In clips of an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that were released this week, President Donald Trump admitted he may consider using foreign oppositional research (or dirt) on his political adversaries during the 2020 presidential campaign.
If a foreign leader had information on his Democratic presidential opponent, for example, Trump said he’d be willing to hear that person out — and that he wouldn’t necessarily contact the FBI after doing so, previous reporting from Really American indicated.
“I think you might want to listen, there’s nothing wrong with listening,” Trump said.
If someone called Trump and said, “‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it,” the president explained.
Outrage over the comments abounded on social media, as Trump basically admitted that he’d be willing to cooperate with a foreign nation to win an election — allegations of which essentially brought about the Mueller investigation to begin with.
But while many were frustrated or concerned with the president’s words, some on the right actually came to his defense — among them, Fox News talking head Sean Hannity.
Hannity: Trump’s foreign intel admission was a "jujitsu move" https://t.co/1PNbJ3Co5a
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) June 13, 2019
The longtime host of the conservative network tried to tell his viewers that listening wasn’t really that big of a deal. “You might want to listen,” Hannity said, per a report from The Daily Beast.
He then tried to spin the idea of listening by turning it into an attack against Democrats for activities he said they were engaged in — many that are the pipedreams of far-right conspiracy theorists.
“Listening is much different than, let’s see, lying, spying, and paying for Russian lies and spreading it through the media via Deep State operatives and using it as a basis for a FISA warrant,” Hannity said.
Hannity also suggested that Stephanopoulos’s interview itself was a setup meant to trap Trump into saying something that could generate outrage from left-leaning organizations.
“This will all get another round of fake, phony, moral selective outrage over that interview but it’s the perfect setup…In many ways, that was a genius setup because the media mob will fall right into his trap breathlessly spewing fake, phony outrage over a non-story for days,” Hannity explained.
Hannity has been criticized by media ethicists for having too close of a relationship with the president. Some in the White House refer to the Fox News host as the “shadow” chief of staff for Trump. Hannity also took flack for appearing onstage with the president during a midterm campaign rally, an action that members of the media tend to try and avoid in most circumstances.
Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.