Hannity denies discussing alleged efforts by conservative outlets to smear ambassador with Pompeo

“I don’t know anything about this woman, to be honest,” Hannity says of former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published November 5, 2019 6:49PM (EST)


Fox News host Sean Hannity denied ever speaking with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about alleged efforts by conservative news outlets to smear a former American ambassador to Ukraine perceived as unsympathetic to the goal of soliciting dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

Claiming that he had been in contact with Pompeo, Hannity decried the diplomat’s testimony as "fake news,” which had been “obsessively, compulsively reported on fake news CNN and other outlets.” 

“The ambassador was barely ever mentioned on our show,” Hannity said Monday evening on his primetime program. “We went back and looked. I don’t know anything about this woman, to be honest. Her name came up a few times on the show. She was an Obama holdover. I did ask one question about a news report — if she was involved in something. It was a question. We do news here.”

He repeated, “I never talked to Secretary Pompeo about Ukraine. I never talked to anyone at the State Department about this ambassador. Sorry to burst your fake news bubble.”

Hannity then insisted that the real story was the “obvious Biden family corruption” in Ukraine.

The Fox News host expressed similar thoughts on Twitter on Monday, writing: “Breaking fake news! Never ever talked to Secy Pompeo about Ukraine PERIOD! Fake News CNN trying to boost their ratings by showing me. Biased Zucker needs to start paying me.”

In the transcript of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony before Congress last month, the former State Department official was asked whether Pompeo had made any attempts to defend her as she was being attacked by the president’s layer, Rudy Giuliani, and his son, Don Jr.

“What I was told by Phil Reeker was that the secretary or perhaps somebody around him was going to place a call to Mr. Hannity on Fox News to say, ‘You know, what is going on? I mean, do you have proof of these kinds of allegations or not? And if you have proof, you know, telI me, and if not, stop,’” Yovanovitch told Congress.

She added, “And I understand that that call was made. I don't know whether it was the secretary or somebody else in his inner circle. And for a time, you know, things kind of simmered down.”

Despite Hannity insisting otherwise, there is no evidence that Biden committed any wrongdoing in his dealings with Ukraine. Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin was removed from power because groups such as the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the Obama administration government felt he was not doing enough to root out corruption in the country.

A whistleblower complaint alleging that Trump had attempted to solicit Ukraine to provide him with dirt on Biden in exchange for military aid triggered an impeachment inquiry.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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