Today, Donald Trump chose the politics of Sean Hannity and his Fox News cohorts over the advice of the administration’s own senior national security experts and released the so-called Nunes memo that contains classified details. According to The Daily Beast, Hannity played a direct role in that decision. UPDATED
House Republicans released a previously secret memo on Friday in which they accuse senior officials at the F.B.I. and Justice Department of bias in the early stages of the Russia investigation.
The House Intelligence Committee made the memo public after a week of pleading from senior national security officials not to disclose the classified details, reading it aloud on a conference call with reporters after President Trump declassified the memo.
Yesterday, The Daily Beast reported on the over-sized role of Sean Hannity in this shameful prioritization of partisan politics over country:
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.
Sources say Hannity’s persistent advocacy reinforced Trump’s already growing determination to get that memo into the public realm—despite huge potential fallout within the law enforcement and intelligence arms of his own administration.
Hannity denied the report in a Trumpian tweet that alleged “fake news.”
A total lie, Fake news. Phony “anonymous sources”. Amazing how the left wing media just makes Sh&)(: up. https://t.co/aytDS89o0L— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) February 2, 2018
However, you may recall that just last week, Hannity attacked the credibility of a New York Times report that Trump had tried to fire special counsel Robert Mueller because it was based on anonymous sources – only to confirm the report later in the same show.
What’s not totally clear in The Daily Beast article is exactly what constitutes “advising Trump.” It has already been shown that Fox influences Trump through its broadcasts alone. And as part of a vicious cycle, Fox pundits address their comments directly to him. Two days ago, Fox's Sebastian Gorka overtly addressed his commentary directly to Trump while appearing on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight: “I know he watches certain shows on this channel, so let's send a very clear message. Mr. President, the American people need to see the whole memo. Please release the un-redacted memo,” Gorka urged.
However, Hannity may be in a Trump-smoochy category of his own. The Daily Beast notes:
Hannity has worked himself into a frenzy this week, promising viewers “the biggest political scandal in American history.” On Wednesday evening, Hannity even hinted that he was privy to non-public information. “There's so much more coming, I wish I could share it with you now,” he said.
Interestingly, about an hour after his tweet, on his Fox News show, Hannity did not deny the details of The Daily Beast report. From Media Matters:
HANNITY: By the way, people in the media were saying that I’m advising [Trump] on the memo. First of all, you can’t advise this president, he’s such his own man. You can’t tell him not to tweet. He follows his own ways. And I’m saying it every night, call your congressman, release the memo, hello.
Watch Hannity not deny advising Trump below, from the February 1, 2018 Hannity, via Media Matters.
UPDATE: As more proof of Hannity's unofficial-adviser status, Media Matters caught MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle reporting she was told by someone in the Trump administration that the reason Trump gets his economic statistics consistently wrong is because he gets them from Hannity rather than his own Labor or Treasury Department.
It was April 22, 2009.
“NOTE TO HANNITY
Tick tock, tick tock…….."
Yes indeed Antoinette — the clock IS ticking — it’s now coming up on NINE YEARS since Sean KKKlannity promised on live TV in front of actor Charles Grodin to GET WATERBOARDED FOR CHARITY! I’m not sure of the exact date — it’s either February 22, 2009 or April 22, 2009.
NOTE TO HANNITY
Tick tock, tick tock