The Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday requested Fox News anchor Sean Hannity’s cooperation with its investigation and provided more details on his texts to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
In a letter to Hannity, the chairs, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), write that information the committee has received indicates that Hannity had “advance knowledge” regarding former President Trump and his legal team’s planning for Jan. 6. Thompson and Cheney note that Hannity appeared to express “concerns” and provided advice to Trump and certain White House staff.
The chairs wrote that the committee possesses dozens of text messages Hannity sent to and received from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and others related to the 2020 presidential election and Trump’s efforts to challenge the results.
The committee made clear that it is specifically focused on Hannity’s communications with Trump, White House staff and the former president’s legal team between Dec. 31, 2020 and Jan. 20, 2021.
One example is Hannity’s text to Meadows on Dec. 31, 2020, which the committee chairs say suggests that Hannity had “knowledge of concerns” by Trump’s White House counsel’s office regarding the legality of Trump’s plans on Jan. 6:
“We can’t lose the entire WH counsels office. 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.”
The chairs also pointed to a text Hannity sent on Jan. 5, 2021, the night before the deadly Capitol insurrection, that they said resulted in a “stream” of sent and received texts between Hannity and Trump allies. Hannity wrote:
“Im very worried about the next 48 hours.”
“With the counting of the electoral votes scheduled for January 6th at 1 p.m., why were you concerned about the next 48 hours?” the chairs wrote in their request to Hannity.
The chairs cited another text from Hannity to Meadows on the evening of Jan. 5, 2021:
“Pence pressure. WH counsel will leave.”
“What communications or information led you to conclude that White House Counsel would leave? What precisely did you know at that time?” the chairs wrote.
The chairs also noted that other text messages — which they indicate are “non-privileged communications” — appear to signal that Hannity may have had a direct conversation with Trump the night before the Capitol attack, and perhaps at other times, related to the former president’s plans on Jan. 6.
In reiterating their interest in his communications with Meadows and others during the breaching of the Capitol, the chairs referenced Hannity’s text to Meadows advising that Trump should “… Ask people to peacefully leave the [C]apit[o]l.” — which the former president didn’t do until hours after the attack.
The chairs also listed Hannity’s text to Meadows later on Jan. 6 regarding press coverage about a potential effort by Trump cabinet members to remove him from office under the 25th Amendment, citing then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s resignation over Trump’s conduct that day.
“We would like to question you regarding any conversations you had with Mr. Meadows or others about any effort to remove the President under the 25th Amendment,” the chairs wrote.
Additionally, they said that Hannity appeared to have “detailed knowledge” on Trump’s “state of mind” in the days after the Capitol insurrection. They cited a text Hannity wrote to Meadows and Trump ally Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Jan. 10, 2021:
“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?”
The chairs concluded their letter by stressing that none of Hannity’s communications that they referenced are “subject to any kind of privilege” and that all of his texts “bear directly on the issues before our Committee.”
“We cannot in good faith fail to question you on these and other specific issues relevant to our investigation, which includes an investigation into the facts and circumstances relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power,” the chairs wrote.
The committee made it very clear that Mr. Hannity himself is not under investigation, nor do they wish to question him about anything to do with his bombastic rants and whining on Fox. Unlike folks in that organization, they actually respect the Constitution. So, he’s not liable or in legal jeopardy for anything he can tell them about what he saw or heard prior to the riot or the planning thereof.
This appears to be the first of many revelations the committee is preparing to show the world in the next few weeks and months. Stay tuned.