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Fox News hosts blast House committee for releasing Jan. 6 text messages they sent to Meadows
Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham on Tuesday night lashed out at the Jan. 6 committee for releasing text messages the Fox News hosts sent to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows during the attack on the Capitol.
The messages, provided by Meadows to the committee and read aloud Monday evening by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., during a meeting of the investigative panel, showed at least three Fox News hosts were urging Meadows to have then President Donald Trump call off the rioters and end the violence.
Hannity on Tuesday said his text message asking “Can [Trump] make a statement asking people to leave the Capitol?” was “one of” the texts he sent to Meadows on Jan. 6. But he focused his criticism on what he called the committee’s partisan work and said the release of his texts was an invasion of privacy.
“I am an honest straightforward person. I say the same thing in private that I say to all of you. Liz Cheney knows this. She doesn’t seem to care. She’s interested in one thing and one thing only — smearing Donald Trump and purging him from the party.”
The nine-member committee includes two Republicans: Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Hannity, who criticized the 2020 presidential election process in the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack, did not address the texts on Monday’s broadcast of his show in which he interviewed Meadows, after the messages were made public.
Cheney on Monday also read from a text Ingraham sent to Meadows.
“Mark, the president needs to tell the people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy,” Ingraham texted.
On her Tuesday night show, Ingraham said the House committee and media reports have misrepresented her actions on Jan. 6.
“The entire Jan. 6 campaign has become one of revenge and defamation, of false characterization and false equivalencies,” she said.
Ingraham also directed her ire toward Cheney, saying the release of the texts “ignores the facts of that day.”
Among Ingraham’s public remarks after the Jan. 6 attack was a suggestion that antifa was partly responsible for the violence.
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade also texted Meadows during the riot.
“Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished,” Kilmeade texted.
Cheney and other members of the Jan. 6 committee released the text messages ahead of advancing a criminal contempt referral for Meadows after he defied a subpoena to testify. The House voted on Tuesday evening to refer the measure to the Justice Department, which will then decide whether to pursue the matter.
Some of the texts to Meadows also came from GOP lawmakers who apparently worked to delay or halt the counting of electoral votes. The lawmakers were not named by the committee.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters on Tuesday that he was not in personal contact with Meadows or any other White House officials on Jan. 6.
“But I do think we’re both watching, as you are, what is unfolding on the House side,” he said. “And it will be interesting to reveal all of the participants who were involved.”
Julie Tsirkin contributed.