President Trump is a fan of Sean Hannity and of “Fox & Friends,” so when Hannity appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Monday, the president was super excited to see two of his favorites in action together.
The “great” combination did give Trump plenty of positive reinforcement, and he tweeted a short time after Hannity’s appearance that the special investigation of campaign interference by Russia is “a total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!”
Had Trump taken Hannity’s full comments to heart, however, he may not have tweeted anything.
“Maybe if I was advising the president,” Hannity said — as if such a relationship were hypothetical — “I’d say, ‘Let this investigation go forward.’ We’re probably coming to the end of it, if I had to render a guess. And it would be in his best interest, probably, not to comment.”
Hannity was discussing the president’s weekend tweets, which included a declaration on Saturday that “the Mueller probe should never have been started.”
Earlier on Saturday, Trump attorney John Dowd had called for the Justice Department to shut down the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, in a statement to the Daily Beast.
Dowd initially said he was speaking for the president “as his counsel,” but later backtracked and said he was merely expressing an opinion.
Trump’s tweet seemed to reverse Dowd’s attempt at separation. One way to read the president’s message is as an endorsement of his lawyer’s position.
Hannity insisted that “the media took it the wrong way.”
“The president didn’t say he was going to fire” Mueller, Hannity said. “This is all — this is the fake news media doing what they do best.”
Yet even Hannity suggested that it would have been wiser for Trump not to say anything at all. What Hannity left unsaid is the obvious rationale: To invite speculation about firing Mueller is to invite speculation about what Trump has to hide.
Earlier on “Fox & Friends,” host Brian Kilmeade made a similar argument. He theorized that a forthcoming report by the Justice Department’s inspector general will “make Hillary and her people look terrible.” For more than a year, the inspector general has been reviewing the FBI’s handling of an election-season investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
Fox News opinion hosts, like Trump, maintain that the Clinton email investigation was a sham. Kilmeade contended that the inspector general’s report will prove as much — and vindicate Trump.
“So if he could pull back and let this process come out, it would actually back up his story,” Kilmeade said. “But when he comes forward, he allows his enemies to use him as a distraction.”
Trump’s post-show tweet on Monday morning indicates that although he might have watched Hannity and “Fox & Friends,” he did not listen to everything they said.