Fox News host Sean Hannity denied the State Department ever asked him to chill his attacks on former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during his show on Monday evening.
According to a transcript of Yovanovitch’s congressional testimony released Monday, the former U.S. ambassador alleged that she was aware of internal efforts at the State Department to attempt to get Hannity — a force in the conservative media world — to tone down his criticism of the U.S. diplomat.
“What I was told by Phil Reeker was that the Secretary or perhaps somebody around him was going to place a call to Mr. Hannity on Fox News to say, you know, what is going on? I mean, do you have proof of these kinds of allegations or not? And if you have proof, you know, telI me, and if not, stop,” Yovanovitch said, according to the transcript. “And I understand that that call was made. I don’t know whether it was the Secretary or somebody else in his inner circle. And for a time, you know, things kind of simmered down.”
At the time, Yovanovitch was being targeted by key Trump allies, including his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was in the throws of mounting a pressure campaign in Ukraine to get the government to investigate the Biden family. Giuliani and some of his associates were working to get Yovanovitch ousted from the State Department because she was in the way of their pressure efforts. In her testimony, Yovanovitch said she asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to publicly defend her, a request he repeatedly denied, according to another diplomat’s testimony.
Instead, as consolation, the State Department told Yovanovitch it would ask Hannity to tone down his rhetoric about her, she told congressional investigators. Hannity denied that ever happened.
“Let me dispel some fake news — oh, about me, that’s getting obsessively compulsively reported on fake news CNN and other outlets,” he said on his show Monday evening. “According to testimony from the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine under Obama that was a holdover, apparently I’m being accused of making some kind of allegations against the Ambassador and that Secretary Pompeo or someone from the State Department called me about it.”
“No, that never happened. That’d be fake news,” he continued. “The ambassador was barely ever mentioned on our show, we went back and looked. I don’t know anything about this woman, to be honest. Her name came up a few times on the show, she was an Obama holdover, I did ask one question about a news report if she was involved in something. It was a question, we do news here. I never talked to Secretary Pompeo about Ukraine, I never talked to anyone at the State Department about this ambassador. Sorry to burst your fake news bubble.”
Hannity says he doesn't know "anything" about Yovanovitch pic.twitter.com/BY0e1RhS9p
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) November 5, 2019