Manafort Flattered While Hannity Raged: Text Messages Unsealed

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-21/manafort-flattered-while-hannity-raged-text-messages-unsealed

Paul Manafort walks out of court in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6, 2017. 

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Paul Manafort’s fawning text messages with Sean Hannity were made public by the federal judge who sentenced President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman to prison, revealing often bitter exchanges about Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton and the “deep state.”

The messages underscore the close contacts that Hannity, a popular Fox News personality, has had with central players around President Donald Trump. Hannity reportedly has regular conversations with Trump, and was also a client of the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Hannity, it turns out, also corresponded regularly with Manafort as he awaited trial on charges for which he was ultimately sentenced to 7 1/2 years in federal prison.

“Great show tonight,” Manafort wrote to Hannity in one exchange. “You are so important to saving our country.”

“Hillary belongs in jail,” Hannity replied. “Witch hunt.”

In another exchange, Manafort called Hannity’s show “powerful,” adding that it helps “keep my hope and sanity.”

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The text messages — spanning much of 2017 and 2018, while Manafort was under indictment — were part of a sealed government exhibit provided to the court prior to Manafort’s sentencing to prove he’d engaged in witness tampering. The judge ordered the exhibit unsealed Friday.

“Time to say F u and go to war,” Hannity said after a unwelcome development.

“Yes,” Manafort replied.

“That’s what will happen now,” Hannity said. “Then they will get Jared. And try to make Potus explode. Maximum damage to country. Deep state wins”

Manafort also asked Hannity to help promote his GoFundMe for his legal defense, a request that Hannity said could be problematic for Fox.

The men also slammed former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, agreeing he was “worthless.”

Both expressed sympathy for Cohen, who was also investigated and imprisoned after being swept up in Mueller’s probe.

“Michael is a total mess,” Hannity said.

“This is tough stuff they are doing to us,” Manafort replied. “I know exactly what he is going through.”

Hannity said in a Twitter post that his “view of the Special Counsel investigation and the treatment of Paul Manafort were made clear every day to anyone who listens to my radio show or watches my TV show.” Fox News referred to Hannity’s tweet when Bloomberg sought comment.

(Adds comments from Hannity and Fox News in last paragraph.)

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