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Sean Hannity’s former director helped launch a pro-Kremlin propaganda network — and fell in love with Putin

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One of Sean Hannity’s former directors — who claims an instrumental role in developing Fox News — moved to Russia to help a sanctioned oligarch start up a right-wing TV network.

Jack Hanick, whose now-deleted LinkedIn profile shows he began working for Fox News three months before its first broadcast aired in October 1996, left the network in August 2011 and helped launch the Orthodox Christian network Tsargrad TV three year later.

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The religious network’s founder, Konstantin Malofeev, is a Kremlin-connected oligarch who’s been under U.S. sanctions since 2014 for financing pro-Russian separatist rebels in Crimea.

“Throughout the Ukraine crisis, Mr. Malofeev, [now 43], has emerged as a key figure linking the pro-Russia forces on the ground in Ukraine and the political establishment in Moscow,” reported the Financial Times.

Despite the sanctions, Hannity’s former director Hanick — who has since been accepted into the Russian Orthodox Church with his family — to help launch the network.

“The nod to Fox is not accidental,” Financial Times reported in 2015. “To get Tsargrad TV up and running, Malofeev hired Jack Hanick, one of Fox News’s founding producers, whom he met when they were both speakers at a Moscow conference on morality in the media.”

The former Fox News founding employee was immediately impressed by the oligarch.

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“‘They put us all in the room and I thought, another speaker, great,'” Hanick told the newspaper. “’He seemed like a very humble guy. I had no idea he had a lot of power or political pull. I’m still not sure what he has.’”

Malofeev has leveraged his faith and conservative values to accumulate substantial personal wealth as founder of private equity firm Marshall Capital Partners, and he made much of that money as an investor in the Russian telecoms giant Rostelecom.

He paid back favors to the Kremlin by making Tsargrad TV an overt supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin and his “nationalist” policies — and Hanick played an instrumental role.

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Hanick became an outspoken supporter of Putin, traveled to a 2013 event in Moscow with other American anti-LGBT activists to praise Russia’s ban on gay “propaganda” — which he later blamed for a breakdown in relations between the U.S. and the Kremlin.

“Russians understand that the U.S. has not fought a war on its soil since the civil war,” Hanick warned in a 2015 column for the Observer. “If new hostilities start, Russia will not let the war be a proxy war where the U.S. supplies weapons and advisors and lets others do the ‘boots on the ground’ combat. Russia will take the war to the U.S.”

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Hanick left Tsargrad TV — which has featured InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and was the only Russian TV network to cover Trump adviser Carter Pages’ 2016 speech in Moscow — about three years ago but continued working as a consultant to the media company.

The former Fox News executive was invited to celebrate Trump’s 2016 election in Moscow by Kremlin propagandist Konstantin Rykov — who boasted on Facebook that he helped recruit the “Apprentice” star in 2012 to run for president as part of an “insane” plan to reshape the global order.

Hanick can be seen celebrating Trump’s election in a video of the event, where he praises Russia for embracing the Christian values he says the U.S. has abandoned.

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“America has been founded on Christian principles, and now America is moving away from Christianity, so it’s losing its moral core, fiber that set it right for centuries,” Hanick says in video from the event. “Now Russia, on the other hand, has been embracing orthodox Christian. This has been a major change. Russia is moving toward Christianity, the U.S. is moving away from Christianity. Even though (Hillary) Clinton professes to be a Christian, all of her policies are moving away from those positions.”


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Ex-White House aide describes Trump’s abusive tantrums when he doesn’t get his way: ‘Not normal at all’

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Appearing on MSNBC on Sunday afternoon, former Donald Trump advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman backed up assertions in the book " A Very Stable Genius" that the president is prone to tantrums when he doesn't get his way and becomes abusive to staffers and cabinet members alike.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Omarosa -- who wrote an insider's account of life in the White House after she was unceremoniously fired -- said there was little in the new book that surprised her.

Digging into her Oval Office days, the former adviser and longtime Trump associate described the president's "zero to 200" screaming jags when displeased.

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Ex-Bush aide admits GOP would have removed Obama if he did ‘one tenth of what Trump has done’

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A former strategist for former President George W. Bush accused Republican lawmakers of hypocrisy on Sunday for for failing to honestly consider the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Matthew Dowd, a campaign strategist-turned-media-analyst, made the remarks in a tweet on Sunday.

"Deep in their hearts the Republicans in Congress know that if Obama had done one tenth of what President Trump has done they would have voted to impeach and convict him," Dowd wrote. "And Fox News would have been cheering them on. And Trump would have been pushing for it from the sidelines."

Deep in their hearts The republicans in Congress know that if Obama had done one tenth of what president trump has done they would have voted to impeach and convict him. And Fox News would have been cheering them on. And trump would have been pushing for it from the sidelines.

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‘Opportunistic’ Trump has an ulterior motive for hyping Virginia gun rally on MLK day: MSNBC guest

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During a panel discussion on MSNBC's "AM Joy," the Reverend Mark Thompson claimed that President Donald Trump is sending a message to his rabid base by hyping up a pro-gun rally in Virginia on Martin Luther King Day.

Addressing the rally to be held in Richmond, which has the entire state on edge and forced lawmakers to ban weapons at the event in the name of safety, Thompson told host Joy Reid it was accident that the president linked the rally to a day when Americans celebrate the life of the civil rights leader who was gunned down in 1968 in Memphis.

Asked about Trump's tweets about the rally, the reverend called them disgraceful.

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