Hannity is one of several Fox hosts who texted Meadows
Fox News hosts including Sean Hannity texted Mark Meadows during Capitol riot begging for Trump to take action
Fox News host Sean Hannity will likely become the first employee of the network to face a request for his testimony from the House select committee to investigate the Capitol riot, a member of the panel confirmed on Tuesday.
Congressman Adam Schiff said on MSNBC that an official announcement that the committee would seek Mr Hannity’s cooperation was forthcoming.
“Yes. I think you’ll see an announcement about that very soon,” said the California Democrat.
His words proved true a short time later, when the announcement was made official on the committee’s social media account.
“Chair @BennieGThompson and Vice Chair @RepLizCheney request Hannity answer questions about matters including communications between Hannity and the former President, Mark Meadows, and others in the days surrounding Jan 6th,” read a tweet from the committee, which included the letter sent to the Fox host in screenshots.
The Committee is seeking information from Sean Hannity.
Chair @BennieGThompson and Vice Chair @RepLizCheney request Hannity answer questions about matters including communications between Hannity and the former President, Mark Meadows, and others in the days surrounding Jan 6th. pic.twitter.com/wXtOGSsneg
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) January 4, 2022
An attorney for Mr Hannity, Jay Sekulow, told Axios that the committee’s request could result in the Fox News host raising claims that his contacts with the president’s team were protected by the First Amendment, though it was unclear how that would come in to play unless Mr Hannity himself was facing some kind of retribution from the committee.
“If true, any such request would raise serious constitutional issues including First Amendment concerns regarding freedom of the press,” said Mr Hannity’s attorney.
Rep Zoe Lofgren, another Democrat on the panel, confirmed on CNN that Mr Hannity would not be the target of the subpoena but instead a request for his willing testimony out of a sense of “patriotism”. Her comments come as Republicans including Mr Hannity have derided the committee’s investigation as an attempt to politically damage GOP politicians.
Mr Hannity was revealed to have texted Mr Meadows during the attack that Mr Trump should make some kind of statement urging “people to leave the Capitol”. The text is an admission by the Fox host that those who stormed the Capitol were Mr Trump’s supporters, despite claims from others at the network such as Tucker Carlson that left-wing provocateurs were involved. They also underscore that the president was being alerted to the danger posed to members of Congress, Capitol Hill staff, and journalists by the riot as the White House took hours to get the president on video asking his people to go home.
The committee investigating January 6 has spent much of its time probing how long Mr Trump took to act and call off his supporters after it was made clear to the White House how bad the situation on Capitol Hill had become.
A former US attorney speculated on MSNBC on Tuesday that the former president could face criminal charges if it was proven that he refused to send law enforcement reinforcements to stop the mob from hindering an act of Congress; Mr Trump also faces several civil lawsuits brought by members of Congress and an officer with US Capitol Police seeking damages for his role in allegedly inciting the attack on the Capitol complex.
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