Smollett claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in Chicago in January, alleging two men attacked him, tying a noose around his neck and screaming, "This is MAGA country!" After the initial reports, Trump weighed in by saying it "doesn't get any worse" than this. Police subsequently said Smollett actually staged the attack himself, and he was hit with 16 felony counts while continuing to maintain his innocence.
But on Tuesday, all charges against the actor were unexpectedly dropped, although one of the prosecutors involved said this does not exonerate Smollett or mean he "is innocent." Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police have blasted prosecutors for dropping the charges, while Smollet's attorney has argued the charges never would have been dropped if prosecutors really thought he was guilty.
Prior to Trump's tweet, ABC 7 Chicago reporter Rob Elgas had reported that the FBI was reviewing the dismissal of charges against Smollett, although he stressed that the review is "not an investigation." Brendan Morrow
It looks like White House Chief of Staff John Kelly might stay in the role a bit longer than expected.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News Tuesday that Kelly will remain in the White House until "at least" Jan. 2, reports The Washington Post. President Trump specifically said that Kelly would be leaving by the end of the year, but that was before Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, decided to turn down the job and leave Washington entirely. The New York Times reported that Ayers was Trump's only real choice to replace Kelly and that he had no back-up plan.
When asked whether Kelly might stick around beyond Jan. 2, Conway suggested that's a possibility. "That's up to the president and that's up to the chief of staff, General John Kelly, certainly," she told Fox News. But there will be "a very peaceful and pragmatic transition" to whomever Trump chooses, Conway said. Trump on Tuesday insisted that "many" people want the chief of staff job but said that he's in "no rush" to find his replacement, per The Hill. Brendan Morrow