Fox News host Sean Hannity — named as a client of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, by an attorney on Monday — devoted numerous segments on his primetime program last week to bashing the FBI raids on Cohen’s hotel and office.
Hannity, the network’s leading primetime anchor and a vocal supporter of the president, never disclosed on air his ties to Trump’s personal attorney, which were revealed in federal court in New York by Cohen’s own counsel Todd Harrison.
The Fox News personality nonetheless cited the raids on Cohen, carried out by the FBI through a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, to call for an end to the “witch hunt” investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump campaign officials.
On his radio show on Monday, Hannity denied that Cohen had ever represented him formally, while acknowledging that they engaged in what he described informal legal discussions that he believed would be preserved under attorney-client privilege.
“Michael never represented me in any matter. I never retained him,” Hannity told listeners roughly an hour after news of his entanglements with Cohen broke.
He later issued a statement on Cohen via Twitter: “I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third-party.”
Asked for comment, Fox News passed along Hannity’s remarks. A representative for the network did not respond to a request for further comment.
Hannity, one of the president’s most prominent backers in the conservative media, has taken an increasingly aggressive approach toward the Mueller inquiry. After the FBI seized documents from Cohen related to his $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, which she alleges was to keep quiet about an affair with Trump, Hannity took to the airwaves to blast the developments.
Here’s a look at some of his recent rebukes of the Cohen raid, the FBI and Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling.
After Cohen raid, Hannity says Mueller’s probe is ‘careening off the tracks’
In his opening monologue on the April 9 edition of “Hannity,” which airs weekdays in the coveted 9 p.m. time slot on Fox News, Hannity hammered the Cohen raid that morning, claiming it was proof that the Mueller investigation had strayed too far beyond its intended scope.
“President Trump’s long-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, just had his office, his home and his hotel that he was staying in raided by the FBI today in an early morning raid,” Hannity said near the top of his program. “Now, what that means is Mueller’s witch hunt investigation is now a runaway train that is clearly careening off the tracks.”
Hannity said the raid, achieved through a referral from Mueller’s team and authorized by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was tantamount to legal warfare.
“This is now officially an all-hands-on-deck effort to totally malign and, if possible, impeach the president of the United States,” the host said. “Now, Mueller and Rosenstein have declared what is a legal war on the president.”
The host issued a call for Mueller to either step up with “evidence of collusion” or “end this partisan investigation.”
Hannity calls Cohen raid ‘an unprecedented abuse of power’
As additional reports emerged detailing the scope of the FBI’s seizures from Cohen, which reportedly included documents pertaining to his communications with Trump, Hannity accused the media of “spinning out of control” in response to the story.
According to the Fox news host, Mueller had “basically backdoored his way” into all of Trump’s dealing with Cohen, exceeding his authority as special counsel.
“This an unprecedented abuse of power,” Hannity said on his program Tuesday. “It needs to be countered and countered immediately.”
He added: “Robert Mueller has officially gone rogue and declared war against the president.”
Hannity, who has echoed Trump’s anti-media rhetoric and his attacks on the Russia inquiry, accused the “destroy Trump media” of becoming “totally unhinged” over the Cohen raid. A chyron on his program dubbed the investigation “Muellergate.”
Hannity discusses Trump’s ‘attorney-client privilege’
Hannity on his Wednesday-night program hosted Alan Dershowitz — a Harvard law professor who recently dined with Trump — and Joe DiGenova, a former federal prosecutor, to discuss the raid on Cohen. DiGenova, who was reportedly under consideration to join Trump’s legal team, ripped the Mueller investigation during the appearance and called on Trump to fire Rosenstein.
During a discussion with the guests, Hannity said that the Trump ought to be shielded from the raids on Cohen because of his standing as a client.
“The person that has attorney-client privilege, that would be the president’s right to invoke, not Michael Cohen’s,” Hannity said.
Hannity: Mueller team ‘stretching the law’ to ‘squeeze’ Cohen
Hannity railed against “Mueller’s neverending with hunt” during Thursday’s edition of his primetime program, contending that that the federal investigators on the special counsel’s team were “no strangers to stretching the law in order to squeeze a suspect.”
The discussion was accompanied by an image of Cohen with a chyron reading “squeezing Cohen.”