Opinion

Understandable Outrage

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Posted: Mar 28, 2019 12:01 AM
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Understandable Outrage

Source: Chicago Police Department via AP

It's hard to process what has happened in the last few days. First, President Donald Trump's ongoing outrage over media coverage makes total sense. And I have found myself agreeing with President Barack Obama's former chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's expression of outrage

The world keeps getting more and more interesting. I can't even imagine what's next, and I am better off not trying to because I would not believe it.

Let's start with Trump's ongoing outrage over media coverage. How could it make sense?

Let's back up to election night, when most of the media outlets delayed calling the election in favor of Trump. I knew by mid-evening that Trump was going to win. I could tell by the fact that the national media did not call Georgia for Trump: That's when I knew he had won. I could tell by the looks on the news anchors' faces, their expressions of disbelief, of sadness, the looks of things not having gone as anticipated. Their wish or belief that maybe if they delayed calling it, then it couldn't come true.

But it did. Trump won.

While some in his camp might have been surprised, I was not. His Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was a terrible candidate (she seemed unhappy campaigning and mostly sour). She was forced onto the Democrats by the Democratic National Committee, which rigged the nomination process as we found out after WikiLeaks leaked DNC emails. This led to the resignation of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., as the DNC chair. Current Fox News contributor Donna Brazile resigned from CNN after it was revealed that she had sent debate questions to Clinton's campaign staff before the event. Let's hope she is not involved in debates again.

Trump wins the election, Democrats mourn, and the Russian collusion story begins to take hold. The investigation started during the Obama administration with the help of a fake dossier on Trump, which was paid for by the DNC and Clinton team and leaked to the FBI by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

For over two years, Trump has had to endure ongoing media coverage alleging collusion. This week, we found out that it was not true.

The investigation was massive, with over 2,800 subpoenas issued, almost 500 search warrants executed and about 500 witnesses interviewed. This was an exhaustive and expensive undertaking led by a team of 19 lawyers with help from some "40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff," according to Attorney General William Barr.

The result -- no proof of collusion. The investigation found that no one in the Trump campaign organization had conspired or coordinated with the Russians -- despite the Russians' best efforts. With this decided, then the obstruction charge also fails. No collusion, no corruption.

Meanwhile, the media covered the story nonstop for over two years as if it were real. Trump's ongoing outrage over this media coverage makes complete sense. The questions now are: Why was the false dossier used, and why did the investigation take so long?

Then, on Tuesday, I found myself agreeing on a very different matter with Mayor Emanuel.

In response to the Cook County prosecutor's announcement that it was not going to press charges against actor Jussie Smollett for his hate-crime hoax, the mayor appeared outraged.

"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," Emanuel told reporters. "There is no accountability then in the system. It is wrong, full stop."

The charges were dropped, Smollett forfeited his $10,000 bail and a nod was made to the 16 hours of community service he recently served. Ridiculous and outrageous was my first thought, but Emanuel's words were much stronger.

He noted the toll the hoax has taken on Chicago's reputation and the hard work of the police department, which led to Smollett's indictment by a grand jury on 16 felony counts.

As he spoke, Emanuel was surrounded by police officers, including Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "We'll have conversations after this," Johnson said, after acknowledging that it was up to the prosecutor to decide whether or not to move forward. He appeared surprised by the decision and said he had found out about it with everyone else. Johnson was blunt about what he thought about Smollett: "At the end of the day it was Smollett who committed this hoax."

The actor is still under FBI investigation for mail fraud concerning a hate letter he received that he allegedly sent to himself. The Fraternal Order of Police called for an investigation into how Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx handled the case.

The question now is this: Who pressed to get the charges dropped?

In both cases, the outrage is understandable.