Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday brushed off a bombshell New York Times report that President Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the Russia probe, calling it a distraction and calling into question the newspaper’s credibility.
“At this hour The New York Times is trying to distract you,” Hannity told his viewers.
According to four people with knowledge of the matter, Trump ordered Mueller to be fired in June because he said that Mueller had conflicts of interest in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump cited a dispute over fees at Trump’s National Golf Club in Virginia and Mueller’s previous employment at a law firm that represents Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, according to the Times.
McGahn disagreed with the president’s argument and told senior White House officials that firing Mueller “would have a catastrophic effect on Mr. Trump’s presidency,” according to the Times.
The Times reports that Mueller found out about Trump’s attempt to have him fired in recent months as his team of investigators has begun interviewing top current and former Trump officials.
“Our sources, and I’ve checked in with many of them, they’re not confirming that tonight. And the president’s attorney dismissed the story and says ‘nope, no comment, we’re not going there tonight,'” Hannity said.
Ty Cobb, a lawyer who serves as the liaison between the administration and Mueller’s team, declined to comment for the Times report.
Hannity also questioned the legitimacy of the newspaper’s report and overall credibility.
“How many times has The New York Times and others gotten it wrong?” he said.
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) January 26, 2018
Update: Just thirty minutes after denying the Times report, Hannity briefly acknowledged that the bombshell report was, in fact, true.