The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol has asked Fox News host Sean Hannity to cooperate with their investigation and to answer questions about text messages he sent former President Donald Trump, his aides, and lawyers around that time.
In a letter (pdf) to Hannity on Tuesday, Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) asked that he voluntarily answer questions “on a specific and narrow range of factual questions.”
“The Select Committee now has information in its possession … indicating that you had advance knowledge regarding President Trump’s and his legal team’s planning for January 6th,” they wrote.
Thompson and Cheney said they have reason to believe that Hannity, in the days surrounding the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol building, expressed “concerns” and provided advice to Trump and “certain White House staff” regarding Trump’s legal team’s planning for Jan. 6.
“You also had relevant communications while the riot was underway, and in the days thereafter,” they wrote. “These communications make you a fact witness in our investigation.”
Thompson and Cheney said they have dozens of text messages between Hannity, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and others “related to the 2020 election and President Trump’s efforts to contest the outcome of the vote.”
One such text message from Hannity to Meadows dated on Dec. 31, 2020, reportedly read: “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 lawmakers wrote in their letter that the text message suggests Hannity had knowledge of concerns by President Trump’s White House Counsel’s Office “regarding the legality of the former President’s plans for January 6th.”
“These facts are directly relevant to our inquiry,” they said.
The lawmakers said it appears from other text messages that Hannity may have communicated directly with Trump the day before the events that unfolded on Jan. 6.
Thompson and Cheney said the Fox News personality’s communications were not subject to any kind of privilege and were connected to the issues being investigated by the panel.
“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,” Chair Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, a Republican, wrote in their joint appeal to Hannity.
“At the same time, we have a solemn responsibility to investigate fully the facts and circumstances of these events in order to inform our legislative recommendations. Our nation cannot let anything like January 6th ever happen again. Thus, we write today to seek your voluntary cooperation on a specific and narrow range of factual questions.”
The Epoch Times has contacted Fox News for comment.
Jay Sekulow, Hannity’s lawyer, told The Associated Press on Tuesday night that they are reviewing the committee’s letter and “will respond as appropriate.”
The U.S. Department of Justice said in its year-end summary on Dec. 30 that more than 725 people have been arrested in all 50 states on federal charges stemming from violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, leading some 165 people to plead guilty—mostly to misdemeanor charges.
“Under the continued leadership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the attack continues to move forward at an unprecedented speed and scale,” the DOJ said in a statement. “The Department of Justice’s resolve to hold accountable those who committed crimes on Jan. 6, 2021, has not, and will not, wane.”