Sean Hannity advised Gaetz on deleting Cohen tweet

Fox News’s Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityBiden walks fine line with Fox News GOP Rep. Cawthorn says he wants to 'prosecute' Fauci Biden pokes at Fox hosts: They've had 'altar call' on vaccines MORE advised Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzLawmakers introduce bipartisan Free Britney Act Performance or performance art? A question for voters in 2022 (and 2024) Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections MORE (R-Fla.) about a tweet that was perceived as threatening to President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE’s former lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenMichael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip Why the Trump Organization indictment may be far less consequential than the media think Michael Cohen: Weisselberg indictment 'the tip of the iceberg' MORE in 2019, according to a House Ethics Committee's report released on Friday.

The report on Gaetz included screenshots from a text conversation between Hannity and the Florida representative with the handwritten label “conservation with Sean Hannity on Feb 27th.”

That 2019 text conversation and the ethics investigation were centered on a tweet by Gaetz that suggested Cohen had not been faithful to his wife. The tweet came one day before the president’s former lawyer was scheduled to testify before a House committee.


Democrats and legal experts accused Gaetz of participating in witness tampering with the tweet, prompting the lawmaker to apologize. The House Ethics Committee admonished Gaetz for his Cohen tweet, saying it "did not meet the standards by which Members of the House should govern themselves."

The text exchange included in the report began with one from Gaetz: “F---ers are coming for my law license. You were right. We all spend our time in the barrel.”

“Run this shit by me!!!” Hannity replied. “You won’t lose the license.”

The Fox News host said it was “smart to pull it down and say what u said. It will pass. Attention span of people is zero. Just learn from it.”

The Florida lawmaker followed up by asking how long he should “lay low.” Hannity answered, “Just a while” and encouraged Gaetz to reach out to Cohen or his lawyer Lanny Davis.

“Just say you were upset at what was transpiring and meant it as a question, not a statement,” Hannity wrote. “And u would never threaten anyone. In retrospect it was poorly written and you wish u didn’t send it. That’s a CYA,” using an acronym for “cover your ass.”


Hannity then provided Gaetz with contact information for Cohen and Davis but instructed the lawmaker to send the apology to “me first.”

Gaetz sent a draft of the apology to Hannity. Another screenshot shows the Florida representative saying, “Cohen asked me to post apology and pls ask ppl to leave his family alone. I did. It felt good.”

Hannity responded, “Good,” and Gaetz followed up by saying, “You are amazing. Thank you.”

Fox News and Gaetz’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

In February 2019, the Florida lawmaker posted the tweet in question to Cohen. It said, “Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot.”

Gaetz tweeted an apology hours after posting the tweet, saying it was not his “intent to threaten.”

"While it is important 2 create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen, it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did," he tweeted. "I’m deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry."

Months later, the Florida Bar determined there was “no probable cause” that Gaetz broke its rules with his tweet on Cohen.