On Friday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson released a 56-page document revealing thousands of text messages exchanged between Fox News host Sean Hannity and Paul Manafort, who refer to each other as friends and discuss the legal case against the former Trump campaign manager at all hours of the day.
The two texted extensively about the status and germination of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion. In many of his messages, Hannity encouraged Manafort and his lawyer to appear on his show, at one point offering to do the segment taped (rather than live)
Hannity also talked to Manafort about the pressure he was facing.
“I know and have great attorneys. That I now keep on retainer to help me and protect me,” Hannity said in an August 2017 text message. “I have a staff now just to fight back firing and boycotts.”
Hannity also told Manafort, “The left may win and get me fired at some point. But I don’t give a shit. I’ll get 2 Dixie cups and talk to myself.”
In February 2018, Hannity told Manafort, “An FBI friend swears I’m gonna get shot. Haha.”
In May of the same year, Manafort pleaded with Hannity to promote a GoFundMe drive to raise money for his legal defense fund. “Paul it may be problematic with Fox,” Hannity replied. “I need to get the ok. Hope u understand.”
Manafort spoke glowingly of Hannity and his primetime show. “In a fair world you would get a Pulitzer for your incredible reporting,” he told him. Hannity replied, “Lol. I’ll take these assholes going to jail.”
In January 2018, Manafort complimented Hannity’s program and said, “I love you…You are the best.”
Hannity and Manafort express concern about the direction of the country. Hannity repeatedly asks Manafort how he can “help” him and makes clear that he views the two to be aligned in their mission.
“Paul, like you, I don’t give a shit about me,” Hannity told Manafort in August 2017. “I do care about this amazing country that is sooo soo off [sic] course and experience unreal corruption. And I’m gonna fight for the country I love. And if they win so be it.”
Later in the conversation, Hannity talked more about his mission. “I made more this year than my mom, dad and all their brothers and sisters and my grandparents made combined in their lifetimes,” he said. “They fought for my ability to have a better life. What I’m supposed to now say, ‘I’m playing golf?’ I suck at golf. The beach? I’m bored in 5 minutes.”
Hannity responded to the release of the text messages on Friday on Twitter:
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.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) June 21, 2019