On Jan. 6, Liz Cheney revealed to Trump's chief of staff text exchanges between the president's son, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.
In Monday night's committee hearing, it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr., along with Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, pleaded with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to urge the president to give a national speech and put an end to the Capitol riot.
“He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP,” Donald Trump Jr. texted Meadows. “The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.”
“I’m pushing it hard. I agree,” Meadows responded.
“We need an Oval Office address. He has to leave now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand,” the president’s son responded.
An assistant to Donald Trump Jr. declined to comment on the newly revealed conversation, which was one of several with Meadows that Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a member of the House select committee investigating the violence on Jan. 6, read aloud at the meeting. According to Cheney, Donald Trump Jr. texted Meadows "again and again."
Meadows was reportedly texted by a number of Fox News personalities pleading with the president to intervene.
Trump's close associate "Can he make a statement?" Hannity texted. Request that everyone vacate the Capitol." "Mark, the president needs to order those at the Capitol to go home," Ingraham tweeted. This is causing us all pain. He's sabotaging his own legacy."
"Please, get him on TV," Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade texted. "I'm going to destroy all you've done."
In the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot, Ingraham, Hannity, and Kilmeade all argued that left-wing demonstrators were responsible for the violence or that America deserved it for exposing then-President Donald Trump to the Russia inquiry.
“We knew this would happen when you had a huge group of people descending on Capitol Hill, when you have members of the Trump support organizations and antifa threatening to show up at the same time,” Ingraham exclaimed on Jan. 6.
“We’ll learn more to the extent that that happened. I’m getting a sense that there’s clearly a big split in the MAGA groups that have come to peacefully protest with whoever is behind this intrusion in the Capitol, which by any account is unacceptable.”
That afternoon on his radio broadcast, Hannity agreed with a caller who firmly asserted that antifa was to blame for the chaos at the Capitol, adding that he "heard these stories that they might even wear MAGA garb" and that he didn't "know who the guys are" rushing the building.
The Trump ally and unofficial adviser, who had spent weeks prior bolstering his pal's unfounded "stolen" election narrative, suggested it was likely that "bad actors" from the "radical left" entered the mob on his primetime show that night.
After admitting that he "doesn't know any Trump fans who have ever displayed violence in a significant circumstance," Kilmeade cited the Russia investigation as a major role in driving MAGA supporters to violence.
“I think this is a culmination of four years of them denying that their president won the election, claiming that the Russians flipped votes, this is four years of investigation, four years of a very frustrated electorate, 75 million that voted,” the Fox & Friends star fumed. “They feel that they have not had their day in court, let alone lost in court.”
Even though Hannity hosted Meadows to discuss the committee's contempt decision, neither Hannity nor Ingraham acknowledged the text messages on their broadcasts Monday night. A request for comment from Fox News was not returned.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) revealed during the committee hearing that investigators are also looking into text messages Meadows received from fellow politicians. "The committee is not naming these politicians at this time, as our inquiry is ongoing," the congressman stated before reading them aloud.
While several frantic politicians merely appealed with Trump to end the siege, one text from a member of Congress offered a strategy to sabotage legislative certification of the 2020 election results.
“On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all,” it read.
Another message from a different lawmaker showed how their main regret was not the Jan. 6 violence but the inability to stop Joe Biden from becoming president.
“Yesterday was a terrible day. We tried everything we could in our objection to the six states. I’m sorry nothing worked,” it said.
After the recitation of the text messages, the House committee unanimously voted to recommend that Meadows be cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to show up and testify after receiving a subpoena.
The committee had already done the same to former White House adviser Stephen Bannon and ex-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.
“History will be written about these times, about the work this committee has undertaken. And history will not look upon any of you as martyrs,” Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, the Democrat who chairs the committee, said, mentioning Bannon, Clark, and Meadows by name.
“History will not dwell on your long list of privilege claims or your sleight of hand… I predict that history won’t be kind to those people.”
Cheney said Meadows’ testimony was necessary to fully understand Trump’s “extreme dereliction of duty” during the insurrection.
“Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s proceedings?” she asking, citing the federal code for “obstruction of proceedings” nearly word for word in an apparent nod to the potential for criminal charges against the ex-president.
Meadows was originally scheduled to appear for a deposition on Oct. 15, but after his counsel sought more time, the two sides began a nearly two-month-long negotiating process.
He eventually handed over approximately 9,000 pages of documents, including emails and texts from personal accounts and devices. However, he enraged the committee by refusing to appear in person before the committee to answer questions under oath behind closed doors.
“It’s time to see if the Department of Justice can be more persuasive. No one is above the law, not even the president’s chief of staff,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican on the committee.
Asawin Suebsaeng contributed to this report.