Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham lashed out at the Jan. 6 committee Tuesday night for releasing text messages they sent to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows during the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The messages — provided to the committee by Meadows and read aloud Monday evening by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., during a committee meeting — showed that at least three Fox News hosts were urging Meadows to get President Donald Trump to call off the rioters and end the violence on Jan. 6.
Hannity said Tuesday that a message asking whether Trump could "make a statement asking people to leave the Capitol" was "one of" the texts he sent to Meadows. But he focused his criticism on what he described as the committee’s partisan work, and he said the release of his texts was an invasion of privacy.
“I am an honest, straightforward person. I say the same thing in private that I say to all of you. Liz Cheney knows this. She doesn’t seem to care. She’s interested in one thing and one thing only — smearing Donald Trump and purging him from the party,” Hannity said.
The nine-member committee includes two Republicans: Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Hannity, who criticized the 2020 presidential election process in the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack, did not address the texts on Monday's broadcast, in which he interviewed Meadows after the messages had been made public.
Cheney on Monday also read from a text that Ingraham sent to Meadows.
"Mark, the president needs to tell the people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy," Ingraham texted.
Ingraham said on her show Tuesday night that the committee and media reports have misrepresented her actions on Jan. 6.
“The entire Jan. 6 campaign has become one of revenge and defamation, of false characterization and false equivalencies,” she said.
Ingraham also directed her ire toward Cheney, saying the release of the texts “ignores the facts of that day.”
Ingraham suggested publicly after the Jan. 6 attack that "antifa" was partly responsible for the violence.
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade also texted Meadows during the riot.
"Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished," he texted.
Cheney and other members of the Jan. 6 committee released the messages before they advanced a criminal contempt referral for Meadows after he defied a subpoena to testify. The House voted Tuesday evening to refer the measure to the Justice Department, which will decide whether to pursue the matter.
Some of the texts also came from GOP lawmakers who apparently worked to delay or halt the counting of electoral votes. The committee did not name the lawmakers.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday that he was not in personal contact with Meadows or any other White House officials on Jan. 6.
"But I do think we're both watching, as you are, what is unfolding on the House side," he said. "And it will be interesting to reveal all of the participants who were involved."