Ginni Thomas Denies Discussing Election Subversion Efforts With Her Husband

Author: Yuvi September 30, 2022

Ginni Thomas Denies Discussing Election Subversion Efforts With Her Husband


WASHINGTON — Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative activist who pushed to overturn the 2020 election, told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that she never discussed those efforts with her husband, during a closed-door interview in which she continued to perpetuate the false claim that the election was stolen.

Leaving the interview, which took place at an office building near the Capitol and lasted about four hours, Ms. Thomas smiled in response to reporters’ questions, but declined to answer any publicly.

She did, however, answer questions behind closed doors, said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, who added that her testimony could be included in an upcoming hearing.

“If there’s something of merit, it will be,” he said.

During her interview, Ms. Thomas, who goes by Ginni, repeated her assertion that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald J. Trump, Mr. Thompson said, a belief she insisted upon in late 2020 as she pressured state legislators and the White House chief of staff to do more to try to invalidate the results.

In a statement she read at the beginning of her testimony, Ms. Thomas denied having discussed her post-election activities with her husband, according to the conservative media outlet The Federalist, which published her prepared comments.

The interview ended months of negotiations between the committee and Ms. Thomas over his testimony. The committee’s investigators had grown particularly interested in her communications with John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who was in close contact with Mr. Trump and wrote a memo that Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans have liked to a blueprint for a coup.

“At this point, we’re glad she came,” Mr. Thompson said.

After Ms. Thomas’s appearance on Thursday, her lawyer Mark Paoletta said she had been “happy to cooperate with the committee to clear up the misconceptions about her activities surrounding the 2020 elections.”

“She answered all the committee’s questions,” Mr. Paoletta said in a statement. “As she has said from the outlet, Mrs. Thomas had significant concerns about fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election. And, as she told the committee, her minimal and mainstream activity focused on ensuring that reports of fraud and irregularities were investigated. Beyond that, she played no role in any events after the 2020 election results. As she wrote in a text to Mark Meadows at the time, she also condemned the violence on Jan. 6, as she abhors violence on any side of the aisle.”

A prepared for the committee declined to comment.

Ms. Thomas exchanged text messages with Mr. Meadows, the White House chief of staff, in which she urged him to challenge Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the 2020 election, which she called a “heist,” and indicated that she had reached out to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, about Mr. Trump’s efforts to use the courts to keep himself in power. She even suggested the lawyer who should be put in charge of that effort.

Ms. Thomas also pressed lawmakers in several states to fight the results of the election.

But it was Ms. Thomas’s interactions with Mr. Eastman, a conservative lawyer who pushed Vice President Mike Pence to block or delay the certification of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021, that have most interested investigators.

How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

“She’s a witness,” Mr. Thompson said Thursday. “We didn’t accuse her of anything.”

The panel obtained at least one email between Ms. Thomas and Mr. Eastman after a federal judge ordered Mr. Eastman to turn over documents to the panel from the period after the November 2020 election when he was meeting with conservative groups to discuss fighting the election results.

That same judge has said it is “more likely than not” that Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman committed two felonies as part of the effort, including conspiracy to defraud the American people.

Mr. Paoletta has argued that the communications between Ms. Thomas and Mr. Eastman contains little of value to the panel’s investigation.

Ms. Thomas’s cooperation comes as the Jan. 6 committee is entering its final months of work after a summer of high-profile hearings and preparing an extensive report, which is expected to include recommendations for how to confront the threats to democracy highlighted by the riot and Mr. Trump’s drive to overturn the election.

The interview came just days after the panel abruptly postponed a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, citing the hurricane bearing down on Florida. The hearing has yet to be rescheduled.

Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the committee, said Ms. Thomas’s interview showed that “people continue to cooperate with the committee and understand the importance of our investigation.”

The panel has interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and has received hundreds of thousands of documents and more than 10,000 submissions to its tip line since June.

“There’s a lot more information coming in all the time,” Mr. Raskin said.

He said the committee members have viewed thousands of hours’ worth of video images and tape but want to be “disciplined” about how they present them in the next hearing.

“There are certain people who are going to denounce whatever we do, no matter what,” he said. “We just want to be able to complete the narrative and then deliver our recommendations about what needs to be done in order to insulate American democracy against coups, insurrection, political violence and electoral sabotage in the future.”

Maggie Haberman and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

30 September, 2022, 2:45 am

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