At 8:48 p.m. on Wednesday, President Trump asked his 51 million Twitter followers to tune in to Sean Hannity’s Fox News broadcast, promising it’d be a “big show.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2018
Hannity, who recently dined with Trump at his private resort in Florida and is in regular communication with the president, began the show by attacking former FBI director James Comey — the subject of an ABC interview set to air Sunday.
Hannity seemed unaware that the logic he was using to attack Comey could be viewed as very incriminating for Trump.
Alluding to an ABC teaser of its interview with Comey where Trump is compared to a mob boss, Hannity said, “Really? Mob boss. Let’s think about this, of all the people, the former head of the federal bureau of investigation, the person responsible for taking down actual criminal gangs — shouldn’t James Comey know better than to make an outrageous comparison like that?”
Hannity then began to smear Comey for his alleged involvement in “the Clinton crime family” and “the Mueller crime family.” Special Counsel Robert Mueller — a Republican and former FBI director who was appointed by Republican president George W. Bush — came under fire for failed prosecutions from nearly two decades ago.
Hannity is attacking Comey for failed prosecutions from nearly two decades ago. It's total desperation. pic.twitter.com/NZ1YF1Yv0r
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 12, 2018
By the end, Hannity was linking his attacks on Comey, Clinton, and Mueller under the single heading of “DEEP STATE CRIME FAMILY.”
Hannity’s monologue was followed by a panel discussion with two lawyers Trump has relationships with — Alan Dershowitz and Joseph diGenova. The three teamed up to attack Mueller, with diGenova going as far as to say that “what Bob Mueller is doing and has done is destroying the Department of Justice, and for Jeff Sessions to sit there like a bump on a log and do nothing about it is disgraceful.”
Dershowitz, echoing a Trump talking point, went on to accuse Sessions of “wrongful conduct” by not informing Trump that he might have to recuse himself from investigations of the Trump campaign for contacts with Russia before taking the job as attorney general.
Trump is using Hannity as a mouthpiece at a time when he’s without a White House communications director. Hope Hicks’ last day in that role was late last month, and she hasn’t been replaced.
Trump, who routinely live-tweets Fox News programming, was reportedly watching cable news on Monday night as news of an FBI raid on the home, office, and hotel room of his personal attorney circulated.
Lawmakers have taken notice of Trump’s TV habit. During a Fox News interview earlier in the evening on Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) twice directly appealed to Trump and tried to give him advice.
At end of interview Graham addresses Trump directly for a second time, this time to give him advice on Syria.
"Mr President, you said Assad would pay a big price. To me a big price means he cannot do this again ever, that he will never sleep well at night." pic.twitter.com/ssdQXOR26u
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 11, 2018
In a tweet posted Thursday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) alluded to the power people have to persuade Trump during TV interviews while defending Mueller.
Anyone advising the President — in public or over the airwaves— to fire Bob Mueller does not have the President or the nation’s best interest at heart.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) April 12, 2018
Trump, however, refuses to publicly acknowledge his taste for TV.
“Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One in November. “Primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents. A lot.”