Sean Hannity "interviews" Donald Trump
Sean Hannity with Donald Trump in Wisconsin (White House photo by Tia Dufour)
Sean Hannity "interviews" Donald Trump
Sean Han­ni­ty with Don­ald Trump in Wis­con­sin (White House pho­to by Tia Dufour)

Sean Han­ni­ty, in his own words, “nev­er claimed to be a jour­nal­ist,” but the FNC pun­dit has proven to be one of Don­ald Trump’s chief pub­lic mouth­pieces and font of soft­ball ques­tions before, dur­ing and after four degrad­ing years of the “Fox presidency.”

The Trump can­di­da­cy res­cued Han­ni­ty in 2016 at a time when his mes­sage had become par­ty-line pre­dictable, night after night, and his rat­ings had begun to slip.

In turn, Han­ni­ty turned over the air­waves to Trump, served as a pri­vate sound­ing board, and even loaned his pri­vate jet to bring Indi­ana Gov­er­nor Mike Pence togeth­er with Trump.

Unbe­liev­able as it may seem, how­ev­er, Han­ni­ty briefly offered Trump sen­si­ble advice in clos­ing days of his scan­dal-rid­den pres­i­den­cy, accord­ing to a trea­sure trove of emails obtained by the House Selec­tion Com­mit­tee to Inves­ti­gate the Jan­u­ary 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The com­mit­tee now wants Han­ni­ty to come in and answer “a spe­cif­ic nar­row range of ques­tions.” On what sub­ject? Hannity’s “detailed knowl­edge about Pres­i­dent Trump’s state of mind.” And whether Han­ni­ty had “advance knowl­edge regard­ing Pres­i­dent Trump’s and his legal team’s plan­ning for Jan­u­ary 6th.”

The emails, direct­ed most­ly to White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows, indi­cate that Han­ni­ty rec­og­nized that the forty-fifth pres­i­dent was los­ing it.

Trump was schem­ing to install a pli­ant attor­ney as act­ing Attor­ney Gen­er­al as part of his bid to over­turn the 2020 election.

Such a course was dis­as­trous, Han­ni­ty told Mead­ows. “We can’t lose the entire White House counsel’s office,” warned the bull-necked pun­dit. “I don’t see Jan­u­ary 6 hap­pen­ing the way he (Trump) is being told. After the 6th (sic). He should announce will lead the nation­wide effort to reform vot­ing integri­ty. Go to Flori­da and watch Joe mess up dai­ly. Stay engaged. When he speaks, peo­ple will listen.”

After the insur­rec­tion, Han­ni­ty reached out again with a mes­sage to Mead­ows and U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Jor­dan, R‑Ohio, loud defend­er of Trump.

Hannity and Trump at CPAC
Don­ald Trump and Sean Han­ni­ty speak­ing at the 2015 Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence (CPAC) in Nation­al Har­bor, Mary­land (Pho­to: Gage Skid­more, repro­duced under a Cre­ative Com­mons license)

“Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days,” said Han­ni­ty. “He can’t men­tion the elec­tion again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say. And I don’t like not know­ing if it’s tru­ly under­stood. Ideas?”

The rev­e­la­tions, with “dozens of text mes­sages” where those came from, take your breath away like a U.S. Capi­tol cop being choked by insur­rec­tion­ists on the 6th.

The emails indi­cate that Han­ni­ty knew full well that Trump was out-of-con­trol and more than a lit­tle bit off his rocker.

Han­ni­ty did not con­vey this to view­ers. Nor did he men­tion that on Jan­u­ary 5th, he was “wor­ried about the next 48 hours.”

He dared not share his inside knowl­edge with his true believ­er audi­ence. Fox view­ers expect pro­pa­gan­da with­out nuance and react with sus­tained abuse at any devi­a­tion from the par­ty line. Many will believe any­thing Trump says, and instant­ly turn on any doubter or seem­ing­ly unfaith­ful Republican.

As with oth­er “lead­ers” in the Repub­li­can Par­ty, most notably House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy, Han­ni­ty has paid slav­ish post-elec­tion trib­ute to Trump. He has become a pur­vey­or of the anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic fic­tion that Trump was robbed in an elec­tion he lost by sev­en mil­lion votes. Tuck­er Carl­son has gone fur­ther, sug­gest­ing that Deep State provo­ca­teurs egged on the mob.

Like a fish, the Trump move­ment is start­ing to rot from the head. The sense here is that the Select Com­mit­tee is hon­ing in on and nail­ing down respon­si­bil­i­ty. Its vice chair, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Liz Cheney, R‑Wyoming, revealed Sun­day that first daugh­ter Ivana Trump twice walked in on the 45th pres­i­dent, while he watched the insur­rec­tion on TV, and begged him to call off the attack­ing mob.

Nor­mal­ly supine Repub­li­can sen­a­tors were urg­ing Trump to call off his anniver­sary news con­fer­ence at Mar-a-Lago on Thurs­day. “I just don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Sen­a­tor Shelly Moore Capi­to, R‑West Vir­ginia. Sen­a­tor John Cornyn, R‑Texas, deputy Repub­li­can Sen­ate leader, declared in politi­cian speak: “I think that’s where we ought to focus our efforts, is on get­ting things done for the Amer­i­can peo­ple and not re-lit­i­gat­ing issues that have already been decided.”

Trump called off his Jan­u­ary 6th media event, which would have appeared a bad sideshow com­pared to solemn and seri­ous obser­vances at the U.S. Capitol.

He took a shot at the Select Com­mit­tee and respond­ed to Hannity’s “clear path to land” email by say­ing: “I dis­agree with Sean on that state­ment and the facts are prov­ing me right.”

What facts are those? Not those being metic­u­lous­ly gath­ered by the Select Com­mit­tee. The pan­el is show­ing increas­ing bold­ness in slap­ping down the legal tac­tics of delay. If Han­ni­ty won’t talk, the emails are talk­ing for him.

Han­ni­ty has so far main­tained an icy silence on his emails. His Fox show on Tues­day night was devot­ed to the usu­al par­ty line.

About the author

Joel Connelly is a Northwest Progressive Institute contributor who has reported on multiple presidential campaigns and from many national political conventions. During his career at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush. He has covered Canada from Trudeau to Trudeau, written about the fiscal meltdown of the nuclear energy obsessed WPPSS consortium (pronounced "Whoops") and public lands battles dating back to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

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