On the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, former President Donald Trump planned to give a press conference from his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.
However, Trump canceled the event after text messages between Fox News personality Sean Hannity and senior Trump White House officials were released in a House committee’s investigation into the riot. What did Hannity’s texts say?
The Committee thinks that Hannity had prior knowledge of the Jan. 6 riot.
On January 4, 2022, the committee investigating Trump’s possible involvement in the Jan. 6 riot by his supporters sent a letter to Hannity asking for his “voluntary cooperation” in providing information about his “advance knowledge regarding President Trump’s and his legal team’s planning for January 6th.”
“It also appears that you were expressing concerns and providing advice to the President and certain White House staff regarding that planning. You also had relevant communications while the riot was underway, and in the days thereafter. These communications make you a fact witness in our investigation,” the committee wrote in the letter to Hannity.
The committee says it has “dozens” of text messages between Hannity and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that point to Hannity’s knowledge of Trump’s efforts to contest the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which he lost.
“We can’t lose the entire WH counsel's office. I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told,” Hannity wrote in a December 31, 2020, text to Meadows. “After the 6th, [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 with listen.”
Hannity texted that he was “worried” in the hours leading up to the riot.
In a text on January 5, 2021, the night before the riot, Hannity texted, “I'm very worried about the next 48 hours,” the committee letter states. The committee also says that Hannity might even have had a direct conversation with Trump on the eve of the riot.
During the riot, Hannity texted Meadows advising that Trump should “... Ask people to peacefully leave the [C]apit[o]l,” the letter states.
Hannity appeared to be concerned about Trump’s possible actions before the inauguration.
The committee also claims that Hannity appears to have had a discussion with Trump on January 10, 2021, that might have raised concerns about Trump’s possible actions before President Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.
“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 in a text to Meadows and Congressman Jim Jordan, the letter states.
Hannity’s lawyer says that the committee is violating the First Amendment.
Hannity’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said the committee’s request raised “serious constitutional issues including First Amendment concerns regarding freedom of the press,” The New York Times reports.
After canceling his January 6, 2022, Mar-a-Lago press conference, Trump blamed the committee and the “Fake News Media” for what he says is “total bias and dishonesty,” The Independent reports.