Jan. 6 committee requests cooperation from Fox News' Hannity, publicizes text messages
Hannity texted Trump's chief of staff on Jan. 6 to get the president to make a statement squashing the riot.
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol wrote a letter Tuesday asking Fox News host Sean Hannity to voluntarily cooperate with the panel.
The letter, signed by Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), emphasized Hannity's First Amendment rights as a reporter and stated they will not ask about his public commentary. The panel states the opinion anchor appears "to have factual information directly relevant to the events" of Jan. 6 and they want to discuss "other communications [Hannity] may have had with the White House, the President, the Trump legal team or any other persons involved."
Hannity has been a close ally to former President Donald Trump. The House letter publicized text messages Hannity sent to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows leading up to the Stop the Steal rally.
On Dec. 31, 2020, Hannity texted Meadows: "I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6 th. [sic] He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen."
On Jan. 5, 2021, Hannity told Meadows: "Im very worried about the next 48 hours" and "Pence pressure. WH counsel will leave.”
After the Jan. 6 attack, the Fox host wrote to Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio): "Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days. He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?”
Fox News hosts Laura Ingram and Brian Kilmeade both also messaged Meadows during the Capitol riot.
Meadows presented text messages from Hannity to the Jan. 6 committee last month. Hannity messaged Meadows as rioters were in the Capitol: "Can he [Trump] make a statement?" and "Ask people to leave the Capitol."
Hannity has been highly critical of the Jan. 6 committee. His counsel, Jay Sekulow, told Axios before the committee's letter was made public: "If true, any such request would raise serious constitutional issues including First Amendment concerns regarding freedom of the press."
January 6 committee spokesman Tim Mulvey declined to comment to Axios on the alleged pending Hannity request.