Trump hints at Smollett case as he attacks prosecutors

The president spoke at a ceremony for fallen law enforcement officers.
Image: Jussie Smollett
Actor Jussie Smollett talks to the media before leaving Cook County Court on March 26, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois.Paul Beaty / AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump used a Capitol Hill ceremony for fallen law enforcement officers on Wednesday to criticize some big-city prosecutors he asserts don't go after criminals who pose a severe threat to public safety.

Trump also called for the death penalty for killing officers. And he made an apparent reference to the case of actor Jussie Smollett. He says "those who file false police reports should face full legal consequences."

Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct and accused of making a false police report after claiming he was attacked. The Cook County state's attorney's office abruptly dropped the charges in March.

Trump has tweeted that decision was "an embarrassment to our Nation," and has called from the Department of Justice to review the case. Federal officials told NBC News in March that the agency is reviewing the case and how it was handled, though expectations were low that any federal action would be taken.

Among Smollett's claims was that his attackers yelled "This is MAGA country" during the beating, a reference to Trump's campaign slogan. Trump tweeted after Smollett was charged, "what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA."

Trump spoke Wednesday at the 38th annual memorial service, which honored 228 peace officers who died in the line of duty last year.

Dareh Gregorian contributed.