Jan. 6 committee plans to ask Fox News host Sean Hannity to cooperate with probe

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(WASHINGTON) — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack on Tuesday asked Fox News host Sean Hannity to cooperate with its investigation and answer questions about text messages he sent to associates before, during and after the assault.

The panel said it had “dozens” of Hannity’s text messages to Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff who briefly cooperated with the investigation and shared records with the panel, along with other Trump associates.

“We can’t lose the entire WH counsels office,” Hannity texted Meadows on Dec. 31, 2020, amid concerns that Trump’s White House lawyers would quit in protest against plans to challenge the election results in January. “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.”

“Among many other things, this text suggests that you 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,” the committee wrote. “These facts are directly relevant to our inquiry.”

The panel also highlighted a message Hannity sent to Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on Jan. 10, that the committee said reflected “detailed knowledge regarding President Trump’s state of mind in the days following the January 6th attack.”

“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?” Hannity wrote to Meadows and Jordan.

Trump’s state of mind before, during and after the Jan. 6 attack is a focus of the select committee — whose members have said they are investigating whether Trump deliberately sought to obstruct an official congressional proceeding on Jan. 6.

“Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’ official proceeding to count electoral votes?” Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., asked in a December committee hearing, pointing to a specific criminal statute Trump may have violated.

On Jan. 6, ABC News Live will provide all-day coverage of events marking one year since the attack on the U.S. Capitol and the continuing fallout for American democracy.

Cheney first revealed Hannity’s messages to Meadows in December, reading aloud in a hearing an urgent message he sent the chief of staff as the Capitol attack unfolded.

“Can he make a statement?” Hannity asked Meadows of Trump, according to text messages Meadows voluntarily turned over to congressional investigators. “Ask people to leave the Capitol.”

Hannity later defended the messages on his nightly Fox News program — where he frequently criticizes the select committee investigation and accuses the panel’s lawmakers of trying to politically damage Trump.

“Surprise, surprise, surprise: I said to Mark Meadows the exact same thing I was saying live on the radio at that time and on TV that night on Jan. 6 and well beyond Jan. 6,” Hannity said.

On Tuesday night, Hannity attorney Jay Sekulow, who represented Trump in his first impeachment trial and frequently appears on Hannity’s show, said he was reviewing the committee’s request.

“We are evaluating the letter from the committee. We remain very concerned about the constitutional implications especially as it relates to the First Amendment. We will respond as appropriate,” Sekulow told ABC News.

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