The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol has requested that Sean Hannity, the star Fox Information host, respond to issues about his communications with previous President Donald J. Trump and his workers in the days encompassing the riot.
In a letter on Tuesday, the committee questioned for Mr. Hannity’s voluntary cooperation, this means that the host has not obtained a formal subpoena. The letter detailed a series of text messages involving the conservative media star and senior officials in the Trump White Home, illustrating Mr. Hannity’s unusually elevated position as an exterior adviser to the administration.
The texts recommend that Mr. Hannity was mindful of, and deeply concerned about, what Mr. Trump was scheduling for Jan. 6, and bracing for a attainable mass resignation of top rated White Residence legal professionals as a outcome.
“We cannot shed the whole WH counsels office environment,” Mr. Hannity wrote to Mark Meadows, the White Dwelling main of employees, in a Dec. 31, 2020, text message that the committee included in its letter. “I do NOT see January 6 occurring the way he is staying explained to.”
They also point out that the Fox News host, a longtime confidant of the former president, had expertise of a flurry of large-degree conversations at the White Household, involving Mr. Trump himself, about leaning on Vice President Mike Pence to use his ceremonial part in Congress’s formal electoral count to keep Mr. Trump in business.
“Pence force,” Mr. Hannity wrote in a Jan. 5 message. “WH counsel will leave.”
The texts were being included in a trove of 9,000 pages of paperwork Mr. Meadows turned around to the panel in response to a subpoena.
As Mr. Trump grappled with the political fallout of the assault — which includes a looming impeachment inquiry and rebukes from some prime Republicans — Mr. Hannity wrote on Jan. 10 to Mr. Meadows and Agent Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and a crucial ally. “He cannot point out the election once again. At any time,” Mr. Hannity mentioned in the message, referring to Mr. Trump. “I did not have a superior call with him right now. And even worse, I’m not confident what is remaining to do or say, and I really do not like not realizing if it’s truly comprehended. Thoughts?”
A lawyer for Mr. Hannity, Jay Sekulow, stated on Tuesday that the committee’s request “would elevate severe constitutional concerns such as 1st Amendment fears regarding flexibility of the push.” Fox News referred inquiries to Mr. Sekulow’s statement.
The letter from the committee knowledgeable Mr. Hannity that it thought the Fox Information host “had advance information concerning President Trump’s and his lawful team’s planning for Jan. 6,” contacting him “a simple fact witness in our investigation.” The committee wrote that it had obtained “dozens of textual content messages” involving Mr. Hannity and members of Mr. Trump’s interior circle, like a note on Jan. 5 in which Mr. Hannity expressed worry about the subsequent day’s counting of Electoral College or university votes.
“I’m pretty nervous about the subsequent 48 hrs,” Mr. Hannity wrote.
Mr. Hannity was just one of quite a few Fox News stars who turned informal confidants to Mr. Trump in excess of the program of his administration, usually conversing with the president by phone and more than foods in the White Residence.
Essential Figures in the Jan. 6 Inquiry
“He was extra than a Fox host he was also a confidant, adviser, campaigner for the former president,” Consultant Adam B. Schiff, a California Democrat and member of the committee, reported on MSNBC on Tuesday.
Past month, the committee revealed that Mr. Hannity experienced contacted Mr. Meadows on Jan. 6 as rioters overtook the Capitol, inquiring: “Can he make a assertion? Talk to people today to depart the Capitol.” The Fox Information stars Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade despatched similar notes inquiring that Mr. Trump consider steps to quell the violence. In Fox Information prime time on Jan. 6, Mr. Hannity told his viewers that “all of today’s perpetrators have to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” including: “Every excellent and decent American, we know, will and have to condemn what happened at the Capitol.”
A spokesman for the committee declined to say on Tuesday if supplemental Fox News hosts would be questioned to respond to thoughts. Mr. Hannity is the most well known media star so far that the committee has contacted about testifying. The committee formerly issued a subpoena for the conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Jones, who has sued the committee to try out to stonewall the investigation.
The letter to Mr. Hannity was signed by Consultant Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the committee chairman, and its vice chairwoman, Agent Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming.
“We have no question that you enjoy our country and regard our Constitution,” Mr. Thompson and Ms. Cheney wrote. “Now is the time to action forward and serve the pursuits of your nation.”