Sean Hannity Has Said A Lot About His Secret Lawyer Michael Cohen

Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

After Fox News host Sean Hannity was revealed in court Monday to be a client of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, attention turned to Hannity’s past comments about the raid last week on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.

“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees,” Hannity said in a statement to TPM provided by Fox News. “I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third party.”

“It is very strange to watch my own television network having my name up as the lower third, in terms of it being a story,” Hannity said on his radio show after the news broke. “There is a part of me that really wants to build this up into something massive and make the media goes nuts. I had no idea all these media people liked me so much, and now they have to listen to the program.”

“I actually think it’s pretty funny,” he added. He told the Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Ballhaus: “We have been friends a long time. I have sought legal advice from Michael.”

It’s not yet clear when Cohen began representing Hannity. The Fox News host was characterized by Cohen’s lawyers, along with two others, as a client of Cohen’s between 2017 and 2018. But in TPM’s review of interviews between the two, and of Hannity’s discussions of news relating to Cohen, the Fox News host has never made a disclosure about the attorney-client relationship.

Last week, the day of the Cohen raids, Hannity spoke on his radio show about Cohen’s hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she once had an affair with Trump.

I do remember Michael saying it publicly and saying to me at the time that, in fact, he never told the President about this, that it was something that he had a pretty wide discretion on his own to handle matters without bringing it to his attention, and it might seem unusual for most people but if you’re a billionaire, I guess it’s not,” Hannity said.

On his television show the same day, Hannity said: “Cohen was never part of the Trump administration or the Trump campaign.” (That’s not true. Cohen frequently acted as a television surrogate for Trump.) 

Hannity added: “This is now officially an all-hands-on-deck effort to totally malign and, if possible, impeach the president of the United States.”

“A source close to President Trump tonight is telling Fox News that Mueller’s investigation is way out of control,” he said, without naming his source.

On Aug. 10, 2015, two months after Trump announced his candidacy, Cohen made a quadruply-conflicted announcement in an interview with Hannity on Fox News. The squabble Trump cultivated with then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, Cohen said, “is now over.”

“Mr. Trump has been assured by Roger Ailes that he is going to be treated fairly and equally,” Cohen told Hannity, referring to the Fox News chief. Media Matters flagged the comment, and several others cited in this article.

In January 2016, Cohen was a guest on Hannity’s show. “I guess you could argue that Bill Cosby probably helped women in their career,” Hannity said, at the end of a discussion about the allegations of assault against former President Bill Clinton.

“I’m sure he did,” Cohen responded. “One had a pill that knocked them out, the other one had the power. Right?” 

A year later, on Jan. 11, Hannity interviewed Cohen about the Steele dossier, which BuzzFeed had then published for the first time, and said that despite the dossier’s assertions, “Michael Cohen has never been to Prague.” (Late last week, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, McClatchy reported that Cohen did in fact that make that trip.) Cohen had sued BuzzFeed and FusionGPS for defamation over the release on Jan. 10.

“Who would have ever thought that there could be two Michael Cohens in this world,” Cohen joked, stone-faced. “Impossible.”

“One of my best friends growing up, Michael Cohen,” Hannity responded. “And you’re one of my better friends in life. I’ve known you for a long time.”

“You were in Los Angeles. Now, I have to give a little insight here,” Hannity told Cohen later in the interview.

“You know I was in Los Angeles because—” Cohen interjected.

“You sent me a video,” Hannity said.

Since 2015, Hannity has mentioned Cohen eight times on his Twitter account:

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: