President Donald Trump said Thursday he would have the FBI and the Justice Department review "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett case.
"It is an embarrassment to our Nation!" Trump tweeted.
It is unclear whether federal authorities would have any jurisdiction over the Smollett case.
Trump's critics said the president is playing racial politics with the Smollett case, seeking to undercut the victims of real racial violence that is on the rise.
"By claiming a false attack, Smollett tried to exploit the hate @realDonaldTrump has stirred," tweeted David Axelrod, adviser to President Barack Obama. "Now, predictably, Trump is moving to exploit Smollett’s exploitation. Talk about a vicious circle!"
Local prosecutors in Chicago announced Tuesday they were dropping disorderly conduct charges against Smollett for filing a false police report. The decision came less than three weeks after the actor was indicted on charges that he paid two men to stage a hoax attack to make him look like the victim of a racist hate crime.
Smollett’s legal team is taking offense with comments to the media by Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office officials, saying prosecutors and police are "continuing their campaign" against the actor. Prosecutors said they’ve dropped the charges, but insist that doesn't mean Smollett was exonerated of wrongdoing.
News of the dropped charges outraged a variety of lawmakers, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
"This is a whitewash of justice," Emanuel declared. "It’s Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax. He’s still saying he's innocent, still running down the Chicago Police Department. How dare he? How dare he?"
FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2019