Even so, Bannon was most alarmed by Hannity’s ultimatum to Moore and moved to intervene, according to three people familiar with his actions. Along with Breitbart’s Washington editor, Matthew Boyle, he besieged the Fox News host with phone calls and texts. Bannon, who recently told the New York Times that Hannity is “the single most important voice for the ‘deplorables’” — his term for Trump supporters — asked the Fox host not to call on Moore to withdraw and instead to let Alabama voters decide, said people familiar with Bannon’s activities.

One of the people said Hannity was skeptical, but willing to listen. The person said Hannity texted Boyle, “You pull this off it’s a f— miracle.” Hannity declined to comment on the text. Through a spokesperson, he denied that he was pressured by anyone.

Moore’s campaign also raced to convince Hannity within his 24-hour window, issuing a public memo — addressed “Dear Sean” — that sought to rebut the women’s allegations. “Sean is very important,” says Dean Young, Moore’s chief political strategist. “He’s a well-respected guy and we think he’s an honest man. Judge Moore is an honest guy, too, and wanted to be as clear as possible.”