Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night equated President-elect Joe Biden fielding congratulatory calls from world leaders after his election victory to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn discussing sanctions with Russian leaders during the Trump transition.
In recent days, Republicans and Trump allies have taken issue with Biden speaking to foreign leaders following his victory over President Donald Trump last week. Specifically, they have raged over former Obama Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes saying the president-elect is already “having phone calls” with leaders to discuss “the agenda they’re going to pursue” in the Biden administration.
“Hypocrisy, double standards, outright lies on full display again tonight because, get this, failed Obama adviser Ben Rhodes revealing this week that Joe Biden is already talking to foreign leaders like the French President Macron,” Hannity grumbled on Wednesday night. “And, wait a minute, Michael Flynn had what was a customary call with the Russian ambassador, soon to be counterpart, in 2016.”
“He was the incoming national security adviser, and all we heard about from the fake news, fraudulent media mob was this could be a violation of the Logan Act,” the Fox host continued. “And by the way, that was a law from 1799 that has never successfully been used to prosecute anyone.”
The Logan Act was passed in 1799 with the intent to prevent unauthorized American citizens from negotiating with foreign governments over disputes with the United States. While violation of the act is a felony, only two people have ever been charged under it and none convicted.
From there, Hannity played a clip of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) grilling former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Rhodes’ comments during a Senate hearing this week. Cruz insisted that Biden wasn’t violating the Logan Act with his calls, calling the law “unconstitutional” and saying McCabe only authorized its use with Flynn “as part of a political persecution.”
“Ask yourself, why is it always one rule for the Democrats, one for the rest of us?” Hannity fumed. “The Clintons, the mob, the deep state, they all get a pass. What is the point of having laws if Democrats get to pick and choose which ones apply to who?”
Hannity, who also serves as an informal Trump adviser, then turned to pro-Trump Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) for reaction. Both Republican lawmakers called Biden a hypocrite and accused him of conspiring with other Obama officials to use the Logan Act to “politically persecute” Flynn, who had been fired by President Barack Obama years earlier.
Flynn eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI over the conversations he had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the Trump transition. During the calls, which were picked up as part of a counter-intelligence investigation, the two discussed sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. In his early days as national security adviser, Flynn misled FBI investigators about the nature of those calls, which included him advising Russia to avoid retaliatory measures. Trump later fired Flynn for lying about the calls.
Despite his guilty plea, the Department of Justice decided to eventually drop the charges against the Trump ally in May of this year, claiming the “continued prosecution of this case would not serve the interests of justice.” The move came after the judge in the case told Flynn in 2018, “You sold your country out.”