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Sean Hannity revealed as Trump lawyer’s secret client: What the media is saying

April 17, 2018 GMT

Sean Hannity revealed as Trump lawyer’s secret client: What the media is saying

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The revelation that Fox News host Sean Hannity is the mystery third client of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has dominated the talk on cable news since it came out in federal court on Monday.

Hannity and Fox News are being criticized for not disclosing the host’s ties to the lawyer even as Hannity used his show to rip the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller for the raid on Cohen’s office and home last week.

But as the news broke, the conservative talk show host and occasional adviser to the president was quick to downplay the relationship.

“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees,” he wrote on Twitter. “I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.”

Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 16, 2018

Hannity reiterated that on his show last night, where he was even called out by one of his own guests.

“My discussions with Michael Cohen rose to any level that I needed to tell anyone that I was asking him questions,” he said. “They never involved any matter between me or a third party at all. My questions almost exclusively focused on real estate.”

His rivals on competing networks and the late-night hosts, however, weren’t buying it.

“I still am struggling not to laugh. This has been a very weird day in the news,” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said during her show, which airs opposite Hannity. “One of the anchors at the major pro-Trump news network has had an undisclosed relationship with the president’s lawyer all this time, while Fox has not told that to its audience and while Mr. Hannity and Mr. Cohen have apparently spent considerable effort trying to keep that relationship secret. What? That’s just lurid.”

Over on CNN, Anderson Cooper chided Fox News for staying quiet.

“Not disclosing a business or legal relationship with someone you report on and had on as your guest at least 16 times since Donald Trump declared his presidency, that doesn’t sound either fair nor balanced,” he said.

On late-night TV, the situation made for a few laughs

“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert also questioned Hannity’s dealings with Trump’s lawyer. “Cohen only has two other clients and all he does for them is pay off mistresses, which raises the obvious question, who did Sean Hannity have sex with?” he said on CBS.

Michael Cohen only has two other clients and all he does for them is pay off mistresses. Which raises the obvious question: Who did Sean Hannity have sex with? I think it’s that football. #LSSC pic.twitter.com/5VZpHbSzTE— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) April 17, 2018

Cohen, of course, arranged a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump. His other client is RNC official Elliot Broidy, on whose behalf he negotiated a $1.6 million settlement to a former Playboy model Broidy had an affair with. 

Over on ABC, Jimmy Kimmel asked, “What kind of legal advice doesn’t involve a third party, unless maybe Sean Hannity was thinking about suing himself?”

Jimmy Kimmel mocks ‘my pal’ Sean Hannity over Trump lawyer bombshell https://t.co/SOlra4MTla pic.twitter.com/1OMRVBDJEq— CNN (@CNN) April 17, 2018

On Comedy Central, “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah said Hannity’s actions are shady, even for him. “Even Instagram models have higher ethical standards. They’ll be like ‘drink tummy tea, by the way, I’m sponsored by tummy tea,’” he joked.

Tonight at 11/10c, Seaaaaan Hannityyyy!!! pic.twitter.com/GZ9lXQ5yQN— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) April 17, 2018

Fox News has not commented on the matter.