It’s more complicated every day trying to cover the rapidly crumbling administration of Donald Trump. Who his friends and enemies are change by the hour. His long-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, appears to be cooperating with prosecutors. His Chief-of-Staff, John Kelly, reportedly thinks he’s an idiot. And he isn’t the only one.
Now Sean Hannity of Fox News is taking an unusual position with regard to to his own network. On Monday the New York Times revealed a list of questions that were reportedly prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office for an interview with Trump. The list was said to have been transcribed by Trump’s lawyers who provided it anonymously to the Times. Legal analysts describe the questions as focusing on multiple issues, including collusion and obstruction of justice.
Predictably, when Hannity’s program aired he was determined to undermine the significance of these questions and the investigation in its entirety. So he started off his segment on the subject by belittling the use of anonymous sources while asserting that his anonymous sources contradicted those of the Times.
“I am told by my sources tonight that The New York Times is full of crap. A lot of those questions are not the questions that the Special Counsel is asking. Clearly a leak by the Special Counsels’s office, again with anonymous sources.” […]
“It is a disinformation campaign. How stupid is it? They want to get in the President’s mind, ‘Did you ever think of firing Mueller?’ When he never fired Mueller. And he has every right to fire Mueller constitutionaly. This is how bad the press in this country is. They’re being fed lies, disinformation to manipulate the America people.”
So Hannity is disputing the legitimacy of the questions published by the Times. The only problem with that is that Fox News also published the questions in an article that claimed they had independently obtained the list themselves. So if the Times is full of crap, then so is Fox News.
In addition to maligning the reporting of his own network, Hannity totally mangled his analysis of the impact of these questions. First of all, he asserts falsely that their disclosure was “clearly a leak by the Special Counsel.” But the Times explicitly reported that it was Trump’s team that leaked them. Then Hannity makes several assertions that are legally unfounded. He says that it’s “stupid” to try to get into the mind of the President. But that’s exactly how prosecutors establish intent in criminal cases. Hannity also said that Trump has the right to fire Mueller, which most legal experts say is not true. Although he could fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and appoint a replacement who could fire Mueller. But Hannity wasn’t through yet. He got even more frenzied later in the segment, saying with regard to the list of questions:
“Put it in your fireplace and burn it — because we have sources — half these questions are dumb anyway. ‘Oh, what was in your mind at the time.’ You don’t punish people or charge people – not that you can charge a sitting president, and the President has the right to fire anybody he wants – for the thoughts they have in their head.”
It’s as if Hannity is determined to put his utter ignorance about the law on display for all of American to see and laugh at. And that determination is so obviously driven by his compulsion to defend his Dear Leader, Donald Trump. And by the way, Trump is no better at this legal stuff than Hannity:
So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked” to the media. No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see…you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2018
Below are the videos of Hannity’s Trump-fluffing, if your stomach is strong enough to handle it.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Sean Hannity not impressed by leaked Robert Mueller questions
"I am told by my sources tonight that the New York Times is full of crap” pic.twitter.com/8YtRs8uZ6X
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) May 1, 2018
Sean Hannity completely freaks out about NYT reporting Mueller's questions: "Put it in your fireplace and burn it — because we have sources — half these questions are dumb anyway" pic.twitter.com/en3YQcUHum
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) May 1, 2018