November 9, 2018

Sean Hannity seemingly attacked Fox legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano as a “really dumb lawyer on TV” who “doesn’t get it” for saying that Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general was illegal. This came one day after Hannity insisted that he loves and respects all his colleagues.

At least three times this week, Napolitano told Fox News viewers that Whitaker’s appointment was illegal because he had not been confirmed by the Senate for it.

That view was also put forth in a New York Times op-ed co-authored by Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George. He and co-author Neal K. Katyal, an acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama, wrote that the problem is not just Trump violating the law and evading a Constitutional check by Congress but that “it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.” The two also noted, “If you don’t believe us, then take it from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whom Mr. Trump once called his ‘favorite’ sitting justice.”

Well, what would they know?

Hannity, who dropped out of college, read a differing opinion from Gregg Jarrett and declared that those who disagree are “really dumb lawyers.” Jarrett is a Fox legal analyst but he seems to view his job description as Trump shill and sycophant rather than as an honorable interpreter of law. Also, presumably Jarrett is junior to Fox’s senior judicial analyst Napolitano.

But here’s what Fox’s newly-minted legal eagle Hannity declared to guest Sara Carter and their viewers last night:

HANNITY: Under Federal Vacancies Act 5 USC 3345, Sara, the president can appoint a person holding a Senate-confirmed office or an officer or employee of such executive agency who has served in a position in such agency for not less than 90 days. He has served for more than 90 days. There are some really dumb lawyers on TV that don’t get it.

Carter is also not a lawyer. She describes herself as a “National Security/War Correspondent” on Twitter. But to Fox News, she's a “contributor” whose “reporting” is obviously deemed too flimsy for the news division.

But, predictably, that didn’t stop Carter from playing a legal expert on TV. Even as she completely misunderstood the legal issue at hand:

CARTER: They just don’t get it. And the president had every authority—every authority to let go of Jeff Sessions. At this point in time. Look, there was already talk that the attorney general himself was going to leave after two years. That he didn't want to stay on.

And now with Matt Whitaker as the acting attorney general, they can move forward, Sean.

If Hannity had any integrity, he would have hosted a discussion between Napolitano and Jarrett and served as a vehicle to educate viewers about the controversy. And while it’s not completely clear he was referring to Napolitano, per se, when Hannity complained about dumb TV lawyers, it’s hard to imagine he was unaware of Napolitano’s repeated criticism.

Just one night before, Hannity went on a tear about how much he esteems his colleagues. That, of course, was in the wake of having offended them during his appearance at the Trump campaign rally Hannity insisted he would not appear at - and calling the press pen “fake news” .

HANNITY: I want to be very clear, especially after hearing some commentary, and reading some things. I was not and would never refer to my friends, my colleagues here at the Fox News Channel in those remarks. As a matter of fact, they are such a cut above everybody else. By the way—if anybody construed it that way, I’m totally sorry in terms of the people that I work with. I called a couple of my friends, colleagues here, and I’ve had a great relationship with almost everybody here all the time I’ve worked here.


Me? I’m like the whole newspaper. We do news. We do investigative reporting. We give strong opinions. And yes, sometimes they have to take heat because of what their opinion side friends say.

But I want to tell you something: I’m so honored and proud being able to work here with the best journalists in the entire country. … I’m proud to be a small part of this. And I love these colleagues. Most of them are like friends. All of them, as a matter of fact.

Hannity’s colleagues should find that as believable as his pledge to undergo waterboarding for charity – nearly 10 years go.

Watch Hannity and Carter play legal experts on TV above, from the November 8, 2018 Hannity. (If you prefer, you can read the Fox transcript.)

Crossposted at News Hounds.
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