As the highest-rated opinion personality on cable news, Fox News’ Sean Hannity nightly show carries weight with American voters.
On Wednesday night, he didn’t hold back his opinion from viewers. Hannity went after Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., in a passionate defense of President Donald Trump.
Hannity called the impeachment trial of Trump a “never-ending, nonstop feigned moral outrage” led by untrustworthy politicians.
During his opening remarks at the historic impeachment trial Wednesday, Schiff implored senators across the aisle not to be “cynical” about politics. He spoke directly to Republican lawmakers and asked them to join in voting to oust Trump from office to “protect our democracy.”
Hannity was clearly unmoved — and his colorful attacks on Schiff grabbed headlines. The Hill, Mediaite, and iHeartRadio were among the dozens of news sites that featured the controversial conservative news anchor’s explosive remarks.
The Fox News star criticized Schiff’s performance as “repetitive” and “boring” and said the House Intelligence Committee chairman was one of the worst liars in all of Washington, D.C.
“If Democrats are really concerned with election interference… you look no further than in a mirror because the ‘Schumer-Schiff sham show’ is just their latest attempt to reclaim power at any cost,” Hannity told his viewers. “They haven’t done anything for you, we the people.”
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., seemed to agree. When asked about the impeachment trial, Scott told reporters he was “hearing exactly what they said yesterday…. nothing new whatsoever.”
But another Republican, Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, acknowledged that the case against the president is probably new information for most of them.
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“Nine out of 10 senators will tell you that they have not read the transcript of the proceedings of the House,” Kennedy quipped. “And the 10th senator who says he has is lying.”
The impeachment trial is set against the backdrop of the 2020 election. All four senators who are Democratic presidential candidates are off the campaign trail, seated as jurors.
Several GOP senators said Wednesday they’d seen no evidence to support the allegations against Trump even though, just 24 hours earlier, they had rejected subpoenas for additional witnesses as well as documents.
Democrats, meanwhile, described the evidence against the president as overwhelming but said senators had a duty to gather more.
A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed the public slightly more likely to say the Senate should convict and remove Trump from office than to say it should not, 45% to 40%. A sizable percentage, 14%, said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion.
One issue with wide agreement: Trump should allow top aides to appear as witnesses at the trial. About 7 in 10 said so, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, according to the poll.
The strategy of more witnesses, though, seemed all but settled. Republicans rejected Democratic efforts to get Trump aides including former national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, to testify in back-to-back votes earlier this week.
Senators were likely to repeat that rejection next week, shutting out any chance of new testimony.
Some Republicans expressed disdain for it all. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa spoke sarcastically about how excited she was to hear the “overwhelming evidence” the House Democrats promised against Trump.
“And once we’ve heard that overwhelming evidence,” she said, “I don’t know that we’ll need to see additional witnesses, but let’s hear about that overwhelming evidence.”
Republicans remained eager for a swift trial. Yet Trump’s legal team passed on an opportunity to file a motion to dismiss the case on Wednesday, an acknowledgment that there were not enough Republican votes to support it.
The White House legal team, in its court filings and presentations, has not disputed Trump’s actions. But the president’s lawyers continue to insist he did nothing wrong.
The Associated Press contributed to this article