Furious Trump ‘Snapped’ at Hannity, Threatens to ‘Bench’ Giuliani – WH Spinning Out of Control
So much for Trump loving Fox News and Hannity
Last Wednesday newly appointed Trump legal team member Rudy Giuliani sat down with Fox News host Sean Hannity to talk about the state of the Trump Administration. The two went over many political talking points, from the Mueller Investigation to North Korea, which readers can view thanks to an annotated transcript provided by The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips and Callum Borchers.
While the news media focused on Giuliani’s disclosure that President Trump had, in fact, reimbursed Michael Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels (and therefore knew about it, contrary to his claims) President Trump was reportedly angry about something else that was said in the interview.
In a piece from the Associated Press’s Jonathan Lemire, sources close to the Oval Office have divulged that Trump is getting angry with Giuliani’s television interviews, and “snapped” at both Giuliani, and Hannity in recent days. By bringing greater attention to the Daniels and Cohen situation, he is seen as “generating more legal and political trouble for the White House.” And Trump reportedly told a confidant that perhaps Giuliani should “be benched” if his performance didn’t improve.
However, what got Trump particularly upset was Hannity’s use of the word “funneled”, and Giuliani’s acknowledgement of the validity of the term in this case, to describe Cohen’s hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, due to the illegal (and according to Giuliani, accurate) context of the term. The transcript shows the specific section of the interview as the following:
GIULIANI: Having something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman $130,000, I mean, which is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation. So —
HANNITY: They funneled it through a law firm.
GIULIANI: Funneled it through a law firm and the president repaid it.
As The Hill’s Brett Samuels pointed out, though, the two were using the word “funneled” in entirely different circumstances. When Hannity was talking about the law firm, he was referencing a previous point he had made about the Clinton campaign and DNC funneling money to get the Christopher Steele dossier that was ultimately published by BuzzFeed.
While the two later corrected themselves, it looks like President Trump didn’t catch the contextual difference. Nor did Hannity seem to understand the difference between “funneling” funds through a law firm for a perfectly legal private investigation, and the major crime of doing so for money laundering purposes, much less to cover up an illegal hush payment, or political campaign contribution. Though, as a former prosecutor, Giuliani certainly did.
Regardless, it appears that Giuliani will be banned from doing future television interviews until he is properly debriefed on how to best represent the President in the media. The restrictions bear a striking resemblance to reports from November 2016 that Trump had been barred from using his Twitter account by his staff until after the election was over, so as to not risk hurting his chances of winning.
Shake-ups in the Trump Administration are expected at this point, but considering the close relationship Trump has had with not only Giuliani but Hannity as well, it is interesting to see the issue of Cohen and Stormy Daniels drive a wedge between them.
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