“This became partisan and polarizing on day one,” Stelter said.
The alleged attack drew criticisms from politicians on both sides of the aisle, including from Trump, who was asked about it at a news conference and said, “It’s horrible. Doesn’t get worse.”
The actor told police he was on the phone with his manager during the attack, yet both of them have refused to turn over their phone records, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Chicago Tribune. And now Smollett’s story has been called into question by Chicago police; a Chicago police spokesperson on Saturday said that the “Empire” is no longer considered a victim in this case. This is in the wake of police arresting two Nigerian men, Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, brothers who were later reportedly found to have known Smollett prior to the incident. Their lawyer, according to Vox, “says one of them had worked as an extra on the set of Empire; Smollett’s lawyer says another was his personal trainer for a brief stint, though neither attorney specified which brother served which role, or whether they were both talking about the same person.”
On CNN, rather than acknowledging that it appears that Smollett may have weaponized identity politics to attack the president, Stelter said that the Smollett story had been weaponized by “random websites all over the web.”
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