Newly released text messages between former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Fox News host Sean Hannity reveal a relationship that appears to thrive on self-pity, conspiracies and unearned praise.
Hundreds of messages that were sent between the two in 2017 and 2018 were unsealed during Manafort’s federal court case in Washington on Friday. Though Hannity’s name is redacted in some parts, he calls himself Sean and refers to working for Fox. In other parts, Hannity’s name is left unredacted. The Fox host stood by his comments in a tweet.
In the exchanges, the two complain about an investigation into Manafort that would ultimately lead to him being convicted earlier this year of crimes including conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to obstruct justice, bank fraud and tax fraud. He is currently serving seven and a half years in prison.
“Don’t let those assholes get u down,” Hannity texted Manafort in October 2017. “Punch back HARD.”
In a later text, Hannity painted himself as a martyr fighting for his country no matter the consequences.
“There has never been a time 30 years radio 22 on Fox where I felt a bullseye at my head every single day,” Hannity texted. “It’s an attempted kill shot a day. And Paul, like u, I don’t give a shit about me.”
In another, Manafort vented about his continued court battle.
“Hey You Ok?” Hannity texted.
“Yes. Rough day but yes,” Manafort responded. “Their case is totally BS. Wrong on law and wrong on facts.”
Their conversations also touched on false conspiracy theories that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was being tainted by powerful Democratic figures.
“In a fair world you would get a Pulitzer for your incredible reporting,” Manafort told Hannity.
But mostly, the conversations were a pity party for both men convinced of a vast conspiracy to take them down.
“Mueller is a gestapo ops that is trampling on all our constitutional rights,” Manafort wrote to Hannity in April 2018. “You are truly a key part from saving America from this Fascist attack on our constitutional rights!”
In a 2017 text, Hannity assured Manafort he was praying for him.
“Please know you are in my prayers,” Hannity wrote.
“Thank you. I need them,” Manafort responded. “I feel so violated.”