Sean Hannity is not in a good place, and his opening monologue on his show last night was a spectacle in how not to take bad news.
In fact, Hannity was so rattled by the stunning conviction of Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was convicted of eight of charges, including five counts of tax fraud, and Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer who pleaded guilty to eight charges of bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations, that one gets the impression he knows the writing is on the wall.
In a lengthy screed directed against Robert Mueller with the words "No Collusion" in graphics behind him, Hannity claimed there were "lessons learned" about not committing bank fraud and paying your taxes. But he asked: "but do we need Robert Mueller for all of this?"
"This is it? Robert Mueller, are you proud of this?" he went on. "Did we need you for 500 days for this? How did we go from Russia collusion to this?"
In Hannity's world view, Trump associates are being persecuted by the Deep State and unfairly convicted of crimes no Democrat would be held accountable for.
“Cohen and Manafort ― literally prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for bank and tax frauds, etc.,” Hannity said, as if the crimes they committed were not really that serious.
The Trump cheerleader in chief then ran down a list of prominent liberals like Timothy Geithner, Al Sharpton, and even President Obama and who were not prosecuted for similar crimes (although in reality they weren't similar at all).
“In today’s two-tiered justice system, as a Democrat, clearly you can commit financial fraud and get away with it," said Hannity. "By the way, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
He then resorted to his default tactic of blaming Hillary Clinton for everything. Why did Manafort and Cohen go down? It was because the justice system is rigged and the Deep State works for Hillary Clinton! He raged at Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state under President Obama, saying she “destroyed classified information, which violates the espionage act.”
“And then you can delete subpoenaed emails, 33,000 of them and acid-wash your hard drive, and eliminate the evidence, and have your aide smash up your devices with hammers, and get away with it,” he went on.
(Of course, the FBI investigation into the Clinton email scandal went nowhere, with the agency concluding that "no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case," given the lack of evidence for any criminal wrong doing.)
Hannity's argument boils down to this: Manafort and Cohen committed criminal acts, but other people do it so they should not have been prosecuted. Also FBI should be spending all of its resources investigating Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump because, well, just because. And if they don't they must be corrupt and a part of the Deep State.
This actually passes for a news show on Fox -- a network so devoid of journalistic integrity that it should be forced to remove the words "News" from its brand. It is getting increasingly harder to defend Trump from his criminal wrong doings, and the people around him are falling like flies. So the lies and misdirection tactics get more extreme by the day, with Hannity and Fox News forging ahead creating new fantastical claims and promoting crazier and crazier conspiracy theories to protect the president.
This can't go on forever -- it really can't. The lies are getting too big, too insane, and too difficult to keep straight, so at some point this will all come crashing down. And with the conviction of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, one gets the impression that it is finally starting to happen. One also suspects that Sean Hannity is starting to understand that too.