Media Matters, Vice, and AOL all appeared to suggest that Fox News’ Sean Hannity violated federal law when he sarcastically suggested on his show that targets of the probe being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller should smash their phones and “acid wash” their emails and hard drives. While Hannity was clearly seeking to drive home a point about the apparent double-standard at work at the FBI over its handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her stint in the Obama Administration, Media Matters, for example, tweeted an edited version of Hannity’s opening monologue that implied he was instructing witnesses to destroy evidence.
“They are demanding that witnesses turn in their phones,” Hannity said on Wednesday night. “If I advised them to follow Hillary Clinton’s lead — delete all your emails, and then acid wash the emails and hard drives on the 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.” Coming further, Hannity said, “How do you think that would work out for everybody?” He added, “I’m sure the result would not be the same as Hillary’s.”
Hey remember when Assange DM'd Hannity asking him to reach out on an encrypted app?— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) June 7, 2018
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
Activists and journalists jumped on a bandwagon that called for Hannity’s arrest. Among them were Bill Palmer, who tweeted on Thursday night:
“Donald Trump’s day so far:
- Melania and Ivanka Trump caught up in Donald’s criminal scandals
- Sean Hannity commits on-air felony
- Mueller gets everyone’s phones
- Paul Ryan rejects “spy” claim
- GOP running away from Trump
- Trump running and hiding
- It’s still only 7:25am”
On Thursday morning, Palmer tweeted, “Sean Hannity just went berserk on-air about Trump-Russia, and probably sent himself to prison in the process.”
The founder of an anti-Trump group, Scott Dworkin, tweeted that Hannity should be “indicted” for his remarks, while predicting that Hannity will be imprisoned by next year. He wrote, “Sean Hannity should be indicted for instructing witnesses to destroy material evidence. No one is above the law. Especially not Putin’s president or this unhinged bozo.” Dworkin added, “I think at this time next year Sean Hannity will be in prison. Not kidding.”
In March 2015, members of Congress called on Clinton to make her email server available for inspection by an independent third party technician. Her lawyer, David Kendall, responded in a letter that no Clinton emails written during her time as Secretary of State reside on her private “server or on any back-up systems associated with the server." In an August 2015 letter to Congress, Kendall repeated that server "no longer contains data" from Clinton's email account. However, Kendall did not indicate whether the data was "deleted" or "wiped" in either correspondence.