In an 11-minute monologue that bordered on the conspiratorial, Fox News host Sean Hannity dove into the many entanglements of the "obvious deep state crime families trying to take down" President Donald Trump.
The rant, which required some serious mental gymnastics, opened with Hannity railing against "disgraced" former FBI Director James Comey and his upcoming new book, which became a No. 1 bestseller before it even hit the shelves.
Hannity accused Comey for what he said was his self-aggrandizing agenda and said the inspiration for his monologue was actually from an upcoming Comey interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, whom Hannity deemed a "Clinton sycophant."
In a preview of the interview, Stephanopoulos asked Comey, "How strange is it for you to sit here and compare the president to a mob boss."
The comparison sent Hannity into an outrage. "Really, a mob boss? Let's think about this, of all the people . . . shouldn't James Comey know better than to make an outrageous comparison like that?"
Hannity decided to implement what he dubbed the "Comey standard."
"If he’s going to use a sweeping analogy I’ve decided tonight we’re going to use the Comey standard — and make some comparisons of our own," Hannity said.
Up first and complete with mafia investigation style diagrams, Hannity explained, was "a family responsible for actual crimes. We'll call it the head of the notorious political cabal" Bill and Hillary Clinton, otherwise known as the "Clinton crime family."
Hannity went on and brought up that former President Bill Clinton had been accused of "severe sexual misconduct, harassment, even rape by Juanita Broaddrick."
"Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, we know she committed crimes, she should've been charged if we have equal justice under the law," Hannity claimed. "She mishandled national secrets on that illicit private server, obstructed justice, destroyed evidence and Clinton wasn't alone in covering up her misdeeds."
In the so-called crime family were Clinton's ties to her aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin. Also included was "sketchy" former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, former MI6 spy Christopher Steele, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and, of course, the Uranium One "scandal."
Hannity eventually targeted Special Counsel Robert Mueller and moved on to the "Mueller crime family." Hannity called the investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia a "witch hunt."
"During Mueller's time as a federal prosecutor in Boston, four — four men wrongfully imprisoned for decades — framed by an FBI informant," Hannity ranted. He accused Mueller's office of having "looked the other way" on the crimes of infamous American gangster Whitey Bulger.
Lastly, Hannity informed his viewers of the "Comey crime family," in which he claimed "we all know about the special treatment that Hillary Clinton received" from the FBI. He tied Comey to Lynch, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Steele.
He also called former CIA Director John Brennan a "Deep State sycophant" and claimed he leaked details of the Steele dossier to former senator Harry Reid.
"Knowing what we now know . . . aren't you glad Trump fired Comey?" Hannity asked. "This is clearly a guy [Comey] who his own self-aggrandizing arrogant agenda who himself should be under investigation, who lied to Trump, mishandled the FISA court system, maybe even lied to the FISA court judges — we'll find out, leaked privileged government documents, failed to apply the law equally, which should be everybody's concern."
He added, "And Comey is now set to make millions of dollars" from his book tour, "all while trashing the president the whole way."
Hannity's broadcast by itself would have been noteworthy — but it was hyped by one very important person with whom Hannity has admitted to having a close relationship: President Trump, who likely knew what the story was going to be before Hannity went on the air.
But it's not just Trump's favorite primetime Fox News that's helping beat the drum against Mueller and any potential Trump campaign ties to Russia. Even his former ally and chief strategist Steve Bannon has been pitching his own ideas about how Trump should derail the special counsel investigation, "West Wing aides and congressional allies," according to The Washington Post.
First and foremost, Bannon said the president should immediately fire Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller's investigation. Rosenstein has been in Trump's crosshairs in recent days, after he signed off on the FBI raid of Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen.
But Bannon's advice to people in and out of the White House didn't stop there.
The Post elaborated:
Bannon is also recommending the White House cease its cooperation with Mueller, reversing the policy of Trump’s legal team to provide information to the special counsel’s team and to allow staff members to sit for interviews.
And he is telling associates inside and outside the administration that the president should create a new legal battleground to protect himself from the investigation by asserting executive privilege — and arguing that Mueller’s interviews with White House officials over the past year should now be null and void.
But Trump is still quite unhappy with Bannon, so much so that "if you say his name in front of the president, it’s not a pretty sight," a senior administration official told the Post. It's not clear that the president would take his advice.
It has all boiled down to the fact that the Mueller investigation has become divisive and largely partisan. Trump has surrounded himself in an echo chamber with those who have utmost loyalty to him and have only seemed to further provoke him into taking action against Mueller, which many have warned would initiate a constitutional crisis.