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.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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