In a letter to Fox News personality Sean Hannity, requesting his cooperation with their investigation, the chairmen of the special House committee investigating the Capitol riot leaked several text messages he allegedly sent to the chief of staff of the White House era Mark Meadows in the days leading up to, during and after the January 6 Capitol bombing.
According to the commission, Mr. Hannity “had knowledge in advance” of plans for January 6 drawn up by the former president and his legal team.
“It also appears that you are expressing concerns and providing advice to the president and some White House staff regarding this planning,” the January 4 letter reads. “You also had relevant communications during the riot and in the days that followed. These communications make you a witness to the facts in our investigation.
The committee is focusing on communication between Mr. Hannity and the president’s team between December 31, 2020 and January 20, 2021, according to the letter, which was written by Presidents Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney.
The committee also suggested that Mr Hannity may have spoken directly to the former president on January 5 and 10.
- In a message to Mr Meadows on December 31, 2020, Mr Hannity wrote: “We cannot lose the entire WH advisers office. I do NOT see January 6th unfolding as it is told. After the 6th. [sic] He is expected to announce that he will lead the national effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up every day. Stay engaged. When he speaks, people will listen.
According to the committee, “This text suggests that you were aware of concerns from the office of President Trump’s White House legal adviser regarding the legality of the former president’s plans for [6 January]. These facts are directly relevant to our investigation.
- On January 5, he wrote to Mr. Meadows: “I am very worried for the next 48 hours.”
- In another text to Mr Meadows that evening he wrote: ‘Pence pressure. WH’s lawyer will be leaving.
The committee asked Mr. Hannity “What communications or information led you to conclude that the White House lawyer would be leaving?” What exactly did you know at that time? “
- While the assault was in progress, Mr. Hannity texted Mr. Meadows: “Ask the people to leave the [C]a pit[o]me.
- Later that day, Mr. Hannity also texted Mr. Meadows “news coverage of a potential effort by members of President Trump’s cabinet to impeach him under the 25th Amendment,” according to the committee.
Committee members added: “We would like to ask you about any conversations you have had with Mr Meadows or others about any effort to remove the president under the 25th Amendment,” the letter reads.
- In a message to Mr. Meadows and Republican United States Rep. Jim Jordan in the days leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, Mr. Hannity wrote: “Guys, we have a clear path for land the plane in 9 days. He can no longer mention the elections. Never. I didn’t have a good call with him today. And worse, I don’t know what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s really understood. Ideas ? “
The committee stressed to Mr. Hannity that its purpose “is not to seek information about any of your shows, or your political opinions or comments. We have deep respect for the First Amendment to our Constitution.
“You seem to have factual information directly relevant to the events of [January 6] and the attack on the institutions of our democracy, ”the committee chairs wrote in their letter. “We have a duty to understand all the underlying facts and make legislative recommendations. “
A Fox News spokesperson pointed out The independent to a statement by Mr. Hannity’s lawyer Jay Sekulow, who told Axios: “If true, such a request would raise serious constitutional issues, including First Amendment concerns over press freedom. “
In a statement on his program last month, after the committee published messages from Fox News figures to Mr Meadows during the assault, he said he “told Mark Meadows the exact same thing I did. was saying live on the radio then and on TV that night on January 6 and well beyond January 6.
“And by the way, where is the outrage in the media over my private text messages being made public again?” Do we believe in privacy in this country? Apparently not, ”he said.