But the hearing revealed new information about what Meadows initially provided to the committee: thousands of pages of documents, including text messages he received as the siege unfolded.
The vice chair of the committee, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) read a series of text messages that Fox News hosts sent to Meadows, urging him to try to get the president appear on TV and call a halt to the attack.
According to Cheney, Laura Ingraham wrote, “Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
Brian Kilmeade wrote, “Please, get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
Sean Hannity wrote, “Can he make a statement, ask people to leave the Capitol?”
But by that evening, Ingraham was casting doubt on just who was to blame for the siege. She opened her show and told viewers that the Capitol was under siege “by people who can only be described as antithetical to the MAGA movement. They are likely not all Trump supporters and there are some reports that antifa sympathizers may have been sprinkled throughout the crowd.”
Ingraham’s source for the antifa claim was a Washington Times story that quickly spread on social media, even as rioters were still trying rampaging through the Capitol. That Washington Times story, however, was thinly sourced, and retracted a day later. Although Ingraham noted the retraction on Twitter, she did not share that on air.
Since then, Ingraham mocked the January 6th Committee’s first public hearing, in which police officers testified about being attacked by rioters and the trauma they felt on that day. Ingraham handed out awards for “best performances,” accusing the officers of exaggeration or of playing partisan politics.
On his Jan. 6 show, Hannity condemned the violence and said that “all of today’s perpetrators must be arrested an prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” But he went on to call the election a “trainwreck,” and cited a Gallup poll that showed 83% “do not have faith in these election results.”
“You can’t just snap that finger and hope it goes away,” he said, adding that there were “always bad actors that will infiltrate large crowds.”
Cheney said that other text messages were sent to Meadows by the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who wrote, “He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.”
“I’m pushing it hard. I agree,” Meadows wrote back.
Trump Jr. texted Meadows again and again, Cheney said, including one message in which he wrote, “We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.”
Meadows also provided messages he received from lawmakers at the Capitol, pleading with him to get the president to take action.
Meadows, himself a former member of the House, initially provided the committee with those texts among thousands of pages of records and documents. But he’s refused to appear before the committee to answer questions.
The contempt resolution said that Meadows “has failed to comply and warrants contempt findings because he has wholly refused to appear to provide any testimony and refused to answer questions regarding even clearly non-privileged information—information that he himself has identified as non-privileged through his own document production.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the chair of the committee, said, “When the records raise questions, as these more certainly do, you have to come in and answer those questions.” Thompson noted that Meadows has written a book that goes into his conversations with Trump about that day and the events leading up to it, yet has refused to appear before the committee.
Among other things, the committee noted that Meadows “apparently knows if and when Mr. Trump was engaged in discussions regarding the National Guard’s response to the Capitol riot, a point that is contested but about which Mr. Meadows provided documents to the Select Committee and spoke publicly on national television after President Trump left office.”
The committee also cited an email that Meadows sent on Jan. 5 in which he said said that the National Guard “would be present to ‘’protect pro Trump people’’ and that many more would be available on standby.”
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