Smollett may still face new legal trouble; Obama connections suspected in dropping of hoax charges

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Developing now, Wednesday, March 27, 2019

SMOLLETT MAY NOT BE IN THE CLEAR YET: Despite the hate crime hoax charges against him being dropped Tuesday, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett still may face new legal trouble …  An investigation into a death-threat letter the actor supposedly received prior to an alleged Jan. 29 attack against him has been handed over to the FBI, Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told Fox News. Cook County, Ill. First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats told reporters that prosecutors dropped the case because Smollett forfeited a $ 10,000 bond payment and did community service.

The decision to drop charges against Smollett stunned and outraged Chicago police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called the series of events "not on the level" and a "whitewash of justice." Some critics have wondered whether Smollett’s high-powered connections led to the dropping of charges. Messages exchanged between Tina Tchen, an attorney and former chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx are attracting increasing scrutiny.

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DOJ SETS TIMETABLE TO RELEASE OF MUELLER REPORT -  A version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election will be available to Capitol Hill lawmakers in “weeks, not months,” Attorney General Bill Barr told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham during a Monday phone call, Fox News has learned … According to a senior Department of Justice official, Barr did not tell Graham, R-S.C., that he intends to share the report with the White House in advance of the public release. Still, Graham told "Fox News @ Night" host Shannon Bream, Trump is fine with the DOJ releasing the report without having the White House review it first.

THE GREEN ‘NO’ DEAL: The Green New Deal, a sweeping Democratic proposal championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for dealing with climate change, fell at the first hurdle Tuesday as the Senate failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to begin debate on the non-binding resolution, with 42 Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., voting "present" … No senator voted to begin debate on the legislation, while 57 lawmakers voted against breaking the filibuster. The vote had been teed up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a bid to make Democratic senators — including several 2020 presidential candidates — go on the record about the measure, which he calls "a radical, top-down, socialist makeover of the entire U.S. economy." Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, called McConnell’s move a "sham vote."

KEY LEGAL VICTORY IN THE OPIOID CRISIS: The state of Oklahoma has reached a $ 270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, seen as pivotal in the opioid overdose crisis that has been blamed in part on misleading information the company provided to doctors about the potential for addiction … Oklahoma sued Purdue Pharma, and its controlling Sackler family, and several other opioid manufacturers in 2017, accusing them of fraudulent marketing practices that led to thousands of overdoses and deaths. State officials have said that since 2009, more Oklahomans have died from opioids than in vehicle crashes.

THE SOUNDBITE

‘UNSERIOUS’ GREEN -  "The planet does not need us to ‘think globally, and act locally’ so much as it needs us to think family, and act personally. The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution, but the serious business of human flourishing – the solution to so many of our problems, at all times and in all places: fall in love, get married, and have some kids." – U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, ridiculing the "Green New Deal" on the Senate floor before the proposal failed in a test vote Tuesday. (Click the image above to watch the full video.)

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Brit Hume slams John Brennan, liberal media mea culpa on Mueller report: ‘too little, too late.’
NBC News’ Tom Brokaw says ‘there’s too much duplication’ in media’s politics coverage.
Geraldo Rivera: Jussie Smollett gets away with a double fraud.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Boeing ‘humbled and learning’ after Ethiopian Airlines crash, CEO Muilenburg says.
Apple’s new credit card draws skepticism from partner Goldman Sachs
Howard Schultz rips Ocasio-Cortez’s
Green New Deal as ‘fantasy.’

STAY TUNED

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On Fox News:

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala.; Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren.

The Story with Martha MacCallum, 7 p.m. ET: Special guests include: U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas..

Hannity, 9 p.m. ET: Don’t miss Sean Hannity’s exclusive interview with President Trump!

On Fox Business

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga.

Varney & Co., 9 a.m. ET: Ronna McDaniel, RNC chair.

Kennedy, 9 p.m. ET: U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.; John Delaney, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate; Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: "Mueller Report: Breakdown and Reaction" – As Democrats call for the release of the Mueller report in its entirety, the first person indicted in the investigation says that he is focusing on rebuilding his reputation. George Papadopoulos, former adviser to the Trump campaign, shares the story behind his new book, "Deep State Target: How  I Got Caught In the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump."

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The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Jay Winik on his Wall Street Journal op-ed on whether abolitionists owe reparations. The Green New Deal, the Mueller report and Jussie Smollett case will be debated with the following guests: U.S. Sen. Tim Cotton, R-Ark.; former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla.; Michael Goodwin, New York Post columnist; Martha MacCallum, host of "The Story."

The Todd Starnes Show, Noon ET: Todd speaks with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee about the fallout from the Mueller investigation.

#TheFlashback
1977: In aviation’s worst disaster, 583 people are killed when a KLM Boeing 747, attempting to take off in heavy fog, crashes into a Pan Am 747 on an airport runway on the Canary Island of Tenerife.
1933: Japan officially withdraws from the League of Nations.
1513: Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sights present-day Florida.

Fox News First is compiled by Fox News’ Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Have a good day! We’ll see you in your inbox first thing Thursday morning.

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