Sean Hannity on attacks from the left, defending America

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This is a rush transcript from "Life, Liberty & Levin," July 1, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARK LEVIN, HOST: Hello America. I'm Mark Levin. This Is "Life, Liberty & Levin." I have a special guest. Tucker Carlson. It's great to see you, my friend. I'm just kidding.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: The Great. I've been on TV 23 years, this is the most spectacular studio.

LEVIN: Isn't it great?

HANNITY: Congratulations, first of all, it's the number one show on Sunday nights. You're killing it, I have to always persuade you to do stuff, you know. There is this fact story to all of this.

LEVIN: I owe you and a few other people the fact that I got into radio. You kept prodding me and prodding me, I said...

HANNITY: No, annoying is more like it.

LEVIN: Right.

HANNITY: Oh, I annoyed you.

LEVIN: We've known each other for over 20 years.

HANNITY: Yes, we're best friends.

LEVIN: And you haven't changed at all. You haven't changed at all. I remember when you were doing a local show on WABC and then you hit the big time, you substituted for Rush, you went into syndication, you started with Fox at the very beginning of Fox.

HANNITY: 1996.

LEVIN: 1996, you've been there the entire time and now, you're really the Babe Ruth of cable TV. You're the Babe Ruth of cable TV.

HANNITY: Let's not overstate the case.

LEVIN: But you are, and so as the Babe Ruth of cable TV, you're also attacked a lot by the left, I noticed. They try these boycotts every now and then, they attack you, they go after you, what is that like?

HANNITY: Wow, this is a great question. The most important thing to me, I don't care, not even a little bit, Mark, one bit what the left thinks of me. I just care about what's right. Like you, I have a love and a passion for this country, and I always brought up in 2016, I do it by design, it's my way.

You have your gifts and your unique style. Rush has his, his unique style. I like to be myself, and I saw 13 million more Americans on food stamps, eight million more in poverty. I saw the lowest labor participation rate since the '70s, worst recovery since the '40s; 51% low homeownership, but doubling of the debt. I give those numbers out regularly on purpose because those are real people, real Americans, real suffering and they're suffering because of government failure, and this is your wheelhouse, this is what do you. You do the history of our great founders and framers and philosophers, but at the end of the day, I'm looking at it from a very practical standpoint. What works? Why does it work?

LEVIN: But why do you think you're attacked the way that you are?

HANNITY: I'm attacked because for a lot of these people, it's about power. We had the most unbelievable week where Pam Bondi is attacked. Think about this, Secretary Nielsen is attacked, Sarah Huckabee is attacked. Conservatives are being thrown out of restaurants, they're being followed, you have high-profile Democrats suggesting that we get confronted in gas stations and restaurants, wherever you see, it's like a mob mentality has taken over.

And the real reason for it is that in 500 days, the economy has flipped dramatically. Every economic indicator we have is off the charts. Nobody thought Donald Trump would win, nobody thought he'd get the primary. Nobody thought he'd beat Hillary and nobody thought he would be this successful, and we are now in the silly season where Democrats have only one single playbook, and that is Republicans are racist, sexist, misogynists, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic - and it's one big lie.

Let me look at one economic statistic, 14 states in the United States right now have record low unemployment. African-Americans, record low unemployment. Hispanic-Americans, record low unemployment. Women in the workforce, record low unemployment. The success of Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the left of America. It is a threat to them, and so like when he first got into office, which he never thought they'd win, they're imploding.

Now, that he's successful and now that the Mueller witch-hunt which you have been very articulate about is imploding, now that the economy is successful, nobody expected little rocket man to be returning hostages, to be dismantling nuclear test sites, to be willing to talk about the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Nobody thought Donald Trump would get that when he was talking about fire and fury and Donald Trump was talking about little rocket man and he was saying, "My button is bigger than yours and mine works," and it shows peace through strength works. It shows that the President's economic philosophy works. How long have we as conservatives known that government bureaucracy is killing business? It is destroying, you know, states like Ohio and Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, all around the country. We now have four million new jobs created in just over 500 days. Why am I attacked?

LEVIN: Do you think you are attacked because you give voice to conservatism?

HANNITY: Yes.

LEVIN: That you are successful in giving voice to conservatism?

HANNITY: Yes, all of the above.

LEVIN: And because you are a defender of the President and his policies?

HANNITY: These policies are working, and to answer your question, it was around-about answer, Mark, directly is that for most of my career, I go with my heart, my gut, but I'm also very connected to those people that are out of work.

You know, I bought a painting by John McNaughton, and he's a patriotic and religious painter. He's out of Salt Lake City, and it's the forgotten man, and the forgotten man painting is a young man on a bench and all the Presidents and Obama stomped - got his foot on the Constitution, which you revere, and the reason that this election was about them, you know my background, I don't want to bore you.

LEVIN: Do you think - well, that's what I want to get to. Do you think you identify with these folks?

HANNITY: 100%.

LEVIN: And the President's policies because of how you grew up and your background and how you came up and your parents. Explain.

HANNITY: Okay, my grandparents came here with on average $10.00 in their pocket from Ireland at the turn of the last century. They had no hopes, no dreams, except to make a better life for their children, and hence my parents did better, and I literally believe, I stand on the shoulders of those four grandparents, all four came from Ireland, and my parent, they never really had any money.

LEVIN: They were modest, middle class parents.

HANNITY: Mark, I was delivering papers at eight, washing dishes at 12, by hand, not a machine in a restaurant, every Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I became a chef, a bus boy, a waiter, a bartender and then I got into contracting - painting, hanging wallpaper, laying tiles, framing houses, fell off a roof.

LEVIN: Come to my house, I need some tile work done.

HANNITY: You need some work done?

LEVIN: There we go.

HANNITY: Yes, the answer to your questions is, I'm a dishwasher who works hard and harder than I've ever worked and that I believe in this country and I believe that I've been blessed more than I deserve, and I absolutely, positively, I abhor that the fact when America is in decline, this country can be, and is, the shining city on the hill as Reagan talked about. And it is frankly my obligation - look, I now made money, I've lived with no money, and now I have money, it's better to have money, and it's better to have opportunity, and it's better to have a growing, thriving economy, and it's also better to have peace in the world. And we don't need to be at war with everybody.

LEVIN: What did your parents do?

HANNITY: My mom was a prison guard for 25 years. My dad worked in Family Court Probation. Most of my family was in law enforcement. It was a big deal. Nobody - I've never told this story, I was appointed to the New York Police Academy when I was 19.

LEVIN: Really?

HANNITY: Nineteen or twenty, last minute, I took the - believe it or not, I passed the psychological, passed the physical. I got 99 to the written, I was appointed to the Academy in like two days before, I said, "I don't know," but I have no idea why I made that decision, because it was a big deal in my family to be a civil servant.

The two relatives I had that made it to the FBI, they were like a deity. That's why it hurts for me to be looking at corruption in the FBI, not to get too off track here. Look, America is supposed to be - we all want the same thing in a way. Everybody wants a nice house, in a safe neighborhood. They want a decent car to drive. They want to go out to dinner once a month or every two weeks. They want to take their kids when they are five or six to Disney, but they're willing to work hard for that, and when government, through its burdensome regulation and its high taxes, you know, think where the Democrats want to run on this midterm election?

This midterm election is the single biggest, most important midterm in this country's history. Because they want to impeach this man. Now, they're telling people like Maxine Waters, "Shhh, don't tell anybody. We got it. We got it. We want to impeach him." They don't have a reason to impeach him. There's no high crimes or misdemeanors.

LEVIN: I agree.

HANNITY: But what else do they want to do? They want open borders. They want to keep Obamacare and you know the biggest tax cut in our history, $2,000.00 around on average per family, what Nancy Pelosi, a millionaire calls crumbs, they want the crumbs back. They want to rescind those tax cuts - $2,000.00 in the pockets of families makes a massive difference in their daily life.

LEVIN: How do you explain the so-called never-Trumpers? The President's been enormously successful in foreign policy. A lot of them come out of Bush administration, sort of the neoconservative movement in that genre. When you look at Iran, the President did exactly the right thing. When you look at Israel, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital and moving the Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, that was the law that was bypassed by every President except this President. When you look at how they started with North Korea, people may quibble over the things he has said so on and so forth, but the fact is, he has done more with North Korea in terms of - first of all, putting the military threat out there and then driving the dictator to the table than any previous President.

HANNITY: It's called peace through strength.

LEVIN: Peace through strength, but when you look at...

HANNITY: You worked for Reagan.

LEVIN: I worked for Reagan and I supported Trump in the general election.

HANNITY: Yes, did you.

LEVIN: And see a lot of similarities, I'm not talking about the way they speak, but there's a charisma to both of these men, and there is a principle to both these men, and I'm concerned that there are some people who claim to be conservatives, who don't recognize it either because they've had a personal tiff with him or they're very thin skinned about approaches and so forth and so on.

HANNITY: I've got one other thing, they don't want to admit they're wrong.

LEVIN: And you've been in a fight with a lot of these people.

HANNITY: You know, it's not even a fight because the American people are winning now. Look, I'm going to make a prediction. Donald Trump is a transformational President, and I don't believe he's a nationalist and I don't believe he's a populist. I have always remained in my entire career consistent.

I am a Reagan conservative, and, which you were the Chief of Staff for Ed Meese, one of the greatest Attorney Generals we ever had, and so you know Reagan's policies as I do. I can cite the economic and the statistics, 20 million new jobs, literally doubled revenues to the government. Revenues going...

LEVIN: And he was hated, too. Attacked by the same force.

HANNITY: Wait a minute, he was called an amiable dunce by Republican establishment figures, and voodoo economics was a Bush term.

LEVIN: Look, it took him three times to get the nomination. He was attacked all the time, the media hated him, hated him, but they hate Trump more.

HANNITY: More.

LEVIN: And my view of that is, and see if you agree, they thought Hillary was going to win, they banked on Hillary, they wanted their third term of Obama and this man wins, surprises everyone; probably surprises himself. The American people rose up and said, "Enough is enough, we want to try this man," and this is not just an attack from my perspective on Trump. This is an attack on the American people. And can you hear it more and more, Scarborough talking about Trump voters as racist. Now, the Trump voters are racist. Hillary calling them deplorables. They're attacking tens of millions of Americans.

HANNITY: Mark, look at Strzok-Page text. I go to Walmart and can smell the Trump people. There's a contempt, and the left has always had this for conservatives, but there's a contempt for people. Now, okay, I'm that dishwasher, I'm that bus boy, I'm that contractor. I identify with the people that make the country great. Here's why I think Trump's a transformational figure.

This office will never be viewed again the same way. I think there were three in our lifetime, three movements, really profound moments...

LEVIN: I want to pick up on this, but I don't want to cut you short on this.

HANNITY: Okay.

LEVIN: I want to hear the whole...

HANNITY: You want to take a break and we'll be right back and we'll continue "Life, Liberty & Levin?"

LEVIN: You know the format. I want to hear this at length when we return.

HANNITY: You've got it.

LEVIN: Folks, you can check us out on LevinTV almost every week night. Got to crtv.com, sign up or call 844-LEVIN-TV. 844-LEVIN-TV. We'd love to have you. We'll be right back.

Sean Hannity, you were talking about transformational Presidents. Go right ahead.

HANNITY: Let's go back to the Reagan comparison for a second. I'm looking at Trump. Beside trade, and I know where you stand on trade.

LEVIN: Okay.

HANNITY: Okay, let's put that aside.

LEVIN: Right.

HANNITY: You and I have discussed privately. I still think everything is a negotiation, we're never going to get to that point, because I know this man pretty well. Donald Trump, if you go back to Reagan, Reagan was hated by the establishment as we were discussing, and all of a sudden, we get 20 million new jobs, longest period of peacetime economic growth. Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall, the evil empire; kind of similar to little rocket man fire and fury, and now even Democrats can't help but acknowledge how great the Reagan years were.

Same thing is going to happen to Donald Trump, in this sense, the office of the Presidency is never going to be viewed the same way again. He has broken every rule of establishment politics, and what the left hasn't figured out is the American people have figured out like for example, the media will act all outraged over Donald Trump tweeted this, and then so you watch these stupid cable people that live in a bubble and they talk to each other only, not to any real audience, so to speak, and they'll say, "That's outrageous," and the next one will say, "No, that's really, really outrageous." "No, that's outrageous and disgusting." And this is their own world.

Meanwhile, the American people are saying four million new jobs, "Wow, the economy has never been better," consumer confidence has never been higher. Record low unemployment all over the place. So, here's my argument. We're going to look back in our lifetime and we're going to realize that he has systematically changed - he's taken the bar higher in the sense that people want to get things done.

American people are practical, commonsense people, and if it works, they don't want these guys playing games. Look, I'll give you an example, I hate Republicans in this sense, Republicans never for all the years they talked about healthcare, when we had a healthcare debate, we never talked about health savings accounts, we never talked about healthcare cooperatives, you and I have read Musgrave, Goodman, patient power, the CATO Foundation - all about health savings account. Who talked about health savings accounts but for Rand Paul and a couple of others?

And who talked about healthcare cooperatives? Those innovative, so-called intellectual ideas of conservatives, they weren't even discussed and they tried to ram through an establishment bill and they couldn't keep a simple promise that they all made for seven and a half years. Donald Trump comes in, "Okay, I'll do it all," and they couldn't get the job done.

LEVIN: What else has Donald Trump done?

HANNITY: He's cut taxes.

LEVIN: No, no, no. He's exposed the media, and this is why they hate him. I'm convinced, the media had played this game with the American people for decades that they're objective and/or bipartisan and they're only reporting the news. He's shown them to be a pseudo-profession. It's not a profession at all and what he's shown them also to be is group think of one mind. There's different characters, different levels of intelligence, some of them quasi intelligence, if you will, and so forth, he drives them nuts because he calls them out and then they accuse him of attacking...

HANNITY: Them.

LEVIN: ... press freedom. He's not attacking press freedom. He's pointing out how they are undermining press freedom.

HANNITY: In 2007 and 2008, I said journalism in America is dead.

LEVIN: I remember this. Right.

HANNITY: I didn't know how right I was at the time. Here's what they haven't figured out and I love this part. What they haven't figured out at CNN, CNN they have been so branded, they will forever be known as fake news - CNN. The same with the broadcast networks, I think one of the funniest things the President does, and if you have a sense of humor and you understand Donald Trump and the American people seem to understand him and they accept that he's not your cookie cutter politician, that is politically correct, that won't take a chance, but I think during his rallies, see those people in the back, fake news, fake news, and the crowd turns around on their own, not led by Trump, CNN sucks, or fake news, and they shout at them, because - and I would be thinking if I was running a network and every state, every group of people were saying "Hannity sucks," I think I might take it personally at some point and say, "Well, what am I doing wrong?" Where is it disconnect?

LEVIN: But there's a reason why the Democratic Party agenda and the media are so in sync?

HANNITY: Sure.

LEVIN: Let me ask you this, when was the last time the "Washington Post" or "New York Times" led with a front page headline story supportive of a Trump policy?

HANNITY: Is that a joke?

LEVIN: It's like I've told you when I was on your show, it's like the text from the FBI, can you point out one that's pro-Trump?

HANNITY: No.

LEVIN: Can you point out one that's anti-Hillary?

HANNITY: No.

LEVIN: Can you point out one pro-Trump senior FBI official?

HANNITY: No.

LEVIN: Anti-Hillary senior FBI official.

HANNITY: You know what the best line you ever said on my show? You pointed out rightly so, sadly, that again, not rank and file FBI, I am very careful to make a ...

LEVIN: We're the ones that defend the rank and file in the FBI, and we're doing it today by trying to clean up the top mess.

HANNITY: I'll tell you, I'll even take it a step further, the heroes at the end of the story are going to be rank and file FBI, the special agents that are dying to tell their story about how corrupt their top bosses were, and I ...

LEVIN: I'm waiting for my best line ever on TV.

HANNITY: Okay, yes, we'll, I'm going to tell you. Your best line ever was, "Sadly ..." it's a sad line, but it's true and captures it all, "... that literally what they have done to try and subvert an election is far worse than anything Russia could have imagined." This is why nobody seems to understand how profound this is, and the other part of this is the IG report is only the beginning.

This is what happened, Hillary committed felonies, Hillary obstructed justice. It was covered up by the top-ranking FBI officials - Comey, Page, Strzok, Loretta Lynch to an extent, Andrew McCabe, and others, and they covered it up, they rigged an investigation, they wrote an exoneration before they interviewed her and 17 other people. That never happens. There have been other people that have gone to jail for far less than what Hillary Clinton did, and they did it so she could remain the candidate.

We've seen written text how much they love her and then they turned on Trump. I think you've used the term, I know I've used the term, I think Russia has used the term and I think it's an accurate term, which is a "soft coup." This has never happened. This is the biggest, single abuse of power, scandal, corruption scandal in American history. And back to the media, they have missed the biggest story in their lives while simultaneously pushing a phony Russian narrative because their fixation is not helping the American people, but destroying one man after they supported her.

LEVIN: The media want Trump out.

HANNITY: They want him to fail.

LEVIN: They go after his family.

HANNITY: It's disgusting.

LEVIN: They go after his staff. They go after his campaign, and he's exposed them.

HANNITY: 100%.

LEVIN: And you were saying, CNN will never be viewed the same.

HANNITY: Ever.

LEVIN: The media will ever be viewed the same.

HANNITY: Ever.

LEVIN: We'll be right back.

ROBERT GRAY, CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: Live from "America's News Headquarters," I'm Robert Gray. Exit polls are in for Mexico's Presidential election and they're predicting victory for leftist candidate, Andrew Manuel Lopez Obrador. The exit poll conducted by Mexico City based polling firm Parametria shows the former Mexico City Mayor winning with between 53% and 59% of the vote. Obrador's two closest opponents, left- right alliance candidate Ricardo Anaya and Jose Antonio Meade of the ruling institutional revolutionary party both have conceded.

LeBron James is taking his talents to Los Angeles. The four-time NBA MVP is leaving his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers for a second time, agreeing for a four-year $154 million deal with the LA Lakers. The 33-year-old star will join a struggling Lakers squad that's coming off five straight losing seasons. I'm Robert Gray, now back to "Life, Liberty & Levin."

LEVIN: You know, Sean Hannity, believe it or not, people are going to want to know how we've met, how we became best friends, that sort of thing. How did we meet? I don't even remember it.

HANNITY: I don't even know, that's a great question. By the way, we think we're so smart, we're not that smart, I guess.

LEVIN: I don't remember, do you? It was a long time ago.

HANNITY: No, but this is interesting for me because this is role reversal, because I interview you.

LEVIN: Right.

HANNITY: Look, let me tell you...

LEVIN: You like interviewing me?

HANNITY: Yes, I do, actually.

LEVIN: Why?

HANNITY: I interview you, and I take out my phone. I don't have it with me, and I'll throw you one question, we actually have timed your answers, they are six-minute answers, but they're chockfull, but I like to let you do your thing.

LEVIN: This is when I'm on "Hannity" during the week.

HANNITY: Look, I'm on - I don't like to do interviews like this, not because I don't like to do them, it's just I feel four hours a day is enough for me. I'm on three hours on radio, an hour on TV, how much do people want of me? But I always interview you, although you've interviewed me on your radio show before, and - but interviewing you is - what I find as I've gotten to be a better host because I listen more. I get my monologue out, I work on that thing from 8:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night, and I'm...

LEVIN: You write your own monologue?

HANNITY: Every day, yes, absolutely, and I have a staff that helps put the tapes together.

LEVIN: Do you read it off the board, or sometimes I can tell you are just doing it off your mind, right away.

HANNITY: If I have 13 minutes written, it's really a 20-minute monologue, because the radio in me comes out and I have the best prompter, I have signals, I'll give you my signals. So, I'll be reading the prompter and I'll go like that, that's my signal don't move, or I'll look away.

LEVIN: In other words, keep it where it is because I have other things to say.

HANNITY: That's right, and...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: We add at least five to seven minutes to every monologue and I use them all. There is so much to talk about. what I think has made me a better host, I actually have read enough research on me over the years, and when you're doing something wrong, your audience, they are smarter than you are, they're watching. If I interrupt somebody, they get frustrated, "Stop interrupting," and I find if I get it out in the beginning and put it together and try and make the best case every day.

We start with an empty canvas, every single day, it's a new day and the challenge is you always have to assume there are new people that are watching, and so you've got to set the foundation, but also keep bringing in the new information, and I try and do it as creative way as I can. And it's a little bit of a challenge every day, but in all honesty, it's ...

LEVIN: So I come on and I speak for six minutes?

HANNITY: I let you go, but it works.

LEVIN: Have you ever interrupted me?

HANNITY: I try not to. I try not to interrupt like I used to. The only restraints we have are the constraints of time.

LEVIN: We all have that.

HANNITY: ... but I honestly feel this is history unfolding before our eyes. I never finished the thought earlier, there was the Reagan revolution, it transformed the country. I was the emcee the night Newt Gingrich became the Speaker of the House. I lived in Georgia, I was a local radio host, and we're now in the third wave of this, and it's Donald Trump, the conservative, not all this nationalist, populism. He's governing as a conservative.

HANNITY: You think it went Reagan revolution, tea party, Trump revolution.

HANNITY: No, Reagan revolution, tea party is a big component. Reagan, Newt contract ...

LEVIN: Tea party.

HANNITY: Tea party and now Trump. And Trump will, I think, like Reagan at some point, people are going to realize how transformational it is. We can't predict the future. I mean, you never know if there is a major economic downturn that may be out of all our control. You don't know about peace and prosperity, but I do know that this President looks at, you know, he says he wants to meet Putin and he's developed a good relationship with the President of China, I think we already see dividends vis-a-vis North Korea, if we can denuclearize, denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, is that not good for our kids and grandkids?

LEVIN: Well, it is, and you know Reagan talked about getting rid of nukes altogether?

HANNITY: He did.

LEVIN: And keep something in mind, too, as you point out here. He's friendly with the dictator of China, but he's tough on China ...

HANNITY: Very.

LEVIN: So he doesn't allow that to get in the way of his policies.

HANNITY: Nope.

LEVIN: And I noticed that, too. Back let's get back to you. When did you start in radio?

HANNITY: Wow. It's either '86 - it's '87, 1987. It didn't last very long. I wasn't very good at it. I just knew that I wanted to be on the radio. Howard Stern tells a great story, and if you watch his movie "Private Parts," it may sound a little bizarre ...

LEVIN: Never watched it.

HANNITY: You should watch it because it actually - I identify with everything that he did. He once said, "The light went on the first time I was on radio," and I have no idea where this comes from. None. It just came out, and I knew I loved it from the first time I did it. I have the tapes. They're horrific. It's embarrassing.

LEVIN: You can burn them, you know.

HANNITY: I'm going to. My son actually who is 19 heard it once and he literally said to me, "Oh, dad." And put his hands over his face and said, "That's embarrassing." But I've been very fortunate in my career in the sense that I loved it. I ate it up, and I never had a vision that I could do it after growing up listening to radio, and then I did it, and then I wanted to do nothing else, and then I finally got a job, traveled - this is where it's similar to Howard Stern, I started traveling around the country, and I lived five years in Rhode Island, five years in California, two years in Alabama, four years in Georgia. I never thought I'd be successful. I always assumed and until today that I've done my last show.

LEVIN: And when we return, what was your big break? What would you consider to be your big break? Don't forget, folks, to check us out on LevinTV almost every week night, go to crtv.com, crtv.com, join us, we'd love to have you or call us at 844-LEVIN-TV. 844-LEVIN-TV. We'll be right back.

Welcome back. So, Sean Hannity, radio, what was your big radio break?

HANNITY: It wasn't just one. Well, you can't deny when you fill in for Rush, who's - look, he's the pioneer. He forged the path. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.

LEVIN: Absolutely.

HANNITY: And I'm very appreciative, but I grew up listening to all these radio guys, Farber, Barry Gray, Bob Grant, John Shroyer was a money guy, and then I went and lived there in Rhode Island listening to Jerry Williams, Gene Berns - these real pioneers of talk radio.

The big break was a guy, Dave Stone and Bill Dunn have been two guys, Huntsville, Alabama, my first paid radio gig. I was doing it for free up until then and I packed up what was my contracting work van and I drove across the country. That was break one. Break two was a guy by the name of Sluggo, Eric Seidel in Atlanta, Georgia. Neal Boortz who is now a friend of ours, since retired. He left one station, which he referred to as his ex-wife and moved to a bigger station and now I'm on that station ironically, WSB and then big break was Fox News going on the air, and then that led to WABC, Roger Ailes and Phil Boyce.

It's funny because I'm friends with every single person that ever hired me. I talk to them all. They all critique me to this day. If I'm do something they don't like, Sluggo is writing me, "Let him talk, shut up. Don't talk." I'm getting PVs, but they care. I actually prefer the criticism rather than the compliment because that makes you better.

LEVIN: And, you know, you're one of the few people who have been able to do radio and TV. In fact, you're the only one I know for a couple of decades now. No, but you've done it for a couple of decades.

HANNITY: Twenty three years.

LEVIN: Twenty three years, and how do you have the energy for this?

HANNITY: I mean, I don't know, I can flip the question. If I didn't do it every day, I'd be riding around in a car doing my own talk show probably out loud.

LEVIN: Talking to yourself?

HANNITY: Talking to myself.

LEVIN: On the corner with a rain coat.

HANNITY: Probably, and saying okay, I'd be going "John in Atlanta."

LEVIN: You could be caught in talk shows, wouldn't you?

HANNITY: "Hi Sean, longtime listener, first time caller." Yes. I'd be doing both parts.

LEVIN: You'd call into talk shows early on?

HANNITY: I was on ladders doing construction calling talk shows. When Ollie North's hearing were going on, and he since like you became a dear friend, you were very involved in that, I couldn't go to work. I sat there and watched those hearings. Brendan Sullivan, a friend of yours, I'm not a potted plant.

LEVIN: Unbelievable.

HANNITY: There was an unbelievable - or when Ollie North, when he went like this or when they thought they had him because he bought leotards for his young daughter, the dancer and they thought. "Well ..." I think it was Fawn Hall, "Oh, he had to have been having an affair." The media was corrupt then.

LEVIN: So you were calling radio shows?

HANNITY: Every day. Absolutely. And what I noticed is that I got more reaction than the hosts. I want to talk about what that guy just said. I was so passionate about it, it was my love. It was my passion. Reagan, I studied him from day one, and then I got into studying on my own.

LEVIN: How old are you?

HANNITY: Good question, 56.

LEVIN: And you started in radio, how old were you?

HANNITY: Twenty-seven-ish.

LEVIN: And so you started on Fox, you were in your 30s?

HANNITY: Yes, early 30s - 23 years.

LEVIN: You think can you do this for another 10 or 20 years?

HANNITY: I don't think about it. People say, "Well, what part do you think ... " I just do my thing every day. Here's my analogy, and I don't like when people get too egotistical in their life, and they think. "I did this," there are people in our business, I've always believed like what the Bible said, "If you're not against us, you're for us." In that sense, even people that hate both of us, if they're doing good things for the country, I don't care what they say about me. I want the country to succeed.

I view it as we're all spokes in a wheel, and every spoke is necessary to make the wheel go round. And by the way, every American citizen voting for example in 2018, they want to undo your - undo the last election. They want to do-over, 2018 is a do-over. There's four things they want to do and I mentioned them earlier. They want to impeach the President. They want open borders. They want to keep Obamacare and they want their crumbs back.

And we can't let this happen. Midterms usually aren't that important, really, and the first midterm in any presidency historically with a couple of exceptions the power - the party that has the presidency is going to lose seats. We can't have that had this time. Because if we do, they doll those four things, and they so hate this President, and the American people - the FBI agents that tried to undermine Trump in the soft coup, those people thought they knew better than the American people. It's arrogance, it's power, those are in your books, all those philosophers that you talk about and I've read every one of your books.

All of those framers and founders, they warned about tyranny in government. There's contempt right now for the American people. One last thing, and I don't mean to interrupt you. This is a tipping point for the country, Mark. We better get this right or we'd lose it. If they're successful in their effort to undermine Donald Trump and push him out of office, we've lost the country and we'll never get it back. You know what you once said?

LEVIN: What? I love it, he quotes me.

HANNITY: You once said ...

LEVIN: Some people quote Churchill ...

HANNITY: "We are the post constitutional America," you are right. You were right. you are ahead of the curve and it's more the dynamic nature of that statement is unfolding before our eyes. This is a transformational moment. This is a live or die moment for the country. That's what motivates me, you want to know where I get the energy from? From there and from getting the American people back to work and making this a better country for our kids and grandkids, like I stand on the shoulders of my father's and grandfather's.

LEVIN: We'll be right back.

What do you make of the state of the Republican party?

HANNITY: Weak. Feckless. The Bible says where there is no vision, the people perish. Lacking leadership.

LEVIN: Who do you blame it on?

HANNITY: Most of them. Honestly, the people I trust the most in Congress right now are the Freedom Caucus. Those guys fight for the things they have done. You know what the Republican Party is missing? They literally - it's a layup for them if they would just follow the courage, the strength, the principles and the promise keeping of Donald Trump. If you want to get re-elected, instead of sitting there agonizing, calculating, what's going to happen, what if do I this? What if I vote this way? How about you just keep your promises.

HANNITY: Why do we need a Freedom Caucus within the Republican Party? Shouldn't that be the Republican Party?

HANNITY: It should be the Republican Party. This of this. The reason they couldn't repeal and replace Obamacare is because there were a hundred of Republicans that never had any intention of repealing and replacing Obamacare. They're as bad as the Democrats. In Senate, in 2015, they voted to repeal Obamacare - straight vote, and then seven of them, when it actually mattered, less than two years later, "Oh, we didn't really mean it."

LEVIN: And the House was even worse. They voted to repeal and they wouldn't vote to repeal it.

HANNITY: Well, the House at least passed a lot of bills that the Senate never took up. There's over 400 of those. So, I give them a little more credit, not a lot. Here's what's missing, where is the principle of lower taxes, limited government, cutting bureaucracy? Where is the principle of securing our borders? Where is the principle of supporting a President that has literally given us a path to energy independence that will create millions of high-paying career jobs for so many Americans? He did it independently in spite of them.

And he is more at war with his party than he is actually with the Democratic Party. I expect it from them, but the reality is in Washington today, I'm not a registered Republican, I'm a conservative. I've always been a consistent Reagan conservative and for all these idiot never-Trumper people is that they're not consistent, and now their egos are so humongous, they can't - they don't want to admit they're wrong, so like the media doesn't want to admit they're wrong. That's your answer.

LEVIN: We'll be right back.

Where do you see Sean Hannity in ten years or so?

HANNITY: I have a idea. I hope I am alive. I have kids I want to take care of. I would love to see my grandkids.

LEVIN: Do you think you'll be in radio and TV?

HANNITY: I have never planned any of this. I never thought I'd be here on your show.

LEVIN: Would you like to be in radio or on TV in ten years?

HANNITY: I probably cannot give it up and it's because I care more than I've ever cared. I think the stakes are higher than they ever have been. I think, I'm a spoke in a wheel and I have got an opportunity and I want to do my part.

This country is worth fighting for. So many have bled, fought, bled, died and given their limbs for this country and to allow a culture of corruption to now put its - as you said, post Constitutional America and the rule of law and we don't have equal justice under the law or equal application of our laws. If we don't get that straight for our kids, I will feel like a failure.

LEVIN: It has been a great pleasure.

HANNITY: There's a reason I call you the great one, you know.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Thank you for having me.

LEVIN: It's my pleasure. You're motivated as ever and that's a good thing. See you next time on "Life, Liberty And Levin."

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