Jan. 6 panel calls Ginni Thomas to testify
The Jan. 6 committee has invited Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to testify about her connections to Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the election, panel chair Rep. Bennie Thompson told reporters Thursday.
“We have sent Ms. Thomas a letter asking [her] to come and talk to the committee,” Thompson (D-Miss.) said.
Thompson’s comments come after he and Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) agreed Thursday that the committee needed to delve into Thomas’ role. Thompson’s remarks and Cheney’s agreement — confirmed to POLITICO by an aide — coincided with news reports suggesting Thomas had been in touch with at least one key architect of Trump’s bid to cling to power: Attorney John Eastman.
The emails might come up “at some point” in their hearings, Thompson said earlier Thursday, though they were still in the “discovery phase.”
Thomas told the conservative-leaning Daily Caller later Thursday she was open to testifying.
“I can’t wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them,” she said.
The Washington Post and New York Times both reported late Wednesday that Thomas and Eastman had exchanged emails, though the timing of their conversations remains unclear, per the outlets. The Times also reported that Eastman had expressed, in an email with another Trump campaign attorney, insight into internal Supreme Court discussions related to the election results. The court, he said, according to the Times, was engaged in a “heated” debate about whether to take up election-related lawsuits on the eve of Jan. 6.
Eastman said in a statement that he did not discuss matters before the Supreme Court with Ginni Thomas or her husband.
“Whether or not those news accounts were true, I can categorically confirm that at no time did I discuss with Mrs. Thomas or Justice Thomas any matters pending or likely to come before the Court,” he said on the Substack email platform. The emails with Ginni Thomas, Eastman added, were related to an invitation to “give an update about election litigation to a group she met with periodically.”
The committee has faced questions about Ginni Thomas since March, when the Washington Post and CBS published text messages she exchanged with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the weeks after Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. Thomas, who appeared to espouse unfounded conspiracy theories about the results, pushed Meadows to continue fighting to reverse the outcome and indicated she had been in touch with others in Trump’s orbit.
Those texts immediately raised questions about whether Thomas had also talked to Eastman, who clerked for her husband in the 1990s. In deposition testimony from Greg Jacob, a top aide to former Vice President Mike Pence, the select committee learned that Eastman had expressed confidence that Justice Thomas would support a fringe theory that Pence could single-handedly prevent Joe Biden’s election.
Jacob told the select committee that when Eastman pushed that idea, Jacob replied, “If this case got to the Supreme Court, we’d lose 9-0, wouldn’t we, if we actually took your position and it got up there?”
Eastman said he actually believed the court would vote 7-2, Jacob recalled.
“And I said, ‘Who are the two?’ And he said, ‘Well, I think maybe Clarence Thomas.’ And I said, ‘Really? Clarence Thomas?’ And so we went through a few Thomas opinions and, finally, he acknowledged, ‘yeah, all right, it would be 9-0.’”
Eastman has declined to say whether his initial instinct about Thomas’ support was based on contacts with either Ginni Thomas or the justice himself. When the select committee asked Eastman last year about his conversation with Jacob, Eastman invoked his right to not self-incriminate, as he did more than 100 times in his deposition with the panel.