(The Hill) – The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said Tuesday it had a series of text messages from Sean Hannity suggesting the Fox News host was aware of plans to contest President Biden’s electoral victory and asked him to voluntarily cooperate with their probe.
The letter to Hannity reviews five communications sent by the conservative commentator among dozens in the committee’s possession, including previously unreleased texts they argue show he “had advance knowledge regarding President Trump’s and his legal team’s planning for January 6th.”
On Dec. 31, Hannity appeared to express concern over losing support from the White House legal counsel while relaying his advice to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows.
“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,” Hannity wrote that night.
The panel also questioned Hannity about “a stream of texts” he sent and received on Jan. 5, the night before the riot.
“You 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 committee asked in its letter.
The texts follow an earlier release of communications with Meadows that showed Hannity and others at Fox were dismayed by the Jan. 6 attack, going directly to administration officials to express their concern.
Asking for cooperation from Hannity — a sitting member of the media — would be a remarkable step for congressional investigators.
Fox News declined to comment.
“If true, any such request would raise serious constitutional issues including First Amendment concerns regarding freedom of the press,” he said.
Axios was the first to report the committee’s interest in Hannity.
The committee addressed the topic in its letter, noting it would steer clear of some topics.
“The Select Committee has immense respect for the First Amendment to our Constitution, freedom of the press, and the rights of Americans to express their political opinions freely. For that reason, we do not intend to seek information from you regarding your broadcasts on radio or television, your public reporting or commentary, or your political views regarding any candidate for office,” they wrote.