In a release from the committee on Tuesday, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said they were requesting that Hannity, a frequent Trump apologist, voluntarily answer questions from the committee, including about his communications with then-President Donald Trump, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and others surrounding the assault on the Capitol during a joint session of Congress.
In a letter to Hannity, the committee members said that he appeared to have “advance knowledge” of Trump and his team’s “planning for January 6th” and also had been “expressing concerns and providing advice” to Trump and White House staff, including “while the riot was underway.”
“On January 5th, the night before the violent riot, you sent and received a stream of texts,” the committee wrote to the Fox News host. “You wrote: ‘Im very worried about the next 48 hours.’ With the counting of the electoral votes scheduled for January 6th at 1 p.m., why were you concerned about the next 48 hours?”
Last month, the committee revealed text messages from Hannity to Meadows during the pro-Trump riot in which Hannity said Trump should “ask people to peacefully leave the Capitol.”
Lawyers for Hannity told ABC News that they were “evaluating the letter from the committee” and “remain very concerned about the constitutional implications especially as it relates to the 1st amendment.”
On Jan. 6, 2021, an armed mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were gathered to conduct the pro forma certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote, which had made Democrat Joe Biden the presidential victor over Trump. Just before the riot, Trump had incited the crowd at a National Mall rally claiming the November election had been stolen from him. Five people died in the mayhem, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Last month, Meadows filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and members of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, claiming he cannot provide information for their inquiry based on claims of executive privilege. President Biden as well as several judges have repeatedly rejected Trump’s own requests to assert executive privilege to keep information about his role in the assault secret.
“We have no doubt that you love our country and respect our Constitution,” the committee wrote to Hannity. “Now is the time to step forward and serve the interests of your country. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.”