'Delete all your emails and then acid-wash' your hard drives: Sean Hannity suggests Mueller probe witnesses should destroy their evidence

 

  • Fox News anchor Sean Hannity urged witnesses in the Russia investigation to delete evidence and destroy their electronics before giving them to Robert Mueller.
  • Hannity's advice seemed at least partly sarcastic, suggesting that Hillary Clinton would get away with such tactics while regular people would not.
  • Destroying or altering court evidence is a criminal offense under US federal law, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
  • Mueller reportedly asked witnesses to hand over their phones so he could inspect their conversations on encrypted messaging apps.
  • The witnesses reportedly complied with Mueller's request.
  • It came after former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was accused of witness tampering.


Sean Hannity has called on the witnesses in Robert Mueller's investigation to delete their evidence and destroy all their hardware in an attempt to derail the probe.

The Fox News host said on Wednesday night that witnesses should "acid-wash the emails on the hard drives and your phones" then smash them into "itsy bitsy pieces" with a hammer.

The advice — which would be illegal to follow — appeared to be at least partly sarcastic, and was delivered as part of an attack on Hillary Clinton.

Hannity's point appeared to be that Clinton could get away with destroying evidence, while allies of Donald Trump could not.

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Sean Hannity through the years
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Sean Hannity through the years

Fox News host Sean Hannity is seen in the White House briefing room in Washington, DC, on January 24, 2017.

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LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 19: Political commentator Sean Hannity speaks during 'Vegas Strong - A Night of Healing' at the Orleans Arena on October 19, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The concert benefits people affected by the October 1, 2017, mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival when Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured more than 500 after he opened fire on the crowd. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: TV personality Sean Hannity attends The Hollywood Reporter's 35 Most Powerful People In Media 2017 at The Pool on April 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Pundit Sean Hannity attends 'The Hollywood Reporter's 35 Most Powerful People In Media 2017' at The Pool on April 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Arianna Huffington (L) and Sean Hannity attend The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media 2017 at The Pool on April 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter)

Conservative TV and radio personality Sean Hannity gestures during remarks during the opening day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual gathering of conservative politicians, journalists and celebrities at National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 22, 2017.

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Fox News television personality and political commentator Sean Hannity speaks with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, January 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. Spicer held his second daily briefing on Tuesday afternoon.

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Conservative TV and radio personality Sean Hannity (R) welcomes White House advisor Kellyanne Conway to his show being broadcast during the opening day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual gathering of conservative politicians, journalists and celebrities, at National Harbor, Maryland, U.S. February 22, 2017.

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Sean Hannity of Fox News takes a selfie with Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz and a young fan during a campaign event at Arizona Christian University in Phoenix, Arizona March 18, 2016.

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Sean Hannity attends day 6 of the 2016 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 3, 2016 in the Queens borough of New York City.

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Jeb Bush speaks while being interviewed by Fox News TV host Sean Hannity (L) at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 27, 2015.

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WWII Veteran Jack ten Napel, Sean Hannity, and Kirt Webster attend the Charlie Daniels 2015 Volunteer Jam at Bridgestone Arena on August 12, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Sean Hannity (R) interviews former Vice President Dick Cheney (L) and his daughter Liz Cheney (C) regarding their new book at FOX News Channel's 'Hannity at FOX Studios on August 31, 2015 in New York City.

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Sean Hannity attends as U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announces his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination At The Freedom Tower at Freedom Tower on April 13, 2015 in Miami, Florida.

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Fox News Channel anchor Sean Hannity poses for photographs as he sits on the set of his show "Hannity" at the Fox News Channel's studios in New York City, October 28, 2014.

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Willie Robertson and Sean Hannity attend day 11 of the 2014 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 4, 2014 in New York City.

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Fox News Channel anchor Sean Hannity poses for photographs as he sits on the set of his show "Hannity" at the Fox News Channel's studios in New York City, October 28, 2014.

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Former presidential candidate Herman Cain, Sean Hannity conservative talk show host, Honoree Neal Boortz and Comedian Jeff Foxworthy backstage for The Boortz Happy Ending at The Fox Theater on January 12, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Jeff Foxworthy and Sean Hannity during the FOX News 'Hannity with Sean Hannity' 15th anniversary show at Olympic Centennial Park on October 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Sean Hannity speaks during the 5th Annual Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on September 17, 2010 in Washington, DC.

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Talk show host Sean Hannity (left) shakes hands with Roy Innis, National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, during the 21st annual CORE Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ambassadorial Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Hotel & Towers.

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Sean Hannity and Larry Elder during Sean Hannity ABC Radio Show West Coast Broadcast at Redondo Beach Performing Art Center in Redondo Beach, California, United States.

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ABC Radio talk host Sean Hannity does his show live in front of an audience as Talkradio 790 KABC presents the 'Hannitization Tour '03 Sean Hannity Live!' at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on March 6, 2003 in Redondo Beach, California.

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Here is a full transcript of what Hannity said:

"Meanwhile as the Mueller witch hunt churns on, the Special Counsel — this is interesting. They are demanding that witnesses turn in their phones so Team Mueller — and of course, his pitbull Andrew Weissmann and Jeannie Rhee, who worked for Clinton, get to review all of their electronic communications.

"He wants the phones turned over. Even texts that are on what are called encrypted apps like WhatsApp or Signal or one of these things. And they need Mueller's witnesses... I don't know.

"If I were to advise to follow Hillary Clinton's lead: Delete all your emails and then acid-wash the emails on the hard drives and your phones, then take your phones and bash them with a hammer to little itsy bitsy pieces, use BleachBit, remove the SIM cards, and then take the pieces and hand them over to Robert Mueller and say: 'Hillary Rodham Clinton, this is equal justice under the law.'

"How do you think that would work out for everybody who Mueller's demanding their phones of tonight? I'm certain the result would not be the same as Hillary's."

27 PHOTOS
Key Trump officials, advisers of note in the Russia probe
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Key Trump officials, advisers of note in the Russia probe

Tom Barrack

The close friend to Donald Trump and CEO of private equity firm Colony Capital recommended that Trump bring in Paul Manafort for his presidential campaign.

R. James Woolsey

Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has cooperated with Mueller's investigation and worked with Michael Flynn and was present at a meeting where they discussed removing the controversial Turkish Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen from US soil. 

(Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The former senior Trump campaign official and White House adviser was present and crucial during the firings of Michael Flynn and James Comey.

The former head of the Trump transition team following the 2016 election has said previously that he believes he was fired due to his opposing the hiring of Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

Jeff Sessions

Former U.S. senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama joined Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser in February 2016. Sessions was nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President Trump and was then confirmed by the Senate. Reports then emerged that Sessions had spoken twice with Sergey Kislyak while he was senator -- a fact that he left out of his Senate hearing testimony. Instead, he said in writing that he had not communicated with any Russian officials during the campaign season. Sessions defended himself saying he had spoken with Kislyak specifically in a senate capacity.

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort signed on as Donald Trump's campaign manager in March 2016. A longtime Republican strategist and beltway operative, Manafort had previously served as an adviser to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich -- a pro-Russia leader who was violently ousted in 2014. Manafort resigned from his campaign position in August 2016 amid questions over his lobbying history in Ukraine for an administration supportive of Russia. The former campaign manager reportedly remained in Trump's circle during the post-election transition period.

Michael Flynn

Gen. Michael Flynn was named President Trump's national security adviser in November of 2016. Flynn reportedly met and spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, at one point discussing sanctions. Flynn originally told Vice President Pence he did not discuss sanctions -- a point the Department of Justice said made the national security adviser subject to blackmail. Flynn resigned from his position in February.

Donald Trump

2016 election winner Donald Trump is at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's handlings.

Sam Clovis

Clovis, a former member of the Trump campaign, arrives on at the U.S. Capitol December 12, 2017 to appear before a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee. Clovis worked with George Papadopoulos, a former Donald Trump campaign foreign policy advisor who struck a plea deal on charges of lying to the FBI.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Roger Stone

Stone is a longtime Republican political consultant who served as a campaign adviser to Trump who continued to talk with the then-GOP candidate after stepping away from his adviser role. Stone claimed last year that he had knowledge of the planned WikiLeaks release of emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Stone recently admitted to speaking via direct message with "Guccifer 2.0" -- an online entity U.S. officials believe is tied to Russia. Stone says the correspondence was “completely innocuous.”

Carter Page

Page worked for Merrill Lynch as an investment banker out of their Moscow office for three years before joining Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. During his time with Merrill Lynch, Page advised transactions for two major Russian entities. Page has called Washington "hypocritical" for focusing on corruption and democratization in addressing U.S. relations with Russia. While Page is someone Trump camp has seemingly tried to distance itself from, Page recently said he has made frequent visits to Trump Tower.

J.D. Gordon

Before Gordon joined the Trump campaign as a national security adviser in March 2016, he served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005 through 2009. Like others involved in Trump-Russia allegations, Gordon met with ambassador Kislyak in July at the Republican National Convention, but has since denied any wrongdoing in their conversation. He advocated for and worked to revise the RNC language on and position toward Ukraine relations, so it was more friendly toward Russia's dealings in the country.

Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo (L)

Caputo waves goodbye to reporters after he testified before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Caputo resigned from being a Trump campaign communications advisor after appearing to celebrate the firing of former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Denying any contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, Caputo did live in Moscow during the 1990s, served as an adviser to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and did pro-Putin public relations work for the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Stephen Miller, White House Senior Advisor for Policy

Jason Miller
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
Eric Trump
Donald Trump Jr.
Ivanka Trump
White House Senior adviser Jared Kushner
Executive assistant to Donald Trump Rhona Graff
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski
US Vice President Mike Pence
Katrina Pierson
K.T. McFarland
Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci
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Destroying or altering evidence is a criminal offense under US federal law and can result in up to 20 years' imprisonment.

Hannity's segment came in response to reports that Mueller had asked witnesses to turn in their personal phones so he could inspect private messages on encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal, and Confide.

The witnesses have handed over their phones to avoid a subpoena, CNBC reported, citing unnamed sources.

The request came after Mueller's office accused Paul Manafort of attempting to communicate with potential witnesses in the probe via phone and encrypted messaging apps.

A federal judge will decide whether to revoke or revise Manafort's bail on June 15.

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