Any doubt about the feedback loop between President Donald Trump and Fox News can be put to rest, as the president credited Fox’s Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, and Jeanine Pirro for his decision to declassify key Russia documents in an interview with The Hill released on Wednesday.
As ThinkProgress reported on Tuesday, Trump’s declassification of materials relating to the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was made “at the request of” top congressional Republicans, including Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who was a member of the Executive Committee for Trump’s White House transition.
Despite concerns about potential national security issues resulting from Trump’s actions, especially since neither the Department of Justice nor FBI were reportedly involved in the decision, the president praised Fox News and Fox Business hosts for making the recommendation to him during a conversation with Hill.tv’s John Solomon and Buck Sexton.
“I have been asked by so many people that I respect, please — the great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful great Jeanie Pirro. (laughs)
No, she takes it so personally. And that’s not, let’s say they like me. But this is beyond liking me. They know that this is one of the great scandals in the history of our country.”
Trump also mentioned Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett when he was asked about the declassification of Russia documents earlier in the interview.
“You know Gregg Jarrett wrote a book called the Russian Hoax. It actually is a hoax. I call it a witch hunt, but it’s a hoax. Beyond a witch hunt.”
Hannity first referenced Trump’s ability to declassify Russia documents on the July 23 episode of his Fox News show, according to Media Matters’ Nick Fernandez. Hannity and Dobbs have discussed the subject at least a dozen separate times on their shows since then.
Trump’s mention of how Fox News influenced his decision to declassify documents was not highlighted in The Hill’s initial article recapping the Trump interview. However, the names of Hannity, Dobbs, Pirro, and Jarrett appeared in a subsequent piece and the transcript released later Wednesday.
Correction: This piece has been updated to fully reflect The Hill’s coverage of Trump’s Fox News remark.