Sen. Blumenthal: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should appear before Jan 6 panel
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' wife Virginia urged aides to then-president Donald Trump to vigorously challenge the 2020 election results. Some Democrats want her before the Jan. 6 committee.
- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' wife texted with Trump aides after Biden won the 2020 race.
- Virginia Thomas urged White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to challenge the election results.
- Some Democrats want the justice and his wife to speak to the House panel probing the Jan. 6 attack.
WASHINGTON – Sen. Richard Blumenthal is calling for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to "voluntarily" appear before Congress to answer questions about his wife's communications with the White House regarding efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
And Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the justice should recuse himself from any cases related to the January 6th investigation, saying his wife's apparent role in trying to reverse the outcome constitutes a "conflict of interest."
The requests from the two senators come on the heels of news reports first published by the Washington Post and CBS News that Virginia Thomas "repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts" to challenge the presidential contest that Joe Biden won over Donald Trump.
The news organizations obtained a series of text messages between Meadows and Thomas, who goes by Ginni, in the days following Biden's victory. At that time, Trump and his lawyers strongly considered their arguments to the high court in an effort to undo the results.
USA TODAY has not independently viewed the messages.
Blumenthal, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CBS that Justice Thomas should "voluntarily appear" before the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol to discuss what he knew. USA TODAY confirmed Blumenthal's statement with his office.
Blumenthal has not formally asked the committee to invite the justice nor does he have any power to compel Thomas' appearance before the House panel which is reviewing the text messages and other communications Meadows had in the weeks following the election.
The texts are dated from early November 2020 to mid-January 2021, various outlets reported Thursday.
Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the Jan. 6 committee, responded to USA TODAY with a "no comment" Friday when asked about Blumenthal's suggestion.
But apparently the issue of inviting or even subpoenaing Ginni Thomas has been discussed by at least two unnamed members of the committee, a person familiar with the committee told USA TODAY.
Raskin said he's not been a party to or is even aware of any discussions to question the justice's wife. But broadly, he said the committee's mission is to find the truth about what led up the attempted insurrection.
"We're investigating a coordinated attack on on our election in our democracy that has two components: one is a violent insurrection from the outside and the other is a series of aggressive moves to overturn our constitutional processes on the inside and replace them with a set of counterfeit moves and decisions," he told USA TODAY
"The attempted inside coup against democracy depended on a set of lies and fraudulent arguments," he said. "And I'm definitely interested in (learning about) any efforts to legitimize those arguments through the courts and the law."
In a statement issued Friday, Wyden said Thomas should remove himself not only from any rulings involving the Jan. 6 attack, but also cases related to the 2024 election should Trump be a candidate.
“Judges are obligated to recuse themselves when their participation in a case would create even the appearance of a conflict of interest," Wyden said. "A person with an ounce of commonsense could see that bar is met here."
“Justice Thomas participated in cases related to Donald Trump’s efforts to rig and then overturn the 2020 election, while his wife was pushing to do the same," the Oregon Democrat wrote in the statement." He was the lone dissent in a case that could have denied the January 6th Committee records pertaining to the same plot his wife supported."