Fox News host Sean Hannity has posted an interesting little pamphlet online titled “Your Guide To SURVIVING The Holidays.” Hannity's website promises that the e-book -- two and a half pages long -- can be used to “Hannitize” your relatives.
The guide contains a collection of Hannity’s talking points on various controversies regarding President Donald Trump, most notably the impeachment inquiry. Most of them are super easy to rebut — though, as with Hannity’s usual style, perhaps their persuasive power comes simply from him repeating these mantras over and over again and exhorting his audience to do the same.
So as a public service, Media Matters is offering facts to counter Hannity’s version of things.
Hannity: “President Trump’s administration has provided lethal support to Ukraine to fight the Russian incursion into their country (unlike President Obama).”
Fact: The sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine has been a symbolic gesture. “Under the conditions of the foreign military sale, the Trump administration stipulates that the Javelins must be stored in western Ukraine—hundreds of miles from the battlefield,” Foreign Policy reported in October.
Hannity: “None of the witnesses in the impeachment hearings have testified that President Trump told them to withhold the aid until an investigation of Burisma or Hunter Biden were launched. In fact, the President told Ambassador Sondland the exact opposite.”
Fact: The White House has barred some direct witnesses from testifying and then used this situation to claim that only hearsay witnesses exist. Also, the September phone call that Hannity refers to — in which Trump said, “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo” — came the same day as Congress learned of the whistleblower report. At the time, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor was also expressing concerns to Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, at one point texting him, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
Hannity: “All of the witnesses have stated that they assumed, guessed, presumed, or heard through a rumor various reasons why the aid was being withheld.”
Fact: Again, senior administration officials with direct knowledge have refused to testify. But Sondland has testified that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was directly in the loop on holding a White House visit by the Ukrainian president in exchange for the desired investigation and that Pompeo was also directing others to work with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. (Sondland also claimed that he simply didn’t realize that pushing for an investigation into Burisma was really about the Bidens.) In addition, State Department official David Holmes said he heard Sondland tell Trump on the phone that Ukraine would do the investigations. That all adds up to a lot of reasonable belief about what was going on — if not outright direct proof — and a bit more than guessing or hearing through a mere “rumor.”
Hannity: “President Trump released the aid without an investigation being announced into Burisma or the Bidens.”
Fact: Trump released the aid because he had already been caught. On September 9, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff was notified of the whistleblower complaint and three House committees launch an investigation into Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine. On September 10, Schiff demanded the acting director of national intelligence hand over the complaint to Congress. On September 11, the Trump administration released the aid in the wake of mounting congressional scrutiny.. (Indeed, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had reportedly planned to announce the investigations in a CNN interview, but he backed out of the interview as soon as the aid was released.)
Hannity: “Vice President Joe Biden bragged about getting the Ukrainian prosecutor looking into Burisma fired by withholding over $1 billion of U.S. aid.”
Fact: The prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, had in fact been delaying investigations of the company and its founder. The international community wanted Shokin removed because he was corrupt and ineffective, and Biden was leading the effort as part of official U.S. policy.
Hannity: “President Trump had the right to ask for an anti-corruption investigation as Lt. Col. Vindman told Rep. Speier.”
Fact: As Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on National Security Council, also testified, Trump did not discuss any of the prepared talking points on anti-corruption efforts. In fact, the word “corruption” never came up. Trump only specifically inquired about having Ukraine investigate the Bidens and directed Zelensky to work with Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr.
Hannity: “President Zelensky said he didn't feel pressured by Trump.”
Fact: Zelensky made that comment while sitting next to Trump during an official visit on September 25 — the very encounter he had been seeking in order to strengthen his political hand at home. But the Associated Press reported that, despite his denials, Zelensky had been discussing the pressure from Trump for investigations with his top aides as far back as May and trying to figure out how to manage the situation.