Newly released texts between former President Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows and Fox News host Sean Hannity flesh out the degree of coordination between some of the network’s hosts and the White House as Trump struggled to challenge President Biden’s electoral victory.
The more than 80 text messages, part of a broader trove of 2,319 text exchanges that Meadows provided to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and that were obtained by CNN, show Hannity initially offering direct help with “get out the vote” efforts to later waffling on various efforts by the campaign to keep Trump in office.
On Election Day, Hannity reached out to Meadows, asking about where the campaign needed encouragement to get voters to head to the polls.
“Stress every vote matters. Get out and vote. On radio,” Meadows said to Hannity after he inquired about turnout in North Carolina.
“Yes sir,” Hannity replied. “On it. Any place in particular we need a push.”
“Pennsylvania. NC AZ,” Meadows replied, later adding: “Nevada.”
All four states were hotly contested in 2020, with Biden winning Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada.
“Got it. Everywhere,” Hannity said.
The two continued to text as results were coming in that night, with Hannity noting Biden’s lead in North Carolina.
“This looks scary,” he said.
Trump did end up winning that state.
The House Jan. 6 committee has already sent a letter to Hannity asking him to voluntarily appear before the panel.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the committee, has characterized Hannity as “a confidant, adviser, campaigner for the former president.”
That letter and other documents from the committee have revealed a number of exchanges between Hannity and White House aides, showing the Fox News host’s concern over the events of Jan. 6, 2021, to his advice for “no more stolen election talk” from Trump.
The new texts show that just a week after the election, Hannity was beginning to have doubts that the Trump campaign’s efforts to contest Biden’s win would be successful.
“You really think it’s possible. I’m beginning to feel down. To much disorganization,” Hannity wrote on Nov. 10, 2020.
“Arizona now down just 12,813. Still ballots to count. Very disorganized but I have been busting heads yesterday and today. Let NOT your heart be troubled my friend,” Meadows responded.
Fox News was the first network to project Biden as the winner of Arizona on election night, a call that infuriated the White House.
The latest texts also show Hannity vacillating on Trump’s election efforts even as he expresses doubt about Biden’s victory and says he intends to have his team investigate.
“I’ve had my team digging into the numbers. There is no way Biden got these numbers. Just mathematically impossible. It’s so sad for this country they can pull this off in 2020. We need a major breakthrough, a video, something,” Hannity texted to Meadows on Nov. 29.
“You’re exactly right. Working on breakthrough,” Meadows replied.
“Ok. Would be phenomenal,” Hannity responded.
By Dec. 8, Hannity was acknowledging some concern about various legal strategies employed by Trump’s team.
“Texas case is very strong. Still a Herculean climb. Everyone knows it was stolen. Everyone,” Hannity said, apparently referencing a Texas case challenging election results in four states that was thrown out after the Supreme Court determined they did not have standing to bring the case.
“I vacillate between mad as hell and sad as hell. Wtf happened to our country Mark,” he continued.
He also took digs at those pushing Trump’s case.
“You fighting is fine,” he told Meadows as the chief of staff was preparing a trip to Georgia to visit those conducting an audit of absentee ballots.
“The fing lunatics is NOT fine. They are NOT helping him. I’m fed up with those people.”
The texts also show other Fox New hosts contacting Meadows.
At one point, Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo lays out specific questions for Trump ahead of an interview. While not uncommon for reporters to lay out topics they’d like to discuss, Bartiromo suggests specific messages Trump should convey in his responses.
“Hi the public wants to know he will fight this. They want to hear a path to victory. & he’s in control,” Bartiromo texted. “1Q You’ve said MANY TIMES THIS ELECTION IS RIGGED… And the facts are on your side. Let’s start there. What are the facts? Characterize what took place here.”
“Then I will drill down on the fraud including the statistical impossibilities of Biden magic (federalist). Pls make sure he doesn’t go off on tangents. We want to know he is strong he is a fighter & he will win. This is no longer about him. This is about ????. I will ask him about big tech & media influencing ejection as well Toward end I’ll get to GA runoffs & then vaccines.”
Tucker Carlson also briefly makes an appearance, responding to Meadows after apparently wishing to clarify something with the chief of staff.
“Sorry I missed you. I was writing the show. Figured it out I think, but I appreciate it,” Carlson said.