Last night on his show on Fox News, Sean Hannity suggested that witnesses in the Russia probe respond to special counsel Robert Mueller’s request for them to turn over their phones for evaluation by destroying them. He gave that advice three separate times, twice in his Opening Monologue and once while speaking with Gregg Jarrett later in the show. The third time he clarified, “not really, kidding, bad advice” after offering the on-air suggestion to witnesses.
In his Opening Monologue, Hannity poses the question,”Um, are these witnesses going to be allowed to follow the Clinton model? Are they going to be allowed to delete , bleach bit, remove the sim cards and bust ’em up with hammers? Eh, interesting thought. I doubt it.” That portion can be found at the 1:00 mark in the video.
Later in the monologue, at the 5:05 mark, Hannity gives the advice again.
“Maybe Mueller’s witnesses, I don’t know… If I advised them to follow Hillary Clinton’s lead, delete all your emails and then acid-wash the emails and hard drives on the phones, then take your phones and bash them with a hammer to little itsy bitsy pieces, use BleachBit, remove the sim cards and then take the pieces and hand them over to Robert Mueller, and say, Hillary Rodham Clinton, this is equal justice under the law.”
At the 32:20 mark, Hannity gives the advice for the third time while speaking to Gregg Jarrett. “Mueller wants everyone’s cellphones. My advice to them, not really, kidding, bad advice, would be, follow Hillary’s lead. Delete them, acid wash them, bust them up, take out the SIM cards and say here Mr. Mueller, here, I’m following Hillary’s lead.”
Sean’s comments come after the revelation that Robert Mueller has asked witnesses hand over their phones, CNBC reports.
Special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team is requesting that witnesses turn in their personal phones to inspect their encrypted messaging programs and potentially view conversations between associates linked to President Donald Trump, sources told CNBC.
Since as early as April, Mueller’s team has been asking witnesses in the Russia probe to turn over phones for agents to examine private conversations on WhatsApp, Confide, Signal and Dust, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Fearing a subpoena, the witnesses have complied with the request and have given over their phones, the sources said.
While it’s unclear what Mueller has discovered, if anything, through this new request, investigators seem to be convinced that the apps could be a key to exposing conversations that weren’t previously disclosed to them.
The report of Mueller requesting witnesses’ phones came after Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign manager, was accused in a court filing on Monday of attempting to tamper with witnesses and “suborn perjury” via encryption apps. Manafort has already been indicted on a range of charges and faces 305 years in prison. He has been on house arrest since October. His first trial is scheduled to start in Virginia in July, but he will now face US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a D.C. courtroom on June 15, where she will determine his immediate fate after Mueller’s team contends he violated the conditions of his bond agreement. It is possible that Manafort will be placed in jail until his trials.
Why It Matters
Even if Hillary Clinton sent every American a Christmas card with a photograph of her literally destroying evidence, witnesses in the Russia investigation would not excused from following the law.
Sean Hannity, as an individual who has the ear of the president and who is a client of Michael Cohen, is either being foolishly disingenuous or is himself attempting to tamper with witnesses and obstruct justice. No amount of wrongdoing by members of one political party can ever excuse wrongdoing by members of the other political party. If Sean is concerned that Hillary has not been brought to justice, he should mention it in one of his late night phone calls with the President who has the authority to ask his Justice Department to investigate Hillary.
Regardless of what happens to Hillary, witnesses would be well advised to ignore Hannity’s advice and continue to cooperate fully and completely with the special counsel’s investigation.