It seems like every minute we are learning more about how Sean Hannity is incestuously intertwined with the Trump administration - and acting more as an operative than any kind of legitimate opinion news host. Judging from Hannity’s unhinged monologue last night, he is very much feeling the heat.
New revelations about Hannity’s entwinement with Trump
Yesterday, as questions lingered over Hannity’s client/not client status with Donald Trump’s beleaguered attorney Michael Cohen, The Atlantic revealed that Hannity has been represented by two other Trump-connected attorneys. One of them, Victoria Toensing, is the wife and law partner of a third, Joseph diGenova.
Hannity has disclosed none of that. Media Matters found 83 times that Hannity hosted the four lawyers without disclosing the relationships.
Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that Hannity is so cozy with Trump, “some White House aides have dubbed him the unofficial chief of staff.” One presidential adviser is quoted as saying, “He basically has a desk in the place.”
Hannity tried to distract from his ethics troubles with an epic bout of Clinton-centered whataboutism
Instead of explaining or even denying his involvement with the people he’s covering and hosting, Hannity went on a 13:35 rant about his martyrdom “proved” by the “guilt” of the Clintons, George Stephanopoulos and Jake Tapper, among others.
HANNITY: Here’s the truth: the media is guilty of every single solitary thing they have been accusing me of over the last 24 hours. The media is the sewer. They are the swamp. And as part of this incestuous corruption and conflict, and they sure as heck don’t want to talk about or care about transparency.
Here’s just a few examples why. Take a look at ABC News, George Stephanopoulos, the so-called journalist that secured the first interview with disgraced former FBI director James Comey, the guy who was literally carrying out a personal vendetta against President Trump. Did George Stephanopoulos ever disclosed the fact that during the interview that he worked on Bill Clinton’s ‘92 campaign and was a communications director and then served in the Clinton White House as a senior advisor?
In the first place, Stephanopoulos’ work for Clinton has long been in the public record. Stephanopoulos was featured in the 1993 documentary movie, The War Room, about the Clinton campaign; he wrote a memoir about working for Clinton and the relationship is disclosed on ABC News’ website. Second, I hate to break it to Hannity but Bill Clinton has been out of office since January, 2001, nearly 20 years. Stephanopoulos left the Clinton administration even before then. He joined ABC News in 1997. Comey did not become FBI director until 2013. If anything, Comey’s actions hurt Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Cohen, Sekulow, Toensing and diGenova – are currently in the news. Each of their 83 appearances on Hannity’s Fox News show was in the past few years. Many were in 2018.
Hannity singled out a scene in The War Room in which a young Stephanopoulos threatens a journalist. Sure, Stephanopoulos should be ashamed. But that bears on nothing related to his interview with Comey, 25 years later.
Yet Hannity continued fuming:
HANNITY: And all that explains why Stephanopoulos put on the kid gloves and didn’t ask James Comey the tough questions.
One thing is just the fact: I am honest about who I am and what my political beliefs are. I am an unapologetic conservative. I am a Trump supporter. I support Reagan economic policies and peace through strength.
Yes he’s honest about his politics. How intertwined he is with Donald Trump and how conflicted? Not so much.
But Hannity wasn’t done. He attacked CNN’s Jake Tapper for having been a spokesperson for Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, a former Democratic congresswoman whose son is married to Chelsea Clinton.
Apparently, Hannity can’t get out of the 20th century. Tapper left his work for that congresswoman after she lost her re-election bid in 1994. That was seven years before Donald Trump became a Democrat for the next eight years.
“Will all of those people now come clean about their political contributions and their support for Hillary Clinton?” Hannity whined. As if he is now basing his own moral compass on theirs.
Hannity went on and on and on with this conservative victimhood – that he could have avoided by following the simplest of journalistic ethics.
Hannity could be facing serious troubles within Fox and from Michael Cohen’s predicament
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Hannity will not weasel out of this with such histrionics.
For one thing, it’s not just the “liberal media” criticizing him. Even Alan Dershowitz found some scruples for a few minutes and chided Hannity Monday night for not disclosing his relationship with Cohen. That was before The Atlantic revealed Hannity’s relationship with the other three Trump lawyers.
Potentially most serious is the question of what more will come out about Hannity’s involvement with Cohen. Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ attorney, theorized on Monday that Cohen was using the claim of attorney-client privilege with Hannity as an excuse to conceal documents. “There is no question in my mind that there is one or more documents with Sean Hannity’s name on it that Michael Cohen does not want disclosed,” Avenatti said.
So the question is, what documents might have Hannity’s name on them and how damaging would they be to him and, presumably, the Trump administration, if those documents were to become public?
Watch Hannity try to defend himself by pointing fingers at others below, from the April 17, 2018 Hannity show.
(Transcript excerpts via FoxNews.com)
But if something interesting should come out of the document scenario (and that’s what I believe he’s terrified about today), that could change the math very quickly.
I would also note that Hannity cannot claim attorney-client privilege with respect to Michael Cohen if, as he keeps protesting, he was not a client of Cohen’s.