What we’re reading: Jussie Smollett arrested


By Nicole Hawkins

We’re back and we’re reading – everything from “CNN” to the “The New York Times.” We’re trying to help you keep up with the rapid pace of politics and everyday news. Today, we’ve got updates on Jussie Smollett’s arrest, Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian collusion and Nancy Pelosi’s pushback against the president’s national emergency declaration.

Jussie Smollett charged and arrested

After a drastic turn of events, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was arrested Thursday on suspicion of filing a false police report, according to CNN.

Smollett told Chicago police, who were investigating the attack as a possible hate crime, two men tied a rope around his neck and poured a chemical substance on him while shouting racist and homophobic slurs.

The actor allegedly paid the two men $3,500 to stage the attack in order to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said.

President Trump responded to Smollett’s arrest Thursday morning in a tweet.


For live updates on this case, click here.

U.S. won’t allow Alabama woman who joined ISIS to return home

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the U.S. would not allow an Alabama woman who left the U.S. to join ISIS four years ago to return home, The New York Times reports.

Hoda Muthana, who travelled to Syria as a 20-year-old college student, joined ISIS and began encouraging attacks by the Islamic State in the West.

Muthana, who now lives in a Syrian refugee camp with her 18-month-old son, said she regrets her decision to join ISIS and wants to come back to the U.S.

“I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” President Trump tweeted Wednesday.

Mueller report could be released early next week

CNN reported Wednesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller could hand over his report from an investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to the Justice Department as early as next week.

According to people familiar with the situation, newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr is preparing to announce Mueller has completed his near two-year investigation and hand over a summary of the findings to Congress.

The attorney general is not required by law to release a summary of the report to Congress, but during Barr’s confirmation hearings last month, he said would provide as much information with lawmakers as possible “consistent with the rules and the law.”

Still confused on the details? An in-depth explanation of the Mueller probe by the Washington Post can be found here.

Coast Guard lieutenant arrested on gun charges, had hit list of democrats

A Coast Guard lieutenant who was arrested on weapons and drug charges last week, planned to carry out a mass killing, according to the Associated Press.

Court documents describe Lieutenant Christopher Paul Hasson as a “domestic terrorist.” Hasson created a list of victims he hoped to target, including Democratic lawmakers, 2020 presidential candidates and journalists for CNN.

Prosecutors said Hasson’s internet searches included “do senators have ss (secret service) protection” and “are supreme court justices protected.”

Hasson is expected to appear in federal court in Maryland on Thursday.

Nancy Pelosi says House will vote on resolution opposing Trump’s national emergency declaration

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday the House will soon vote on a resolution opposing President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration, which provides funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Washington Post reports.

Congress does have the power to pass a bill overriding the president’s national emergency declaration, however, if the resolution passes through both chambers of Congress, Trump officials have already said the president will veto the bill. Congress likely does not have the two-thirds vote in each chamber, especially the Republican-controlled Senate, to override that veto.  

“All Members take an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution,” Pelosi wrote in her “Dear Colleague” letter. “The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated.”

U.S allies in Syria: if you leave, so will we

U.S. allies France and Great Britain have denied the Trump administration’s request to keep troops on the ground in Syria if the U.S. pulls its own troops, according to the Washington Post.  

Troops from the U.S., France and Great Britain are currently the only countries fighting the Islamic State in a U.S.-led coalition in Syria.

Trump announced U.S. withdrawal from Syria in December, claiming the Islamic State was defeated.

France’s foreign minister said he was mystified by Trump’s actions and Britain’s foreign secretary said British forces will not replace American troops.

That’s all we have for today. Check back tomorrow for more.