Criminal charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn should be dropped, according to Fox News host Sean Hannity.
In his monologue after the public disclosure of the controversial House Intelligence Committee memo, Hannity once again took a swipe at special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. He said Mueller’s probe “is and has been a witch hunt from the very beginning.”
"If we, as a country, if we care about the Constitution, if we believe in civil liberties, if we believe in those protections, then the special counsel must be disbanded immediately," Hannity said on Friday.
"And by the way — nobody else will say this — all charges against Paul Manafort and Gen. Michael Flynn need to be dropped," he added. "It's that simple."
Mueller unsealed the charges against Manafort, including, conspiracy, tax evasion, and money laundering last fall, and Manafort has pleaded not guilty.
Flynn pleaded guilty in federal court in December for lying to the FBI in January 2017 about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn was charged on one count of “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI about communications exchanged with a Russian envoy shortly after Trump took office.
Hannity’s remarks come after the memo outlining alleged surveillance violations by the U.S. government was released on Friday. The memo provided details about how Justice Department and FBI officials used information from a dossier authored by former British spy Christopher Steele to obtain and renew a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The dossier was part of opposition research partly funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. But according to the Republican memo, the FBI and Justice Department did not disclose that information when attempting to renew the warrant.
Democrats have pushed back on this point and have created their own rebuttal memo, which reportedly asserts that the FBI told the surveillance court, when seeking renewal of the surveillance authorization, that the agency was no longer in communication with Steele because he was discussing the investigation with reporters, according to the New York Times.
The Democrat’s memo has yet to be released to the public, though Nunes said he was open to bringing it to a vote in his committee. Democrats have said the Republican document was a “shameful effort” to undermine the Justice Department and Mueller’s probe.