Fox News hosts texted Mark Meadows during the January 6 attack

On January 6, three prominent Fox News presenters sent worried texts to Mark Meadows, President Donald J. Trump’s last chief of staff, urging him to persuade the president to take the riot seriously and make an effort to stop it.

The texts were released on Monday, shortly before the House committee reviewing the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill voted 9-0 in favor of recommending that Mr Meadows be charged with contempt of Congress. Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, read text messages aloud.

The texts, which are part of a treasure trove of 9,000 documents Mr Meadows handed over before he ceased to cooperate with the investigation, were sent to the former White House chief of staff by Laura Ingraham , host of the nighttime show “The Ingraham Angle”; Sean Hannity, a longtime prime-time host who has previously appeared on stage with Mr. Trump at a campaign rally; and Brian Kilmeade, host of the morning show “Fox & Friends”.

“Mark, the president needs to tell the people on Capitol Hill to go home,” Ms. Ingraham wrote. “It hurts us all. He destroys his heritage.

Mr. Kilmeade echoed this concern by texting Mr. Meadows: “Please put it on TV. Destroy everything you have accomplished.

Sean Hannity wrote: “Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol.

Ms Ingraham’s text contrasted with what she said on her Fox News show in the hours following the attack, when she promoted the false theory that antifa members were involved.

“From chaotic Washington tonight, earlier today, Capitol Hill was under siege by people who can only be described as antithetical to the MAGA movement,” Ms. Ingraham said in the Jan. 6 episode. “Now they probably weren’t all Trump supporters, and there are reports that anti-Fa supporters may have been strewn across the crowd.”

Ms Ingraham went on to cite “legitimate concerns about how these elections went,” while adding that any dissatisfaction with the vote should not have resulted in violence.

Mr. Hannity, a former informal adviser to Mr. Trump, condemned the attack, saying at the top of his Jan. 6 broadcast: “Today’s perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted with full force of the law. He also said the nation must do more to protect law enforcement and political representatives.

On the question of who was responsible, Mr Hannity said: “I don’t care if the radical left, the radical right – I don’t know who they are. These are not people I would support. So how were officials not prepared? We have to answer this question. How did they allow the Capitol building to be pierced in what appeared to be less than a few minutes? “

He also referred to the 2020 election, the results of which had been questioned by Mr. Trump and his supporters in the weeks leading up to the riot, although there was no evidence of widespread fraud.

“Our election, frankly, was a train wreck,” Mr. Hannity said. According to Gallup, 83% of Republicans and millions more don’t trust these election results. You can’t just snap your fingers and hope it goes away.

Fox News representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the 11 months since the attack, Fox News hosts who appear in the morning and in prime time have often downplayed the events of January 6, with some likening them to violence during widespread protests against racism and the police. violence in the summer of 2020.

Last month, Tucker Carlson, the host of Fox News with the largest audience, produced a three-part documentary, “Patriot Purge,” for the Fox Nation streaming platform that contained the false claim that the January 6 attack was a “false flag”. operation intended to demonize the political right.

More than 500 people have been arrested in connection with the pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill. Mr. Carlson falsely claimed in the documentary that “Jan. 6 is used as a pretext to deprive millions of Americans – disadvantaged Americans – of their basic constitutional rights.

Long-time presenter Chris Wallace resigned from Fox News on Sunday after 18 years to take a job at CNN. Ahead of its brutal release, he expressed his concern about the documentary during discussions with management.

Two longtime Fox News contributors, Conservative commentators Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, resigned last month to protest the Carlson special, calling it “totally outrageous” and saying it “will lead to violence” .

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