Several Fox News hosts attempted to prod President Trump to intervene when his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to text messages revealed by the House committee investigating the attack.
Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican and vice chair of the committee, read to the panel several of the exchanges between the hosts and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
“Multiple Fox News host knew the president needed to act immediately,” Ms. Cheney said at the hearing Monday evening when the panel unanimously voted to hold Mr. Meadows in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the investigation.
“Please get him on TV,” read one exchanged between Mr. Meadows and Fox’s Brian Kilmeade as the events unfolded. “Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
Laura Ingraham warned Mr. Meadows amid the chaos that Mr. Trump was “destroying his legacy.”
“Mark, the President needs to tell people in the Capitol to go Home,” she said. “This is hurting all of us.”
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Sean Hannity pressed Mr. Meadows to have Mr. Trump make a statement to deescalate the situation.
“Can he make a statement, ask people to leave the Capitol,” Mr. Hannity asked.
The texts were part of a trove of documents Mr. Meadows turned over to the committee before he abruptly withdrew his cooperation with the probe.
In another exchange, Donald Trump Jr. and Mr. Meadows discussed the need for the president to condemn the attack.
“These text messages leave no doubt, the White House knew exactly what was happening here at the Capitol,” Ms. Cheney said.
Mr. Meadows is the third former official the committee has voted to hold in contempt in response to their claims of immunity rooted in Mr. Trump’s claims of executive privilege.
The matter now proceeds to the full House for a vote. If passed, a criminal referral will be forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s office recommending Mr. Meadows’ prosecution.