U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman released 56 pages of text messages exchanged between Fox News’ Sean Hannity and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort which date from 2017 to 2018.
When asked for a comment on the release of these messages, Hannity replied, “My view of the special counsel investigation and the treatment of Paul Manafort were made clear every day to anyone who listens to my radio show or watches my TV show.”
(Note: The complete set of texts can be viewed here.)
What stands out is the close friendship which developed between the two. They communicated frequently and Hannity was very supportive of Manafort.
Manafort believes (correctly) he has been targeted by Mueller to get information about Trump. In August 2017, Manafort wrote, “The media is trying to split me with DT and family by lies and untruths. It is such a dirty game.”
Hannity texted, “I pray that God give you grace and peace in this difficult moment. If you just ever want to talk, grab dinner, vent, strategize– whatever, I am here, I know this is very hard. Stand tall and strong.”
Soon afterward, Hannity tells his friend, “Look. U call me if u get down. Need a friend. If I can help. Anytime day/night. I’m praying for u and u family. U stay strong.”
They discuss Hannity’s program and he often invites Manafort to appear on the show even though the court had placed him under a gag order.
In October 2017, Hannity wrote, “I’m sick of these lies. COME ON WITH ME WITH YOUR ATTY BEFORE THEY TRY AND ATTACK U MORE.”
The messages indicate that Hannity and Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing spoke on the phone. Regarding their conversation, Hannity wrote, “I asked him to feed me everyday.”
Manafort never did appear on the show.
In another exchange, Manafort asks Hannity “to tweet a link to a GoFundMe defense fund.”
Hannity writes, “Paul it may be problematic with Fox. I need to get the ok. Hope u understand.”
In January 2018, Hannity asked Manafort if he had been watching his show. Manafort replied that he had been and said, “I love you.”
Later that month, Manafort told Hannity, “In a fair world you would get a Pulitzer for your incredible reporting.”
Hannity replies, “Lol. I’ll take those assholes going to jail.”
Most of what Hannity writes to Manafort, we’ve heard him say repeatedly on the air. “HRC. E-mails. Obstruction. Destroying emails, bleach bit, devices no sim cards. Uranium one. Ukraine interference. Intel Leaks Unmasking Potus conversations leaked. My God. Shredding the constitution. A 2 tiered justice system. Look at Muellers team. All Clinton Obama dem donors. No R’s.”
There are documents attached to some of the texts, however, the files aren’t accessible.
All in all, there is nothing particularly newsworthy about their messages and it’s difficult to see why they were even released.
Last week, Manafort was transferred to a federal prison in NYC where he will await state charges. “Manafort has been sentenced to a total of seven-and-a-half years in prison, between his sentencing for conspiring to defraud the federal government and tamper with witnesses, and his sentencing on tax and bank fraud charges.”
“In the state case, Manafort was indicted in New York in March on a raft of charges, including residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy, and other counts that allege that Manafort and others falsified business records to illegally obtain millions of dollars. If convicted of all charges, Manafort could face up to 25 years in prison.”