Sean Hannity was revealed on Monday to be the mystery third client of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime “fixer” and personal attorney. But Hannity did not disclose this important detail as he repeatedly criticized last week’s FBI raid on Cohen’s offices.
Hannity’s publicist told Fox News on Monday that Cohen and Hannity have been friends for a long time, that Cohen “did some legal work along the way” for Hannity, and that Hannity had “never denied that he was his lawyer.”
On Fox, Shep Smith addresses Hannity: “We just spoke with his publicist here at Fox News who says that he says they’ve been friends for a long time, he never denied that he he was his lawyer, that he did some legal work along the way, and that’s the extent of that.”
— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) April 16, 2018
But until a federal judge forced Cohen to reveal that Hannity was his client on Monday, Hannity did not disclose this information, even as he denounced the “fishing expedition” and “war on the president.”
On his radio show on Monday, Hannity claimed alternately that he never paid legal fees to Cohen and that he “might have handed him ten bucks” for legal advice, to protect attorney-client privilege, but insisted repeatedly that Cohen never represented him in any matter involving a “third party.”
On his Fox News show last week, Hannity linked the FBI raid on Cohen’s office, home, and hotel room to the need for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“Professor Dershowitz, you have said that the raid on Michael Cohen’s hotel room, his home and his office was a violation of his constitutional rights,” Hannity began during an interview segment with Alan Dershowitz and Joe DiGenova last Wednesday. “Do you agree with Joe that it’s the attorney general’s job to now step in and fire Rod Rosenstein?”
After discussing whether the raid was a violation of Cohen and Trump’s civil rights, Hannity and Dershowitz made light of what they believed to be an insufficient link between the purpose of the raid and the focus of the Russia investigation.
Then Hannity turned back to DiGenova, who was once in the running to be a replacement attorney on Trump’s legal team himself, and asked DiGenova to “weigh on the taint aspect of this and more importantly, the person that has attorney-client privilege that that would be the president’s right to invoke, not Michael Cohen’s.”
Hannity then played a video clip of Newt Gingrich comparing the raid to raids conducted by the Gestapo in Nazi Germany, teasing the clip with, “Wait until you hear who Newt is actually comparing them to.”
On his radio show last Monday, when news of the Cohen raid broke. Hannity attacked the Mueller probe as a “fishing expedition” and downplayed the $130,000 payment Cohen made to Stormy Daniels.
“I do remember Michael saying it publicly and saying to me at the time that in fact he never told the president about this, that it was something that he had pretty wide discretion on his own to handle matters without bringing it to his attention,” Hannity said. “And it might seem unusual to most people but if you’re a billionaire I guess it’s not.”
After another guest compared Mueller’s focus to “mission creep,” Hannity said he agreed with “the idea of mission creep but more importantly this opens up an area where it seems that there’s no limit at all into the fishing expedition that Mueller is now engaged in and if he has access to everything that his personal attorney has I can only imagine where that’s going to lead.”
One week later, Cohen would disclose in court that Hannity was the mystery “third client.”
Even before the raid, Hannity defended Cohen and acted chummy with him without mentioning any sort of legal advice he received from the Trump attorney.
In 2017, Cohen himself appeared on Hannity’s show, to talk about liberals and celebrities, where Cohen said things like this:
But the level of disrespect towards the president, it knows no boundaries. And their attacks upon the president and the entire administration is so bad for this country, it’s not just bad for us nationally but internationally as well. It makes us look weak and it makes us look disorganized and chaotic, and it’s wrong.
Hannity later dismissed the idea that he used incendiary language on his show about President Obama, and Cohen agreed that Hannity would be kicked off his show if he had, and possibly be deported. Hannity replied, “I would hire you as my lawyer. You’d keep me in.” Cohen said, “I would try,” before returning to his defense of Trump.
The segment concluded with another exchange about celebrities criticizing the president:
COHEN: Who cares what these celebrities, what these movie stars or comedians have to say? Again, it’s freedom of speech, let them say whatever they want. The big problem is that the media, again, and I’m talking about this liberal mainstream media, they are applauding the disrespect and that they just keep playing it over and over. So what do you think is going to happen? The next celebrity wants to become relevant. So what does he do? He jumps onto the bandwagon of stupidity.
HANNITY: They ratchet it up. They ratchet it up higher and higher.
COHEN: It’s just a bandwagon of stupidity.
That was the most recent thing Cohen said on Hannity’s show.
Back in January of this year, Hannity and Rudy Giuliani were talking about President Obama and the “fake news” attacks by the mainstream media that conservatives face. Their point was that famous conservatives had fame and money and could fight back, but Hannity didn’t want to forget the little guy. His example: Michael Cohen.
GIULIANI:But there are a lot of people that you hurt with this fake news that don’t. And if he doesn’t fight back.
HANNITY: People like Michael Cohen.
GIULIANI: Yes. People who — Michael Cohen…
HANNITY: His family.
GIULIANI: There’s not more than one Michael Cohen in the world?
HANNITY: Yes, I know!
GIULIANI: … the guy’s in America. He hasn’t been to Prague.
HANNITY: You want to know something funny? So I wrote Michael, Michael, were you in Prague? He goes, No. Remember the videos I sent you of my son?
HANNITY: He was trying out for one of the professional baseball teams.
GIULIANI: This was so easy…
HANNITY: To verify.
GIULIANI: … to verify. It was such damaging information that you had an obligation to try to verify it before — no matter who it is, whether was Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or Donald Trump.
HANNITY: But I tweeted — I tweeted Ben Smith that night! I said, Ben, I called Michael Cohen. Took two seconds. Or I texted him, whatever I did. I got a confirmation. I’ve never been in Prague.
Neither Hannity nor Fox News has explained why it was acceptable for Hannity to cover Cohen without disclosing their purported attorney-client relationship.