Fox News’s Sean Hannity became the latest target of the House Select Committee on Jan. 6 Tuesday when the prime-time host was sought to answer questions over text messages sent four days after the Capitol riot.
“We have a solemn responsibility to investigate fully the facts and circumstances of these events in order to inform our legislative recommendations,” the committee wrote in a letter despite operating with no legislative purpose. “Thus, we write today to seek your voluntary cooperation on a specific and narrow range of factual questions.”
While short of a congressional subpoena, which the committee has questionable grounds to issue in the first place, the committee’s targeting of a nighttime television host and private citizen exposes the probe’s true purpose. Rather than investigate the security failures at the Capitol, with all evidence pointing to the House speaker’s negligence and FBI malfeasance, the show-trial committee has instead placed its focus on seeking retribution against political dissidents with punishment for any and all who possess the slightest affiliation with the former Republican president. Hannity is no exception.
In its Tuesday letter, the committee highlighted a series of exchanges between the Fox News star and former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows unearthed in an earlier subpoena of Meadows’ records. In the five text messages cited by the committee, only one bears any direct relation to the Capitol turmoil wherein Hannity wrote Trump should “ask people to peacefully leave the [C]apit[o]l,” as the riot unfolded, which the president did in a message promptly censored across social media.
Three text messages dated before the riot appear to emphasize Hannity’s concerns over the president’s strategy to turn the election, and another text dated Jan. 10, days after the riot, reveals a frustrated host complaining of a bad phone call with the president. None have to do with the riot at the Capitol — which Democrats claim in their latest conspiracy was orchestrated by the president and his co-conspirators — let alone the complex security failures.
The texts, however, play to the Democrats’ strategy to conflate those who took issue with an election saturated in errors with being complicit in the couple-hour riot at the Capitol.
The committee has escalated its surveillance of private citizens with no connection to the riot in recent weeks with subpoenas of telecom companies allowing partisan investigators to comb through the personal communications of those it wishes to drag in a prime-time show trial.
At the same time, meaningful oversight of the investigation and the involvement of federal agencies on Jan. 6 has been blocked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her self-admittedly “unprecedented” move to bar Republican appointments on the Select Committee. The panel’s appointed ranking member, distinguished Afghanistan veteran and chair of the Republican Study Committee Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., has run the Republicans’ own investigation after being unilaterally denied participation by the speaker. Pelosi’s deputies in the House, however, have refused cooperation with the Republican probe as the speaker obscures a genuine review of the events of Jan. 6.
President Joe Biden’s federal agencies have followed suit, refusing requests by Republican investigators for documents that were sent to the Select Committee.