Jan. 6 panel seeks Sean Hannity's voluntary assistance in Capitol inquiry; committee calls Fox News host 'fact witness'

The special House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is seeking the voluntary cooperation of Fox News host Sean Hannity in its continuing inquiry.

Panel leaders referred to Hannity as a "fact witness" in the investigation, indicating that he "had advance knowledge regarding President Trump’s and his legal team’s planning for January 6th."

"It also appears that you were expressing concerns and providing advice to the President and certain White House staff regarding that planning. You also had relevant communications while the riot was underway, and in the days thereafter," the committee said in a letter released late Tuesday.

Separately, the committee referred to text messages Hannity allegedly sent to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows citing press accounts about a possible effort by Donald Trump's cabinet to remove him from office under terms of the 25th Amendment.

"We would like to question you regarding any conversations you had with Mr. Meadows or others about any effort to remove the President under the 25th Amendment," the committee's letter states.

President Donald Trump and Sean Hannity during a 2018 rally in Missouri.

Hannity was one of a number of Fox personalities to send text messages to Meadows during the siege, urging him to push then-President Donald Trump to call off the mob.

Rep. Liz Cheney:Trump 'clearly unfit' for future office, citing his refusal to stop Jan. 6 attack on Capitol

More:Mark Meadows' texts reveal what the White House knew about the danger in the Capitol on Jan. 6. Here's what they said.

Axios first reported the development earlier Tuesday.

Fox News, responding to a USA TODAY inquiry, referred to a statement Hannity's attorney Jay Sekulow provided to Axios, stating that "any such request would raise serious constitutional issues including First Amendment concerns regarding freedom of the press."

In its letter, the committee noted an "immense respect for the First Amendment to our Constitution, freedom of the press, and the rights of Americans to express their political opinions freely."

"For that reason, we do not intend to seek information from you regarding your broadcasts on radio or television, your public reporting or commentary, or your political views regarding any candidate for office," the committee said.

Last month, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the committee's co-chair, referred to the text messages, including Hannity's asking Meadows whether Trump could "make a statement."

Rep. Liz Cheney is vice chair of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.

At the time, Hannity described Cheney's disclosures as "a weak attempt to smear yours truly, and presumably, President Trump"

"I said to Mark Meadows the exact same thing I was saying live on the radio at the time and on TV that night, on January 6th and well beyond January 6th," he said.