January 6 panel seeks interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity

A House committee investigating the January 6 US Capitol insurrection has requested an interview and information from Fox News host Sean Hannity

Fox News' Sean Hannity has been requested to speak with the US House committee investigating the January 6 US Capitol insurrection. AP

The House panel investigating the January 6 US Capitol insurrection on Tuesday requested an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, one of former president Donald Trump's closest allies in the media, as the committee continues to widen its scope.

In a letter to Mr Hannity, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, said the panel wants to question him regarding his communications with Mr Trump, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and others in Trump’s orbit in the days surrounding the insurrection.

Jay Sekulow, Hannity's lawyer, told The Associated Press on Tuesday night that they are reviewing the committee’s letter and "will respond as appropriate.”

In his letter, Mr Thompson said: “The Select Committee has immense respect for the First Amendment to our Constitution, freedom of the press, and the rights of Americans to express their political opinions freely. For that reason, we do not intend to seek information from you regarding your broadcasts on radio or television, your public reporting or commentary, or your political views regarding any candidate for office.”

However, the chairman said, the committee also has a responsibility to investigate the dozens of text messages it has in its possession, from December 31, 2020, to January 20, 2021, between Mr Hannity, Mr Trump and Mr Meadows regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and Mr Trump's failed efforts to contest it.

One specific December 2020 text from Mr Hannity to Mr Meadows highlighted in the letter reads: “I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6 th. (sic) He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen.”

The letter to Mr Hannity also highlights texts from the night before the insurrection, including one in which Hannity said he was “very worried about the next 48 hours” and another to Mr Meadows in which he wrote, “Pence pressure. WH counsel will leave.”

The letter says it appears from other text messages that Mr Hannity may have spoken directly with Mr Trump on January 5 regarding planning for the following day.

Mr Hannity had previously criticised the violence that took place last January 6. But he’s also been sharply critical of the committee and its work, saying on the air December13 after his texts were revealed: “We’ve been telling you that this is a waste of your time and money. They have a predetermined outcome.”

He also complained about committee member Liz Cheney publicizing his texts. “Do we believe in privacy in this country? Apparently not.”

Updated: January 5th 2022, 1:32 AM