Fox News Hosts Have No Idea How to Handle Report That Trump Tried to Fire Mueller

What to do when your own network confirms a report you don’t like?

Sean Hannity wasted no time Thursday night, attacking a New York Times report alleging President Donald Trump unsuccessfully tried to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last June. The Fox News host and frequent skeptic of the ongoing Russia investigation called the explosive revelation a mere “distraction.”

“Our sources—and I’ve checked with many of them—they’re not confirming that tonight,” Hannity said, about an hour after the story broke.

“How many times has the New York Times and others gotten it wrong?” he continued.

Hannity’s claims against the story, however, were dismantled after he was forced to admit on-air that Fox News’ own Ed Henry had separately confirmed the Times‘ reporting. “So we have sources tonight just confirming that yeah, maybe Donald Trump wanted to fire the special counsel for a conflict,” Hannity said less than an hour after initially undermining the allegations.

“Does he not have the right to raise those questions?” he argued, before swiftly cutting to footage of a random police chase.

He then followed up with a tweet attempting to provide cover for his reversal, but still bashing the “liberal media sheep.”

https://twitter.com/seanhannity/status/956750878983114754

A similar narrative carried through the morning at Fox News. “Fox & Friends,” a show that frequently provides the inspiration for Trump’s morning tweets, tried to ignore its own network’s confirmation that Trump did seek to fire Mueller from the Russia probe. The hosts instead parroted Trump’s denial of the report on Friday as “fake news.”

After addressing the report, co-host Ainsley Earhardt took a cue from Hannity’s performance the night before, and quickly pivoted to immigration.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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