struck down. let me put some numbers around this. according to health care and
nonprofit kaiser family foundation, more than 400 million non h-elderly americans lacked health insurance in 2014. that's before obamacare went into effect. by 2017, the number of insureds had actually dropped to a low of $27.4 million. this is important because they could just forego it altogether. as you pointed out, the limited aca would be 42 million americans with preexisting conditions. the president, as you see, promised to protect people. but this administration strips those away and others more broadly. in terms of the impact on everybody, the law would have impacts even if you don't have preexisting conditions. right now the aca lets many americans obtain free birth
control, mammograms and cholesterol tests. and, of course, for younger people it allows children to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until they turn 26. brianna, going forward, we'll have to see what happens here because the case is currently before a federal appeals court, and we have to see how it plays out there. brianna? >> a lot at stake as you outlined. christina alesci, tlau fhank yo that. president trump promised months ago to rehash coverage for people with the affordable care act. we have ted liu with us. he is on the house services committee. thank you for joining us. >> thank you, brianna. >> what is your opinion about the president trying to strip the affordable care act in its entirety?
>> president obsertrump said hin issue was to help people with preexisting conditions. it turned out he lied. that is something that is going to harm millions and millions of americans, including those who have other health care coverage, because it covers all health care plans. >> is this something he will run on in the upcoming election? >> absolutely. we already did. last november donald trump ran on building the wall, democrats ran on an agenda for the people, including health care. democrats swept the house and won every statewide seat in wisconsin and pennsylvania. we're doing this again in 2020. >> what do you expect to get by april 2nd? that is the deadline you put forward, that house democrats put forward to get the mueller report. we have to be clear. we haven't seen the mueller report.
we've seen a four-page summary from the attorney general with some quotes from the mueller report. are you going to get it by this deadline, april 2nd? >> we certainly hope so, and you're right, brianna, we don't have the mueller report. we ever attorney general barr's interpretation of the mueller report. it's important that the american people and congress see the full report. we expect to see the report. the american taxpayers paid for it and there is no reason to prevent showing the american people and congress what's exact actually in the report. >> if you don't get it, what are you going to do? >> we're going to keep negotiating with the department of justice and with the white house, but at some point we're going to ask to issue subpoenas to get the entire report or to call in robert mueller to talk about the report. we don't want to resort to that if we don't have to. >> yesterday on this program, a white house official made it clear they want to avoid anything going to congress that they feel should be protected by executive privilege. do you trust the attorney general to make sure the white
house does not use executive privilege to hide information from congress that it should have? >> i do not. and under the law, you cannot use executive privilege to hide misconduct, whether or not that misconduct might rise to the level of a crime. so if people engage in ethical misconduct, you can't use executive privilege to shield that. that's why it's so important we get the entire mueller report. >> democrats are facing a lot of criticism in the wake of this report summary coming out from the attorney general. republicans, including those on the house intelligence committee, are increasingly saying congressman adam schiff should step down from his role as house intel committee chair. listen to what one of your colleagues, republican intel committee member mike turner, said. >> i do believe he needs to step aside. i believe his leadership is compromised and it's compromised for three wiensreasons. one, he has stood before
americans and said things that aren't true. he's said things about the republicans that aren't true. and the third thing is he's transformed the committee from its focus which is protecting the national security in the intelligence committee. >> so schiff had said -- to be clear, congressman liu, schiff had said there was, quote, damning evidence that the trump campaign colluded with russia and he characterized as worse than watergate. does your colleague mark turner have a point? >> i believe adam schiff did a great job. we don't have the report. we ever attorney general bill barr's interpretation of the mueller report, so we need to see the mueller report before people start speculating what's actually in it. and in terms of the charge robert mueller had, it was a really high bar. he was interested in knowing is there enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone committed a crime
related to russia? there could be all sorts of misconduct in that report that didn't rise to the level of reasonable doubt, or there could be nothing, we don't know. what we do know, a pretty lengthy report, we should have the right to see what's in the report. >> you do know by the issue of collusion what's in the report, right? this is a quote from the report. quote, the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities. that is a quote directly from the report. adam schiff said there was damning evidence of collusion and he said it was worse than watergate. but you want to wait until you see the entire report? that's apples to apples there. >> yes, you should talk to congressmember schiff. but there is a difference whether people engage in collusion or collusive aspects of behavior or whether there was conspiracy.
i am not going to challenge the fighti finding of the robert mueller report, but i want to see what it is before i challenge anything. >> thank you, congressman liu. the charges against actor insult completely dropped. plus passengers aboard a british airways jet got a free flight to scotland. the problem was they were supposed to be going to germany. a terrifying new report that pilots simulating what may have happened on one of the doomed boeing flights, they only had 40 seconds to savor te the plane fa crash. ♪ what did i miss? [laughter] you ready to go? yeah. let's go! ♪
that's all the time the pilots may have had to override the system and avoid a catastrophic dive of the boeing max 8 jet in indonesia. they were recreating what happened moments before a boeing 7 max 8 plane crashed. the mcas system is the focus of the investigation into two different crashes in less than six months. the times also explained that a single censor filed in the simulation, and that triggered the safety software and the pilots had just seconds to turn this system off. we have mary shivo with us. she is a former inspector general for the department of transportation. she's also an attorney who represents families of airline crash victims and has current litigation pending against boeing. so even though, mary, the pilots in this story are estimating the 40 seconds, this is a disturbingly short amount of
time to fix this before a catastrophe. >> a very disturbingly short amount of time, and i've worked prior crashes where they had a runaway trim. this isn't a runaway trim, this is the plane doing this on purpose, but it takes an amount of time, because even the boeing 6 for this problem says you resort to the manuals, you see what's going on. on one page of the manuals there is a several-step process to diagnose it. then you go to another section and it has you turn off a couple switches and then see if that has fixed the problem. so just working through it on the prior crashes i've worked, it takes several minutes to just diagnose it and figure out what's going on. because remember, at the same time in the cockpit, warnings are going to start going off. you've got the stick shaker, which is an alarming vibration to the pilot, and you've got other warnings going off. 40 seconds is nothing. it's no time. >> i'm struck by the fact that as you described the fix in part of your answer there, it seemed
to take almost 40 seconds just to run through it rather quickly. >> that's right. >> so how is it that you could have just a single bad sensor and potentially it creates a cascade of events that may have put one or both of these planes in an unrecoverable nose dive? >> well, you can't and have a certified aircraft. that's why i believe there are so many investigations going on. aircraft and airline safety is built on redundancy. it's redundancy that has given us this margin of safety that has continued to grow over decades of flight. so to have a single point of failure, one thing that can cause this plane to go into what we now know of only 40 seconds an unrecoverable dive, that is a risk not allowed under airworthiness standards. there is going to be a lot of debate. how much dive did the boeing engineers program into this? was it .6, was it 2.5%?
and how much time did they have? the problem was this was also cumulative. every time the plane put the nose down and the pilots pulled it up, it did not go back to level, so the pilots were fighting a battle. a single point of failure is not allowed under airworthiness standards, and i think that the instructions for the pilots clearly are not sufficient, and you have an airworthiness problem. >> indeed. mary schiavo, thank you very much. any moment chicago officials are going to speak on the case involving jussie smollett. live pictures there as we await this after prosecutors dropped all charges against smollett. and we're learning now the superintendent who was so vociferous in his criticism of smollett when the charges were announced is upset over this decision.
♪ t-mobile will do the math for you. right now, when you join t-mobile, you get two lines of unlimited with two of the latest phones included for just one hundred bucks a month. we're going to chicago where officials there are going to speak on the dismissal of charges in the jussie smollett case. let's listen in. >> good afternoon. so, listen, i'm sure we all know what occurred this morning.
my personal opinion is that you all know where i stand on this. do i think justice was served? no. what do i think justice is? i think this city is still owed an apology. and let me digress for a moment. when i came on this job, i've been a cop now for about 31 years. when i came on this job i came on with my honor, my integrity and my reputation. if anybody accused me of anything that would circumvent that, i would want my day in court, period, to clear my name. i've heard that they wanted their day in court with tv cameras so america could know the truth and know they tried to hide behind secrecy to broker a deal. my job as a police officer is to investigate the incident, gather evidence, gather the facts and
bring them to justice. that's what i did. i stand behind the investigation. i'll let the mayor comment further. >> the grand jury indicted this victim only by a piece of the evidence that the police collected in that period of time. so the grand jury actually brought the charges. i think two things i'd like to -- three things i'd like to say. one, the financial cost of $10,000 doesn't even come close to what the city spent in resources to actually look over the camera, gather all the data, gather all the information that brault t brought the indictment by the grand jury. second is what i call the ethical costs. and the ethical costs, as a
person in the house of representatives when we tried to pass the shepard legislation of hate crimes being put on the books, to then use those very laws and the principles and values behind the matthew shepard hate crimes lejgislatio to self-promote your career is a cost that comes to all the individuals, gay men and women who will come guaforward and sa they were the victim of a hate crime and having them doubt it, people of faith who are a victim of a hate crime, people of all walks of life and background, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, now this casts a shadow over whether they're telling the truth, and he did this all in the name of self-promotion. he used the laws of the hate crime association that all of us through the years have put on
the books to stand up to be the values that embody what we believe in. this is a whitewash of justice. a grand jury could not have been clearer. to then say not only is the cost of $10,000 doesn't come close financially but all the repercussions of this decision it made, to me, where is the accountability in the system? you cannot have, because of a person's position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else. in another way, you're seeing this play out in universities where people pay extra to get their kids a special position in universities. now you have a person, because of their position and background who is getting treated in a way that nobody else would ever -- sorry about that -- don't get near my sermon here -- that would ever get close to this type of treatment. our officers did hard workday d
in and day out, countless hours, working to unwind what actually happened that night. the city saw its reputation dragged through the mud, but i remind everybody, it was not just the officer's work. that work, a piece of that work, was shown to a grand jury and they made a decision based on only a sliver of the evidence. and as i remember correctly, someone wanted to have that evidence until the day the superintendent said their day in court and all evidence was to be made public. because of that court's decision, all the evidence will never be made public. none of it. this is, without a doubt, a whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that if you're in a position of influence and power, you'll get treated one way, other people will be treated another way. there is no accountability th,
then, in the system. it is wrong full stop. [ inaudible question ] >> what i do want to say is i commend the officers and the grand jury for their decision. [ inaudible question ] >> well, you know, at the end of the day, like i said, our job as police officers is to present them with the evidence. the apology comes from the person that did this. if you want to say you're innocent of a situation, then you take your day in court. i would never, if someone falsely accused me, i would never hide behind a brokered deal and secrecy, period. [ inaudible question ] >> is it unusual for the state's attorney to drop a case like this without giving you guys a heads-up? >> i don't know what's usual for the state attorney, but we found out when you all did. >> i want to say one thing.
this is not on the level. it's not on the level, but i also want to say i want to emphasize what the superintendent just said. at the end of the day, it's mr. smollett that committed this false claim upon two individuals and who also testified, but also on the city. one action, yes, we're looking at the state's attorney. it's not on the level from beginning to end and there needs to be a level of accountability throughout the system, and this sends an ambiguous message that there is no accountability and that is wrong. >> don't you think this was incredible disrespect to the court -- [ inaudible question ] >> do you not think you should have gotten a phone call saying,
this is what's happening? >> prosecutors have their discretion, of course. we still have to work with the state's attorneys' office. i'm sure we'll have some conversation after this. but again, at the end of the day, it's mr. smollett who committed this hoax, period. if he wanted to clear his name, the way to do that was in a court of law so everyone could see the evidence. you all know what the bottom profits said. we all know what it said. i stand by the facts of what we produced. if they want to dispute those facts, then the place to do that is in court, not secrecy. >> i want to say one other thing. mr. smollett is still saying that he is innocent, still running down the chicago police department. how dare him? how dare him? after everybody saw -- and i want to remind you this, not the superintendent's word against
his. the grand jury, a sliver of the evidence, and they came to a conclusion. as did the state's attorneys' office. this is not the superintendent and the detectives department worry against his. and after this whitewash, still no sense of ownership of what he's done. etsd, in fact, he is wrong in this case. this is a person now who has been led off scot free with no sense of blgtability with the moral and ethical wrong of his actions. from top to bottom, not only the name of the city, and i can't stress at a time when you have people bringing a moral equivalency in virginia between big bigots and the fighting bigotry, you have people using hate crime laws on the books protecting people who are minorities from
violence to then turn around and use those laws to advance your coree and your financial reward, is there no sdmaens this man? >> do you think the state's attorney was at all politically moet vad? >> what's the decision about politically motivated? >> two things. one to the state's attorney, r only they can trace it. but i take you back to the grand jury who had every piece of the data. i think everybody would love for it to be made public. >> do you want it made available? >> it's not whether i do or not. it's a question only she can answer. >> there is an attorney saying he has been vilified, like this
against r. >> he's the person that fwlaut forward. it also goes back to a letter. he brought this case forward. he said he was a victim of a hate crime both from his sexual or y orientation and for being black. the evidence came forward. the grand jury saw the evidence, realized it was a hoax, a hoax on the city, a hoax on hate crimes, a hoax on people with good values who was actually an apathetic person to use that evidence for one thing. i'm going to close on this. we just had one of the largest ceremonies for the police department in the history of the city. 297 men and women, representing
all parts of this city. people of all walks of faith and background saying they want to serve the city, serve the values of the city and serve others in times of need. they are there to uphold the law and they have the best training to do that. people of all walks of life, gr schools, kids that grew up with police officer parents, they have a life of service. they were there to not only uphold the laws but the value that inform those laws and now you have an individual who took those laws, turned them inside out, upside down for only one thing -- himself, and that in my view is an insult and an offense to every one of us who collectively up hold those laws because they reflect who we are as a city and because of the hate crime legislation that's federal, who we are as a country. thank you.
[ inaudible question ] all right. as charges have been completely dropped against jussie smollett who stood accused of staging a hate crime against himself and filing a false police report, a rebuke there from the mayor of chicago and the superintendent of chicago police who were very upset with this prosecutor's decision. we also learned some information about a deal that appears to have been brokered with jussie smollett, but he is now free and clear of any charges to do with this incident that captured so much national attention and so many man hours of the chicago police department. let's try to get to the bottom of this with our cnn legal analyst laura coates and sheryl dorsey who is a retired police sergeant. they are very upset. >> yeah. >> on one side, you have the prosecutor who decided to drop these charges and what we just learned from mostly from mayor emanuel was that this was some
sort of deal that was reached. he referenced a $10,000 fine which he said did not even come close to touching the cost of this investigation, let alone as he put it, the ethical cost of, in his words, using a hate crime really in a way for self-promotion. he also talked about this information being sealed. that means we may never learn what happened here, laura? >> they're outraged i actually feel because i think to myself all the information you learned in the press conference and in paneling a grand jury and a grand jury independently found that these 16 counts were warranted. people often believe that prosecutors and police are always on the same page. they actually have very different functions and roles and it's the prosecutor who exercised discretion in whether to charge or decline bringing charges. you're seeing a little bit of the tension playing out here, them not being included as part of it and what it says about them and their own investigation. it's still very surprising the notion that somebody would forfeit that $10,000 bond, what
emanuel was causing a fine. i'm just letting it go, it's a bond, don't worry about it. the issue about it being sealed raises a lot of concerns as well. somebody is professing their innocence, they are asking all documents to be sealed and the prosecutor agrees to an uv index punkment -- >> why would the prosecutor do that? >> there was a credibility issue going to trial. no one who is innocent wants to not have a day in court, that's actually not true at all. many people broker plea agreements even professing their intelligence because the accumulation of evidence may be a cost benefit analysis in their favor to say, i'm going to go ahead and plead guilty to at least one charge even if not to the other ones. maybe it's a matter of the two brothers who as late as february and march did not have a plea agreement, did not have an immunity deal, they may have recanted and changed their tune. how do you prove it then? i don't know. >> these are two brothers who allegedly help him stage this
fake hate crime. there's video of them purchasing the goods or the equipment to do this and there were texts between -- they had been extras on "empire" the show that jussie smollett's show and they had testified before the grand jury. >> for two and a half hours. it's a long time. >> sheryl, to you, have you ever -- you were l.a.p.d. police sergeant, have you ever seen anything like this, something so high profile that clearly the police felt was so cut and dry and then it just falls apart like this with the prosecutor dismissing all charges? >> well, i've not seen anything quite like this. this is extraordinary for sure, but listen, the prosecutors, they have the final say and prosecutors want to win and there's a lot of stuff that's going on behind the scenes that we don't know, but, you know, at the end of the day now jussie will have this cloud hanging over him because people in a certain segment of society is
always going to wonder, why would you want it sealed? and i agree with the superintendent over there that you know you would want folks to know this, bring it out in the open and clear the air if, in fact, nothing was done. who forfeits $10,000 if you're innocent? nobody. we'll know that this thing that the police are saying is true when jussie's great, great legal team doesn't sue chicago p.d. for def ma mags or slander. >> that is a very good point and actually something that i was talking to with laura about as we watch this all go down that it was a fine line that the mayor would have to walk. so laura, you heard mayor emanuel there and he was calling our smollett directly. he asked how dare he stand up and maintain his innocence. let's listen to those earlier remarks by smollett. >> i've been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. i would not be my mother's son if i was capable of one drop of what i've been accused of.
this has been an incredibly difficult time. honestly one of the worst of my entire life but i am a man of faith and a man that has knowledge of my history and i would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. i just wouldn't. now i'd like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life, but make no mistakes, i will always continue to fight for the justice equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere. >> to be clear, laura, he didn't -- he never really explained everything that came out afterwards, the text messages between him and these brothers that he knew these brothers, he just maintained his innocence, right? what did we learn in the wake from jussie smollett after the police said actually, no, he's on the hook for all of these things? >> we didn't learn an explanation from any of it. frankly, to be fair it's not his job to prove his innocence, it's the burden on the government to actually prove your guilt. that's always been the case.
ironically, though, brianna, both can actually be true. the premise of the charge against him was that he lied or concocted a hoax. he can maintain and said i was struck by two people who attacked me on the street who said this name calling, who made racial and homophobic slurs, who attacked me and put a rope around my neck. he can say that's actually true if he, in fact, orchestrated the attack because that -- >> that's semantics. >> that's what he's holding his head on too. both could actually be true. these charges should be dropped -- >> he's saying -- he's saying he didn't do the things he stands accused of. >> he seds i would not be my mother's son if i even did a sliver of what he's accused of. he's never given fully given a full accounting of why these two brothers had receipts, were doing a plan of the attack, why it was delayed to accommodate his flight. i remember the prosecutor laying out at that press conference all of the information.
it hasn't been explained. it's sealed. it never will. the benefit of the doubt really shifts. >> laura, cheryl, thank you. we'll have more on this breaking news. we're back in two minutes. our mission is to provide complete, balanced nutrition... for strength and energy! whoo-hoo! great-tasting ensure. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. ensure, for strength and energy. look for savings in your weekly paper. ♪ when you have nausea, ♪ heartburn, ♪ indigestion, ♪ upset stomach, ♪ diarrhea... girl, pepto ultra coating will treat your stomach right. ♪nausea, heartburn, ♪ indigestion, upset stomach, ♪ diarrhea... try pepto with ultra coating.
announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> hi, i'm brooke baldwin. you are watching cnn. we're going to continue following that breaking news out of chicago. the headline, all charges dropped against "empire" actor jussie smollett. smollett telling reporters outside the courtroom today that he felt vindicated as he took selfies with fans after this emergency hearing this morning. remember, this all started with smollett who is openly gay said two men jumped him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs but in this jaw-dropping reversal today, investigators say that smollett staged