Jan. 6 committee asks Mike Pence, Sean Hannity to voluntarily cooperate with investigation

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 11:18 AM CST
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(CNN) - The committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is asking former Vice President Mike Pence and Fox News host Sean Hannity to cooperate.

Committee members want to question Pence about what he saw and heard. They want to question Hannity about texts he sent White House officials indicating he may have known what was about to happen.

The chairman of the select committee told CNN he wants Pence to voluntarily speak with the panel about what he witnessed one year ago tomorrow and the conversations leading up to that day.

“I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

Thompson said Pence certified the election despite the extreme risk from rioters, who had heard about then-President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign on his vice president to halt the process.

“His life was at risk. The vice president could not leave the Capitol of the United States because of the riot,” Thompson said.

Thompson said the risk to Pence’s life did not seem to motivate Trump to act while the Capitol was under attack.

“To take 187 minutes to say to the rioters you need to stop and go home because my vice president is in the building and his life is in danger is an absolute shame,” he said.

A spokesman for Pence declined to comment on Thompson’s remarks.

The committee also wants to speak with Hannity, saying he texted with Trump, then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and others in the days surrounding Jan. 6.

“We have so many of these texts and pieces of evidence indicating that he was outside of his role as a press person, acting as a political operative,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said.

Publicly, Hannity was reporting on the size of the crowd that had gathered the day before, saying “music and chanting” could be heard in the White House.

Privately, Hannity sent a message to Meadows the night before the insurrection, stating he was “very worried about the next 48 hours.”

The committee wants to know why Hannity was worried, and what, if any, prior knowledge he may have had before the Capitol riots.

“I want to make sure that everyone knows this isn’t a subpoena,” Lofgren said. “We’ve asked him to cooperate with us as a fact witness out of his sense of patriotism.”

Its members also believe the Fox News host has detailed knowledge regarding Trump’s state of mind in the days following the attack.

Hannity texted Meadows and Congressman Jim Jordan about a conversation he had with Trump four days after the insurrection.

The text read: “Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days. He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?”

Hannity’s lawyer said the host’s legal team is currently reviewing the committee’s letter to him.

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