January 5, 2022

The House committee investigating the attacks of Jan. 6 have someone they really want to talk to: Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity.

Axios’ Jonathan Swan had the scoop Tuesday that the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection wanted to ask Hannity for his voluntary cooperation with its investigation. Then shortly after Swan’s story, the committee sent a letter — and not a subpoena — to Hannity, asking him to speak. It said, “We have no doubt that you love our country and respect our Constitution. Now is the time to step forward and serve the interests of your country.”

We already knew that Hannity had texted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows during the Jan. 6 attacks, asking if Donald Trump could make a statement and ask people to leave the Capitol. But more texts by Hannity were revealed in Tuesday’s letter from the committee. On Dec. 31, 2020 — just a week before the insurrection — Hannity texted Meadows, “We can’t lose the entire WH counsels office. I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told.”

On Jan. 5, Hannity texted, “Im very worried about the next 48 hours.”

On Jan. 10, four days after the riot, Hannity wrote to Meadows and Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan about Trump, saying, “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?”

Trump told CNN in a statement, “I disagree with Sean on that statement and the facts are proving me right.”

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hallie Jackson Reports,” committee member and California Congressman Adam Schiff said, “(Hannity) was texting with the chief of staff and that (we believe) he has information that would be relevant to our committee. He was more than a Fox host. He was also a confidant, adviser, campaigner for the former president. And I would hope that, if he’s asked by the committee, as I expect he will be very soon, that he would cooperate with us.”

It doesn’t sound as if Hannity will cooperate. In a statement to Axios, Hannity’s counsel, Jay Sekulow, said, “If true, any such request would raise serious constitutional issues including First Amendment concerns regarding freedom of the press.”

Later, Sekulow put out a statement that said, “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.”

However, the committee, in its letter to Hannity, said, “None of these communications are subject to any kind of privilege.” The letter also said, “Again, we stress that our goal is not to seek information regarding any of your broadcasts, or your political views or commentary. We have deep respect for the First Amendment for our Constitution.”

The letter was signed by Chair Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
Tom Jones

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