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.”

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.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.