Awww, are Donald Trump and Sean Hannity having a widdle spat?
The Fox News personality’s group chat is causing him all sorts of problems.
We’re closing in on one year since former President Donald Trump urged his propaganda-addled supporters to storm the halls of Congress in a failed coup designed to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In the months between then and now, we’ve learned a lot about just what happened that day, leading to the inexorable conclusion that the Jan. 6 insurrection was not simply an impromptu phenomenon, but the intended outcome of careful planning and incitement on the part of the then-president and his enablers — including, as we learned this week, Fox News A-lister Sean Hannity.
In a letter to Hannity from the bipartisan congressional committee investigating the insurrection, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who are leading the committee, zero in on the longtime Trump friend-cum-informal-adviser’s communications with the White House, writing, “The Select Committee is in possession of dozens of text messages you sent to and received from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and others related to the 2020 election and President Trump’s efforts to contest the outcome of the vote.”
“At this time, we are specifically focused on a series of your communications with President Trump, White House staff, and President Trump’s legal team between Dec. 31, 2020, and Jan. 20, 2021,” the committee heads said.
And just what was Hannity saying behind the scenes, even while publicly, and very enthusiastically, hyping the “Stop the Steal” rally that would become the insurrectionist mob during his eponymous Fox News show? Per the committee:
For example, on Dec. 31, 2020, you texted [White House Chief of Staff Mark] Meadows the following:
“We can’t lose the entire WH counsels office. 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 [Florida] and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen.”
Elsewhere in the letter to Hannity, the committee noted that that “you appear also to have detailed knowledge regarding President Trump’s state of mind in the days following the Jan. 6 attack.”
“For example,” they continue, “you appear to have had a discussion with President Trump on Jan. 10 that may have raised a number of specific concerns about his possible actions in the days before the Jan. 20 inaugural. You wrote to Mark Meadows and [Ohio Rep. Jim] Jordan: ‘Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in nine 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?’”
So, while Hannity was using the time ahead of Jan. 6, 2021, to gleefully throw his considerable clout behind Trump’s fabricated claims of a stolen election, he was sending frantic text messages to the president and his inner circle that suggest he was fully aware that something bad was brewing. And naturally, now that Hannity’s apparent doubts have been aired publicly, Trump has put Hannity on his extremely fickle shit-list.
“I disagree with Sean on that statement [that he should stop mentioning the election],” Trump told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins through a spokesperson Tuesday. “The facts are proving me right.”
In a sense, he may be right. Because while the facts of the actual election show zero sign of meaningful fraud, the facts of Trump’s spurious bleats about the Big Lie have indeed proven to be extremely effective at establishing the latest conservative trend: purging non-Trumpian disbelievers from the GOP’s ranks ahead of both the midterms, and 2024 presidential race.
Hannity, for his part, is reportedly exploring how best to respond to the committee’s request for his cooperation. But that hasn’t stopped him from publicly whining about the airing of his extremely dirty laundry. On Tuesday, during his nightly Fox News broadcast, Hannity insisted the committee’s letter was a “weak attempt to smear” him, and — addressing Cheney directly — challenged her to “release your phone records and texts and your family discussing Donald Trump, considering you're so free to release everybody else’s.”