Moments after news broke late Tuesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller agreed to testify before Congress next month in an open session, Fox News host Sean Hannity claimed the testimony was nothing short of harassment of the President of the United States.
In a joint statement on Tuesday night, the House Intelligence and House Judiciary Committees announced that Mueller would publicly testify before the House on July 17. The two committees issued a subpoena to compel Mueller’s testimony, marking the first time anyone from the special counsel’s office will have appeared before Congress to discuss the Russia investigation.
The pro-Trump Hannity, who has spent more than two years discrediting the special counsel, devoted much of his program Tuesday night to downplaying the significance of Mueller’s upcoming testimony.
During a discussion with Fox News personalities Dan Bongino and Geraldo Rivera, the primetime star claimed Mueller’s appearance was all just a way for Democrats to take another swing at collusion—something Mueller deliberately did not address in his report.
“Mueller was clear, [Attorney General William Barr] was clear, Mueller’s report on the issue of collusion, conspiracy — that was the fourth time we heard no,” Hannity declared. “Now the Democrats want a fifth bite at the apple.”
Hannity went on to complain that the special counsel speaking publicly for just the second time in more than two years was akin to presidential harassment by the Democrats.
“Now they are harassing and abusing their power,” he groused. “They are harassing the office of the president. This isn’t oversight—this is now ‘try and harass the president time.’”
The Fox News host, reportedly described as the White House shadow chief of staff, further noted that any conclusions on obstruction of justice had already been determined by Barr and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“No obstruction,” Hannity exclaimed. “So I guess the question here is, Mueller has said—I’m just going to tell you what is in the report again and again and again, so why?”
For the next half-hour, Hannity spent the show cycling through a series of frequent guests to brush aside the significance of the Mueller news, including Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, who declared that “the case is closed” and said Mueller has to answer for his “own conflict of interest.”
Trump, meanwhile, was apparently watching. Shortly after the broadcast, he tweeted out a single phrase: “Presidential Harassment!”