Fox News host Sean Hannity addressed the controversy and public furor over his coverage of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory and announced that he would be changing how he treats the story in light of the Rich family’s wishes.
“The unsolved murder of former DNC staffer Seth Rich continues to get a huge amount of attention,” Hannity said at the beginning of his TV show Tuesday night. “Now I want to say something. I totally completely understand how upset, how hard this is on the family, especially over the recent coverage of Seth’s death.
“Now, I have been communicating with them,” he said, “I got a very heartfelt note, I also sent them a heartfelt note back. I reached out personally to Seth’s brother, Aaron. I expressed my condolence out over how hard, how difficult this has been for him and his family. And as I told Aaron, my heart, my soul, my prayers, everything, goes out to them in this very difficult time. I’m a father. I know, I personally, I don’t think I’d ever recover from losing a child, or a brother. I honestly don’t think I would. I cannot imagine the pain that they are in.
“And as a father when I saw the video of the parents online saying they want answers,” he continued, “and I know the brother, Aaron, started a GoFundMe page. It truly pained me. However, out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time.”
“Now let me, let me explain this,” Hannity said. “There are so many issues here, not the least of which is the Democratic push of their Russia narrative, collusion, Trump, Russia narrative, Trump, Russia narrative. There’s something clearly happening here. The destroy-Trump media, the Democrats, they have been pushing Russian tinfoil hat conspiracy theory with zero evidence.”
The Fox News host then used as evidence a portion of former CIA Director John Brennan’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Brennan told the committee:
I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. And it raised questions in my mind, again, whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.
I don’t know whether or not such collusion, that’s your term, such collusion existed, I don’t know. But I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding, with Russian officials.
Hannity went on to show more clips of Democrats and other officials admitting they had not seen evidence proving Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
“I want to say this to you,” he said, “my loyal audience, which is very important. Please do not interpret what I’m saying tonight to mean anything. Don’t read into this.
“I promise you I am not doing, going to stop doing my job,” Hannity said. “To the extent of my ability, I am not going to stop trying to find the truth. That’s what we do here every single day. That effort is not stopping in any way, shape, matter, or form. I am continuing the work that I promised to do every day for you and at the proper time, we shall continue and talk a lot more.
“As for my job here at the Fox News Channel,” he explained, “there is an effort now about to silence to me. Media Matters is attacking my, my advertising base. That is what we have called on this program liberal fascism, attack, boycott, all in an effort to silence conservatives.
“I serve at the pleasure of the Fox News Channel, and I am here to do my job every night,” he concluded, “I’m under contract, as long as they seem to want me.”
The Rich family sent Hannity a letter Tuesday asking that he stop discussing the conspiracy theory that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had ordered their son to be murdered in order to keep him from leaking more private emails to WikiLeaks. Fox News also retracted its reporting on the story, saying it was not up to their editorial standards.
Hannity was very defiant on his radio show Tuesday, yelling firmly, “I retracted nothing!” and continued his tirade on his Twitter account.
IMPORTANT! Mediamatters is trying to silence me, get me fired, pressure my advertising on radio & TV. Liberal Fascism. I need your help!!
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 23, 2017
Huge announcement tonight about Seth Rich, Trump/Russian Collusion corrupt media, the liberal effort to silence me. And my future at Fox!
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 23, 2017
But he appeared to change his tune Tuesday evening, saying that he would no longer speak about the case, for now.
Ok TO BE CLEAR, I am closer to the TRUTH than ever. Not only am I not stopping, I am working harder. Updates when available. Stay tuned!
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 24, 2017