While some Trump supporters seem to be jumping ship and trying to distance themselves from the former President, Fox News' Sean Hannity definitely isn't among them.
Hannity bent over backwards trying to justify Trump's recorded remarks bragging about possessing classified materials after he left the White House.
On Monday, CNN released an audio recording of a 2021 meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey in which Trump boasts about still holding documents he did not declassify and no longer had the authority to declassify.
Trump, for his part, has claimed there were no actual classified papers present with him at the meeting, despite his words and the rustling of papers strongly implying there were.
Trump can be heard saying:
"This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is, like, highly confidential."
"This is secret information. Look at this."
"See, as president I could have declassified it. Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret."
It really seems Trump is showing the "classified" documents to someone, because he followed up with:
"Isn't that interesting? It's so cool. [...] and you probably almost didn't believe me, but now you believe me."
Despite the fairly damning audio, Trump claimed on Fox News:
"There was no document. That was a massive amount of papers and everything else talking about Iran and other things."
"And it may have been held up or may not, but that was not a document. I didn’t have a document, per se."
"There was nothing to declassify. These were newspaper stories, magazine stories and articles."
Hannity seemed to buy Trump's excuse—hook, line, and sinker.
He said on his show Monday night that he didn't believe the document Trump showed was a classified one:
"That does not confirm for me whether or not specifically this document was declassified or not."
"Was that actually the real document, or was it a story he was telling?"
Trump is certainly known for his propensity for telling tall tales, but the audio is quite damning especially after classified documents were subsequently found in Trump's possession.
Twitter users were quick to rag on Hannity for his latest attempt to protect Trump from himself.
Quite a few pointed out Hannity essentially said Trump was probably just lying about the papers being classified like he lies about everything else.
Trump plead not guilty when arraigned earlier this month on 37 felony charges related to his mishandling of classified documents and his actions to thwart government agencies' attempts to retrieve those mishandled documents.
The trial was set to begin no later than August 14, but U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith filed a request on Friday to delay the start of the trial until December 11.
In the filing, Smith said starting the trial so soon would:
"...deny counsel for the defendant or the attorney for the Government the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation."
Because of the classified nature of much of the evidence in the trial, Trump's attorneys need to apply for and be granted security clearance—a process that often takes months—to be able to review the evidence relevant to the case and effectively attempt to defend their client.
According to Reuters, Smith said Trump's lawyers do not oppose the delay of the trial, but he expects them to file their own motion opposing the proposed schedule.