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.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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