- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The leader of the U.S. House’s investigative panel deleted a tweet praising suspected hate-crime hoaxter Jussie Smollett for his “moral clarity.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, jumped onto the bandwagon in the days after the “Empire” actor claimed to have beaten up and had bleached poured on him at 2 a.m. on a bitterly cold night by two men who used racist and anti-gay slurs and said Chicago was “MAGA country.”

“I met Jussie Smollett at the Pride Parade in Los Angeles, and I’ve seen the passion and moral clarity of his activism first hand. This week he was the victim of a horrific attack. We pray for your speedy recovery, Jussie, and reject this act of hatred and bigotry,” Mr. Schiff tweeted.

That tweet was not on his timeline Wednesday evening, the same day Chicago Police Department said Mr. Smollett is now suspected of faking the “attack.”

“Hey @AdamSchiff, Why did you just delete this tweet?” Ryan Saavedra of the Daily Wire asked Wednesday evening to a screen-shot of the original tweet.

Mr. Schiff is not the first Democratic lawmaker to go back and scrub his timeline since Mr. Smollett’s story began falling apart under police and local-press scrutiny.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deleted a similar tweet earlier this week, and her office said in a statement that “given the turn in the investigation, we decided to no longer amplify the original accusation. Following the conclusion of the ongoing investigation, we will comment further.”

Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey, both 2020 presidential candidates, said earlier this week when asked about Mr. Smollett’s crumbling story that they would withhold judgment until the investigation was complete.

Earlier, when the investigation was even less complete, both senators said Mr. Smollett was the victim of “an attempted modern-day lynching.”

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, in response to Ms. Harris’s awkward response earlier in the day, noted that “Kamala Harris had no problem using inflammatory rhetoric to tie the #JussieSmollettHoax to @realDonaldTrump & his supporters. Now that she has the facts, why can’t she even remember her divisive language? Why is she giggling about it?”

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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