Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has become known as perhaps the most ardent defender of Donald Trump in the major media, was revealed in a federal court on Monday as the previously mysterious "third client" of Trump's personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, according to multiple media reports. While the reasons why Hannity would have hired Cohen remain unclear, a little-known connection between Hannity and an international media consultant may link the Cohen-Hannity relationship back to the Russia collusion investigation.
Hannity issued a statement on Monday in which he appeared to deny that he was a client of Cohen, even after Cohen's lawyers had revealed his name to a federal judge.
"Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective," Hannity said on his Twitter account. "I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third-party."
The link between Russia and Hannity was exposed by independent journalist Scott Stedman, who reported that one of Hannity's former directors, Jack Hanick — who also claims to have been "on (the) start-up team for the Fox News Channel," and that he was "Staff Director for the original look and feel of Fox News Channel" — left Fox to join with a top Russian oligarch in creating a right-wing, ultra-nationalist Russian TV network that has become known as "The Fox News of Russia."