Given Sean Hannity’s oversized role in the release of the so-called Nunes memo, shouldn’t we be asking how closely he’s been working with Rep. Devin Nunes? UPDATED WITH MORE EVIDENCE
Last week, The Daily Beast reported that Sean Hannity had been advising Trump to release the memo which Hannity had been openly hyping on his TV show:
According to three sources with knowledge of their conversations, Trump has been in regular contact with Hannity over the phone in recent weeks, as the Fox News prime-time star and Trump ally has encouraged the prompt release of a controversial four-page memo crafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. Hannity has gone to the wall to push for the public release of the memo, which the intelligence panel and its chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), authorized this week in a party-line vote despite the classified information therein.
Clearly, Hannity knew what was in the memo he pushed so hard to get released. Who would have told him other than a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee? And who would be more likely to have done so than the chairman and memo’s author, Nunes?
Last night, Hannity kept referring to “sources” who fed him damaging information about the Committee’s ranking member, Democrat Adam Schiff. That’s the same Adam Schiff, by the way, that Trump attacked on Twitter earlier that same day.
In his opening monologue, Hannity referenced “sources” who sounded a lot like Nunes.
HANNITY: Now, sources are telling us tonight that contrary to whatever fiction Schiff is peddling, the FISA court was lied to. They were never told when the FBI was getting and renewing this warrant to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Those same sources are telling us tonight that Schiff’s claim about the court being informed that dossier was politically tainted, it is a minor footnote. It never mentions that Hillary and her campaign and the DNC paid for it. Oh, a pretty important omission, don’t you think?
The “minor footnote” complaint just happened to echo a Nunes talking point and one that corrected a falsehood in his own memo. From today’s Daily Beast:
The [Nunes] document claimed that DOJ attorneys never told the court that political partisans funded some of the material they referenced in their application to surveil former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. In the days since the memo’s release, however, Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy ,who supervised the its production, both conceded that the application included a footnote saying partisans were involved in funding some of its material.
On Trump-favorite TV show Fox and Friends, Nunes pivoted Monday to say that “a footnote saying something may be political is a far cry from letting the American people know that the Democrats and the Hillary campaign paid for dirt that the FBI then used to get a warrant on an American citizen to spy on another campaign.”
In other words: Nunes went from claiming that the FBI misled the court, to saying the Bureau had notified the judges—just not in big enough type.
That wasn’t the only case of Hannity looking like he’s in cahoots with Nunes. From Hannity’s opening monologue:
HANNITY: And we can also report tonight, according to our sources, who have seen this Democratic memo, that nothing in the memo actually refutes any of the facts that were presented in the House GOP intel memo, which, by the way, we told you on Friday. And the FBI said there’s nothing factually inaccurate about it.
The Democratic memo has not been declassified yet, and Schiff’s going around telling anybody who will listen what’s in it. In other words, he’s leaking classified information.
Again, who would have seen a memo from the House Intelligence Committee Democrats that would also be a source for Hannity? The memo had just been voted out of Committee yesterday and Trump was not briefed on it until today. And who would Hannity rely on in a claim that the information Schiff has revealed is supposedly classified? Presumably, Hannity would have no clue on his own as to what information is or is not classified.
In his later interview with Nunes, Hannity all but acknowledged that Nunes was his source:
HANNITY: Let me ask. You said that you believe your colleagues at the other side of the aisle have leaked intelligence at least 100 times? Is that true?
NUNES: Yes we have hundreds of examples of leaks from our committee that we feel could only come from the other side.
It’s hard to believe this is the only instance of these two putting their heads together.
Watch Hannity’s monologue and Nunes' interview below, from the February 5, 2018 Hannity.
UPDATE: When I wrote this, I had not seen Media Matters' detailed article demonstrating how "Hannity appeared to be in the loop on the Nunes memo weeks prior to its public release."