Sean Hannity's Jan. 6 text to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, leaked by House Jan. 6 panel co-chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., has earned the Fox News host an invitation to assist the seven Democrats and two Republicans in their work on the Jan. 6 select committee.
"If true, any such request would raise serious constitutional issues, including First Amendment concerns regarding freedom of the press," Hannity's legal counsel Jay Sekulow told Axios.
Hannity has been both a fervent supporter of former President Donald Trump and a vocal critic of the Jan. 6 committee. The panel has drawn skepticism from him and many Republicans; its two Republicans have expressed strong anti-Trump views and were not among those lawmakers that party leaders first proposed be included on the panel.
Republicans have also raised concerns that the panel is an act of extreme partisanship looking to pin full responsibility for the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol on Trump, whose supporters sought to disrupt congressional certification of Joe Biden's win over Trump's repeated claims of voter fraud.
Hannity's participation would be "voluntary," according to Axios, and not mandated by congressional subpoena from the committee.
The panel, which says it has interviewed several hundred people in connection to the breach, has recommended both Steve Bannon and Meadows for contempt of Congress charges because they declined to honor subpoenas to testify — the two men both claimed executive privilege covers communications they'd had with Trump while he was the sitting president.
Hannity's private text to Meadows, leaked by Cheney in the hearing on the Meadows contempt charge, had urged Meadows to get Trump to "make a statement" and "ask people to leave the Capitol" on the day an unruly crowd overran police and surged into the historic landmark to disrupt the proceedings.
Meadows has told Newsmax the texts he shared with the Jan. 6 committee — before it moved to hold him in contempt for lack of cooperation — unwound the narrative that the president or his advisers sought to support an alleged "insurrection."
Hannity condemned the storming of the Capitol that night on his program, saying "all of today's perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted."
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