Anyone who worships at the altar of Donald Trump, as Sean Hannity does, obviously isn't someone who cares about integrity, character or honesty but what’s in it for Fox’s Bullyboy to keep trying to clear Julian Assange of receiving hacked material from Russian intelligence?
Unless you’ve been under a rock, you probably know that Assange was arrested yesterday and charged with conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer in 2010. However, there are still unanswered questions about Assange’s role in the 2016 campaign and, specifically, in Russia’s interference. From The New York Times, with my emphases added:
Court documents have revealed that it was Russian intelligence — using the Guccifer persona — that provided Mr. Assange thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and the personal account of John D. Podesta, the chairman of the Clinton campaign.
Another question is whether Mr. Assange was a conduit between the Russian hackers and the Trump campaign. Mr. Assange exchanged emails with Donald Trump Jr., Mr. Trump’s eldest son, during the campaign, and a Trump campaign official sent Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser to the president, to get information about the hacked Democratic emails, according to a January indictment by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel.
Mr. Mueller concluded his investigation without an indictment that directly connected WikiLeaks, the Russians and the Trump campaign, suggesting that prosecutors did not find sufficient evidence that Mr. Assange knowingly engaged in a conspiracy with Russia to help the Trump campaign.
But the report drafted by Mr. Mueller’s team, and expected to be released next week, could have additional details about the ties between the Trump campaign and Mr. Assange. Those details could be redacted by the Justice Department, however, if officials believe the material includes classified intelligence, said Carrie Cordero, a former official with the Justice Department’s National Security Division and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Meanwhile, Sean Hannity keeps looking for excuses to absolve Assange. First, there was Hannity’s disgusting attempts to frame murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich for the hack. Even after Attorney General William Barr said the Mueller report found that “Russian government actors” were responsible for the hacking, Hannity has failed to apologize or retract his smarmy allegations that Fox News long ago retracted.
Yesterday, Hannity baselessly suggested that the Mueller investigation deliberately ignored evidence that “Bernie supporters” were the culprits (my emphases added):
HANNITY: The question is, why didn't they ever look into -- if they think all this came from Russia, why didn't they ever go to the Ecuadorian Embassy and talk to Assange?
From what we know, they never did that. Maybe they didn't want the forensics. You know, maybe there were other sources.
Now, most people tell me, my sources say yeah, probably it was connected to Russia in some way. Maybe a third party, some outlet, whatever. I have other people -- smart, smart people telling me "nope." I had it come from a couple of sources. Some of them might have even been Bernie supporters. Who knows? I don't know the answer to that. I only know the answer he gave me.
That was on Hannity’s radio show. On his Fox News television show, Hannity dropped the Bernie accusation but continued to hint that Assange is innocent. After suggesting that Trump is tougher on Russia than President Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, Hannity began going to bat for Assange on Fox News.
HANNITY: For years, the media mob have obsessed over Assange, spreading a baseless lie that he was the key to finding Trump-Russian collusion. Well, now, Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embasy in handcuffs, Ecuador withdrew his asylum, British police arrested Assange on a U.S. extradition warrant over a 2010, quote, scheme to steal military secrets with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Remember, President Trump said that Assange's fate rested in the hands of the Justice Department. Oh, and Manning got a pardon from Obama.
Hannity played a clip of Trump dishonestly saying, “I know nothing about Wikileaks” without bothering to note that Fox’s own Shepard Smith had destroyed that lie, on the air, just hours earlier. Maybe because Hannity made it clear he likes Assange better than much of America:
HANNITY: As a matter of fact, if you look at WikiLeaks' record, they never printed a single thing proven untrue in 12 years. Whether you like their work or don't, that's a better track record than the fake news media mob right here in America that has been doing nothing but lying and peddling you conspiracy theories for 2 1/2 years.
That’s Hannity patriotism, for ya. It perfectly matched Hannity’s journalism chops:
HANNITY: In an interview with yours truly in 2017, I went to the Ecuadorian embassy in London. And Assange, I asked him directly about influence, Russia sources. Assange insisted he did not steal the DNC or Podesta e-mails, and that his source was not a government entity. And I asked him specifically about Russia. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Did Russia give you this information or anybody associated with Russia?
JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: Our source is not a state party. The answer for our interactions is no.
HANNITY: You did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta's e- mails? Can you tell the American people 1,000 percent you didn't get it from Russia or anybody associated with Russia?
ASSANGE: We can say -- we have said repeatedly over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not state parties.
Any idiot not in the tank for Trump or Russia (or both) can easily see through Assange’s sidestepping and parsing that hints his source was somebody associated with Russia just not directly from the Russian government. But Hannity and many of his Fox colleagues have used this exchange to pretend that Assange completely denied any Russian involvement. That’s exactly what Hannity continued to do here.
HANNITY: Now, if it wasn't Russia like Assange just said, who was it? Why was Assange never questioned by Robert Mueller or someone from his team?
For the pièce de résistance, Hannity found a way to suggest Hillary Clinton is the real national security threat.
HANNITY: And don't forget this all happened on Obama's watch, not Donald Trump's watch. So, now, we as a country have a decision to make. When will our federal government -- this is an important question -- when will we ramp up efforts to stop hackers from accessing our sensitive materials that impact our security in this country?
In other words, when is the government going to get serious about cyber security threats that we face every day? Because this is now been going on for decades. At what point does it become not shame on you, shame on you, what about shame on us for not fixing a serious significant progress in what is the digital age?
Our government has not ever built cyber security that makes our national security invulnerable. It's vulnerable and needs to be fixed. It's why Clinton's private server with top secret and classified information on it was and is a national security threat. And, by the way, also a felony.
Watch it below, from the April 11, 2019 Hannity, and ask yourself, why does he keep trying to absolve Russians and make Americans the villains in this scenario?
(Transcript excerpts from Hannity's TV show via Fox News)