It’s a tough competition between Sean Hannity and the Fox & Friends bros for the unofficial title of “Donald Trump’s most eagerly servile golf caddy,” but the former is really serious about it:
Paul Manafort said he used Fox News host Sean Hannity to receive backchannel messages from President Donald Trump while prosecutors investigated him for financial crimes, according to newly released memos from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Among the several hundred pages of memos published by BuzzFeed News on Thursday, which contain summaries of FBI interviews with key Trump administration and campaign officials, the Fox News anchor’s alleged role as an unofficial messenger between the president and his former campaign chairman comes into sharp focus.
According to the release, Manafort did not speak to Trump or anyone closely associated with the president or his legal team besides Hannity around the time that The New York Times and other outlets reported on a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner and a lawyer linked to the Kremlin. Manafort described Hannity as a close friend and “certainly a backchannel” to Trump, saying that he understood Hannity was in communication with the president.
“Manafort knew Hannity was speaking to Trump because Hannity would tell Manafort to hang in there, that he had been talking to Trump, that Trump had his back, and things like that,” the memos said. “Manafort understood his conversations with Hannity to be a message from Trump.”
Fox News is not a journalistic enterprise and should not be treated as such by anyone outside of its epistemic bubble.