What happens when a joke is taken seriously? Twitter, usually.
Sean Hannity, according to people on social media, spent some time on his Fox News show telling witnesses in the Mueller investigation to destroy evidence. Specifically, he said things like “bash your phones” and “use bleach bit.” People freaked out about it, like this person from Media Matters, an organization well known for their reasonable reactions to things done and said on Fox News.
Hey remember when Assange DM'd Hannity asking him to reach out on an encrypted app?
Tonight Hannity is freaking out about Mueller searching encrypted apps and "advised" all Mueller witnesses to "bash" their phones "into itsy bitsy pieces" pic.twitter.com/cZhaUqVNQk
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) June 7, 2018
Here’s a bit of the transcript, via Mediaite.
In an opening monologue on the Mueller “witch hunt,” the Fox News host noted investigators in the probe are “demanding that witnesses turn in their phones.”
“He wants the phones turned over,” Hannity said. “Even texts that are on what are called encrypted apps, like Whatsapp or Signal.”
Hannity then recalled Clinton’s efforts to destroy her cell phones and erase her emails during the investigation into her private email server.
“Maybe Mueller’s witnesses, I don’t know, if I advised them to follow Hillary Clinton’s lead,” Hannity opined. “Delete all your emails, and then acid wash the emails and hard drives on your phones, then take your phones and bash them with a hammer into little itsy bitsy pieces, use BleachBit, remove the sim cards.”
“And then take the pieces and hand it over to Robert Mueller and say, ‘Hillary Rodham Clinton, this is equal justice under the law,’” he added.
The context here, which I will note is available in Lawrence’s tweet, is pretty clear. Hannity is clearly making a joke. Did it land? Eh, up for debate. But it’s rabid, anti-Hannity foolishness that would lead anyone to believe he was actually being serious here.
There’s no scandal here, and there is no attempt by Hannity to coerce witnesses into destroying evidence. That is a very silly claim meant to stir people up. Even some folks on the Right seem to have fallen for it, and that’s a shame.