Team Trump just blew its cover in spectacular fashion. Sean Hannity, who found finds himself in a disturbing quagmire after he was outed in federal court as the mystery third client of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, could potentially be in deeper trouble.
Despite dedicating a large portion of his show defending Trump and Cohen, and blasting the FBI raid on his home and office —which likely includes evidence related to Hannity’s discussions with him— the Fox News host neglected to inform viewers of his personal ties to Cohen.
It’s not clear what evidence relating to Hannity could have been turned up by the search warrant, or whether those documents or recordings would be of any interest to investigators.
But former National Security analyst John Schindler and others have been warning for months that Hannity has helped the president spread Russian propaganda through his nightly Fox News broadcasts and daily syndicated radio program.
In a column for The Observer, Schindler claims that Hannity has been under counterintelligence investigation for his links to the Kremlin, which appear to run through WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“We need to ask questions about Hannity’s relationship with the Kremlin, considering his track record of pushing rancid Russian disinformation on his Fox News program,” Schindler said. “Hannity is a propagandist, not a journalist, by his own admission, but if he has served as a witting conduit for lies crafted by Russian spies, Fox News needs to explain why they are airing Kremlin Active Measures aimed at the American public and calling it ‘news.’”
“Intelligence Community friends have told me that Sean Hannity has been under counterintelligence investigation for some time, based on his clandestine ties to Moscow,” he added. “Now we know why.”
Hannity played a key role in promoting a conspiracy theory about slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, whose family has sued Fox News over a since-retracted May 2017 article posted on the network’s website.
While no evidence has become public yet that Hannity and Assange were in contact during the campaign, the WikiLeaks founder reached out to a parody Twitter account for the Fox News broadcaster that suggests the two men may have been in contact before — and Hannity has invited Assange to host his radio program.
Texas writer Dell Gilliam set up the phony account in January after Hannity’s legitimate account was briefly deleted after cryptically tweeting the phrase “Form Submission 1649 | #Hannity.”
Assange contacted the account, apparently believing it was the broadcaster, and offered to set up a meeting over “other channels” to send “some news about Warner.”
About a week later, Fox News broke into its evening programming to report on text messages between Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Senate’s Russia investigation, and a lobbyist linked to a Russian oligarch.
The texts had been reviewed months earlier by Republicans, who saw nothing suspicious about them, and Ed Henry, the Fox News reporter who broke the story, insisted WikiLeaks and Hannity played no role in his reporting.
Hannity hyped the report on his radio program, hours before Henry’s report came out, and Trump tweeted an attack on Warner’s credibility hours after it aired.
“Wow! -Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch. Warner did not want a ‘paper trail’ on a ‘private’ meeting (in London) he requested with Steele of fraudulent Dossier fame. All tied into Crooked Hillary,” he tweeted.
Hannity also played a leading role in hyping a misleading memo written by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) intended to discredit the special counsel probe, which was also promoted by Russian bots on social media.
Special counsel Robert Mueller could be all over these “coincidences.”