Did Sean Hannity know about Jan 6 insurrection? Texts to WH reveal he was ‘worried’
In a letter asking Fox host to cooperate with the investigation, the committee releases texts Hannity sent to Mark Meadows
With the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection fast approaching, the House Select Committee investigating the coup has called on Sean Hannity to step forward and testify. In a letter published on January 4, 2021, Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney asked Hannity to cooperate revealing he appears to have had some knowledge of the day's events, based on texts he sent to Mark Meadows.
Hannity is the latest Republican to be trapped in the investigation's crosshairs thanks to Meadows, who did hand over thousands of documents to the committee while refusing to testify. The former White House Chief of Staff has quickly emerged as the central thread in the investigation, with his documents revealing key facts about what the White House knew and when they knew it.
It's unclear at the moment if Hannity will cooperate with the investigation. Given that many like Steve Bannon, Dan Scavino, and other Trump loyalists preferred contempt charges over cooperation, it's hard to see Hannity complying with the request. Going by the texts though, he could prove to be a key witness for the investigation.
Did Sean Hannity know about insurrection?
In their three-page letter, the committee revealed Hannity had "advance knowledge" of the January 6 coup, leading him to "express concern" about the efforts. For example, on December 31, 2020, he texted Meadows, "We can't lose the entire WH counsels office. I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told." Then on January 5, 2021, he texted, "I am very worried about the next 48 hours." The messages have prompted the committee to ask, "what precisely did you know at the time?"
Even as the attack on the Capitol unfolded, it appears Hannity was in touch with Meadows and the White House. In one, he said Trump should "ask people to peacefully leave the Capitol." Post the insurrection too, it appears Hannity was in close contact with the White House and even had "detailed knowledge regarding President Trump's state of mind in the days following the January 6th attack." On January 10, he reportedly texted Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan that he spoke to Trump, saying, "I'm not sure what's left to do or say, and I don't like not knowing if he's truly understood."
The texts clearly indicate Hannity had very close ties to the Trump administration, but so far he's only been tied to Meadows and Jordan. We know Fox hosts Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade were also in touch with the White House at the time, so it does appear as if the Trump White House extended its influence to Fox News. The full extent of that will only come to light if Hannity testifies, which does seem like a possibility.
"We are reviewing the committee's letter and will respond as appropriate," Hannity's attorney Jay Sekulow told CNN. The committee has not given the Fox host a deadline by which to respond, but they have made it very clear they are only interested in his communication with the White House. We should have an answer soon, and if Hannity does step forward, it could prove to be the catalyst for others to do so.