When Fox News anchor Shepard Smith reported that President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has also represented his colleague Sean Hannity, he briefly alluded to the awkwardness of Monday’s big news story.
“Of course, for us, the elephant in the room at the moment is that Sean Hannity is said to have, according to court documents, been a third client of Michael Cohen,” Smith said.
Hannity was furious over last week’s news that the FBI had raided Cohen’s office and hotel room as part of an investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations. He did not disclose at the time that he’d had his own legal dealings with Cohen.
Smith read Hannity’s statement to The Wall Street Journal on Monday acknowledging that he and Cohen “have been friends a long time” and that “I have sought legal advice from Michael.”
Smith promised his viewers he’d get to the bottom of the story right away, pointing out that “a lot of people” at the network know Hannity’s number. “We’ll get on that,” he added.
When Smith came back from commercial, he explained Hannity’s relationship with Cohen a little more:
“You may have heard a little while ago from court proceedings there were three people that Michael Cohen did legal work for. The President of the United States, one other and the third. The third is said to be Sean Hannity. He’s on the air, on the radio right now. We spoke with his publicist here at Fox News, who says that he says they have been friends a long time. He never denied he was his lawyer. That he did some legal work for him along the way. And that’s the extent of that.”
However, Hannity went on Twitter a short time later and denied that he ever retained Cohen as a lawyer.
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.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) April 16, 2018
Hannity may not have issued the denial to purposely contradict Smith, but the two have had a rivalry.
Last month, Hannity ripped Smith for saying that people working on Fox News “opinion” programs say whatever they want and provide “entertainment,” not news.
Hannity responded with a tweet insisting that he is a journalist who writes “REAL NEWS” while Smith is “clueless about what we do every day.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.