Sean Hannity wound up his Fox News Channel program tonight by continuing to insist that Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen is not his attorney too — contrary to what Michael Cohen’s attorney said in court earlier in the day.
“The moment you’ve been waiting for: When we come back, my reaction to all the Michael Cohen ‘hysteria’ in court today, as it relates to me,” the Hannity host crowed before his primetime program’s final ad break.
When he returned, he started right in: “All right, there’s been all kinds of wild speculation from mainstream media about me and President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, after my name was mentioned in court proceedings today.
By “mentioned in court proceedings,” Hannity meant that a federal judge today ordered Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to identify his third client — alongside the president and former RNC Deputy Finance Chair Elliott Broidy — and the name was one familiar to cable news watchers: Hannity. The Fox News Channel host had wanted to remain anonymous.
“Now, predictably, without knowing all — or any — of the facts, the media went absolutely insane,” Hannity said on his program. “Wall-to-wall, hour-to-hour coverage of yours truly,” he beamed, queuing up migraine-triggering clips of CNN and MSNBC talking heads saying “Sean Hannity.”
“Let me set record straight: Michael Cohen never represented me in any legal matter. I never retained his services. I never received an invoice,” Hannity insisted. “I never paid Michael Cohen for legal fees. I did have occasional brief conversations with Michael Cohen – he’s a great attorney – about legal questions I had or I was looking for input and perspective.”
Hannity insisted his discussions with Cohen never rose to any level that necessitated him telling anyone about the relationship. His viewers, for instance.
“To be absolutely clear: They never involved any matter – any matter! — between me, a third party, a third group. At all,” Hannity continued.
As he had maintained earlier in the day, Hannity said his questions to Cohen focused almost exclusively on real estate. “I said many times on my radio show, ‘I hate the stock market, I prefer real estate.’ Michael knows real estate,” Hannity explained.
“So in response to all the wild speculation, I want to set the record straight here tonight: I never asked Michael Cohen to bring this proceeding on my behalf. I have no personal interest in this legal matter. That’s all there is. Nothing more.”
When the news broke, Hannity tweeted that Cohen “has never represented me in any matter. 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.”
Also when the news broke, FNC news anchor Shepard Smith said on his show: “For us, the elephant in the room is that Sean Hannity is said to have been a third client of Michael Cohen. Hannity’s producers are working to contact him.” He added, “We’ll report on it when we know the rest of it.”
The FBI last week conducted a no-knock raid on Cohen’s office, apartment and hotel room, seizing documents, emails and more, including records of payment to porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election. Daniels claims she had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago. Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations, The Washington Post reported, citing an unnamed source.
Cohen’s legal team has been trying to seal evidence taken in the raids. At today’s hearing, Judge Kimba Wood challenged them to cite the legal reasons for refusing to name Cohen’s third client. Former Republican National Committee deputy finance chairman Broidy’s name surfaced earlier in the hearing as a second client of Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney who also is embroiled in the Stormy Daniels payoff scandal.