Jan. 6 Panel Requests Sean Hannity's Cooperation in Probe, Releases Details of Explosive Texts
03:47 GMT 05.01.2022 (Updated: 04:14 GMT 05.01.2022)
The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has requested Sean Hannity's cooperation regarding his knowledge of US President Donald Trump and his legal team's thinking in the months before and after the 6 January Capitol attack, it was revealed Tuesday.
The Select Committee's letter to Hannity, the host of a popular Fox News programme and a long-term Trump supporter, revealed their possession of dozens of communications between Hannity and Trump, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and others close to Trump between 31 December 2020, and 20 January 2021.
The committee reportedly suspects that the communications prove that Hannity possesses, "factual information directly relevant to the events of January 6th", presenting a string of pertinent communications between the three to justify Hannity's testimony.
The first communication they cited was a text Hannity sent to Meadows on 31 December 2020:
"We can't lose the entire WH counsels [sic] office. I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6th He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to [Florida] and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen".
The Select Committee suggests that 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".
A string of communications from 5 January 2021, was also referenced. In one text Hannity wrote, "I'm very worried about the next 48 hours". In another to Meadows, "Pence pressure. WH counsel will leave", Hannity texted.
The committee mentions that, based upon other text messages, Hannity potentially spoke with Trump directly on 5 January regarding his plans for 6 January.
During the 6 January attack by Trump supporters, Hannity texted Meadows to advise Trump to, "ask people to peacefully leave the [C]apit[o]l". Later in the day, he sent texts regarding members of Trump's cabinet potentially using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
The Select Committee has pointed to Hannity's unprecedented access to Trump and his inner circle. A 10 January 2021, communication between Hannity, Meadows, and GOP Congress member Jim Jordan, the latter also an ardent Trump supporter, suggests that Hannity had spoken with Trump recently and was acutely aware of his thoughts.
"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?", wrote Hannity.
In the Select Committee's letter to Hannity, they stress their deep respect for the First Amendment protections of freedom of political opinion and of the press, a career track of which Hannity has claimed to be a part.
"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", the committee wrote.
"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", the notice continued.
Hannity's counsel, Jay Sekulow, told ABC: "We are evaluating the letter from the committee. We remain very concerned about the constitutional implications especially as it relates to the 1st Amendment. We will respond as appropriate".
12 November 2021, 20:58 GMT
The vast majority of witnesses called upon by the Select Committee have cooperated with their investigation, however, a small number of high-profile Trump-centric individuals have openly resisted the inquiry and have been subsequently indicted for contempt of Congress.