What ties does Ginni Thomas, the Supreme Court justice's wife, have to Jan. 6?
Thomas' links to Jan. 6 and her alleged involvement in trying to overturn the election have renewed questions about her activism.
- Rep. Bennie Thompson said Thursday that the committee would seek testimony from Thomas.
- Thomas, wife of a Supreme Court justice, has raised ethical questions for her husband for decades.
- Thomas' links to Jan. 6 have renewed questions about her activism.
Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, may soon offer testimony to the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the panel, said last week that the committee would seek testimony from Thomas to explore her connection to the day's events. In response, Thomas told the Daily Caller she "can’t wait to clear up misconceptions" and looks forward to talking to the committee.
A longtime conservative activist who says she caught the political bug from her mother, Thomas' political activity has raised ethical questions for her husband for decades. Observers agree she is much more politically involved than the spouses of other Supreme Court justices.
Her activism has spawned a cycle of outrage spanning years: Thomas becomes so vocal on an issue that critics raise questions about her husband’s impartiality; Thomas’s supporters then dismiss the outcry, largely among Democrats, as partisan; Thomas moves on to another project, solidifying her position as a conservative power broker.
Thomas' links to Jan. 6 and her alleged involvement in trying to overturn the election, though, have renewed questions about her activism.
“Her involvement really is unprecedented,” said Tyler Cooper, a senior researcher for Fix the Court, a federal court reform advocacy group.
Here's what you need to know about Thomas' ties to Jan. 6, 2021.
Who is Ginni Thomas?:What to know about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' wife
Attended the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse
Thomas attended the “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021. She posted on social media that day “LOVE MAGA people!!!!” along with an article about Trump backers making their way to Washington, D.C. She also wrote, “GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU STANDING UP or PRAYING!”
She later took down her Facebook page, said she made those posts before the violence, and told the Washington Free Beacon that she left the rally early because she was cold.
Emails with Trump lawyer John Eastman
Thomas corresponded via email with lawyer John Eastman, who worked to help overturn the 2020 election results by pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of Joe Biden's win, the Washington Post reported.
Though the details of Eastman and Thomas' correspondence is unknown, the messages purportedly show that Thomas' involvement in efforts to overturn the election's results were "more extensive" than previously known, according to the Post. USA TODAY has not independently reviewed the emails.
In a statement online, Eastman denied discussing the 2020 election with Thomas or her husband, writing that Thomas asked him to give an update about election litigation.
The Jan. 6 committee on Thursday pointed to testimony from Pence's legal counsel that Eastman pushed the false claim that Pence alone could decide the winner of the 2020 election – despite knowing the theory violated the Electoral Count Act and likely wouldn't hold up before the Supreme Court.
After a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, White House lawyer Eric Herschmann told Eastman to “get a great f– criminal defense lawyer” because “you’re going to need it." That spurred Eastman to appeal to Trump for a pardon.
“I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” Eastman wrote in an email shared by the Jan. 6 committee. Trump did not pardon Eastman.
Emails to Arizona lawmakers
In emails obtained by the Washington Post, Thomas urged 29 Arizona lawmakers to override the popular vote by selecting presidential electors, even though Arizona state law gives voters that responsibility.
Biden narrowly won Arizona's popular vote, but Thomas wanted the lawmakers to send electors who would instead cast their votes for Trump.
The emails advised the lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure” and that they had the "power to fight back against fraud" and "ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen," the Post reported.
The messages to the lawmakers also suggested that the responsibility of choosing electors was "yours and yours alone," according to the Post. USA TODAY has not independently reviewed the emails.
Texts with former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows
In the days following Trump’s Nov. 3 defeat, Thomas began texting then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, according to the Washington Post and CBS, which revealed a 29-message text chain running through mid-January.
Meadows is a fellow tea party veteran who was elected to Congress in 2012 and helped found the Freedom Caucus not long after Thomas started her consulting business. She has known Meadows since at least 2015, when she wrote a glowing column in the Daily Caller about how the then-congressman from North Carolina was seeking to oust then-House Speaker John Boehner.
In the texts, Thomas called Biden's win the "greatest Heist of our History" and urged Meadows and Trump to hold strong in their efforts to overturn the election, according to the Post and CBS. USA TODAY has not independently reviewed the texts.
Friendship with Cleta Mitchell
Known throughout Washington for being able to connect people within conservative circles, Thomas name-dropped several mutual contacts in her texts with Meadows.
One of those people, only called "Cleta" in the texts, appeared to be a reference to Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who participated in Trump's election efforts, including a Jan. 2, 2021, call with the Georgia secretary of state, according to the Washington Post.
Mitchell is a legal fellow at the Conservative Partnership Institute, a group also tied to Meadows that received money from Trump's Save America political action committee. She runs a legal nonprofit that has gotten involved with 2020 election results in places like Georgia and Arizona, both won by Biden.
Thomas has known Mitchell for at least a decade, dating back to her days with Liberty Central, a tea party-leaning dark money group that Thomas started in late 2009 to fight then-President Barack Obama’s policies. The group made endorsements on its website and occasionally got Thomas on television, where hosts would try to cajole her into talking about the Supreme Court.
The IRS notified both Thomas and Mitchell that Liberty Central's tax-exempt status had been approved in 2010, and Thomas gave Mitchell an award in 2018. The next year, the pair announced a plan for a new venture that would include a political action committee and a tax-exempt company.
Texts mirror QAnon conspiracy theories
Thomas' messages to Meadows also mirror conspiracy theories that were posted online on QAnon messaging boards. That conspiracy theory is rooted in the idea that powerful figures are pedophiles who are part of a satanic cabal, and that Trump will bring members to justice as part of a “storm.” The message boards later contributed to misinformation about the 2020 election.
In one text, Thomas references a conspiracy theory – which has been disproven – about watermarked ballots in several states. That allegation grew in popularity after a message on the far-right web forum 8kun that said only “Watch the water -Q.”
In another, Thomas says people involved in the conspiracy would soon be “living in barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.” She added, “I hope this is true.” The idea of trials in Guantanamo Bay originated in the same QAnon message boards as “the storm."
Longtime affiliate of Charlie Kirk
Thomas got involved with Turning Point USA, a Trump-aligned group, as a member of its advisory council. Turning Point organizes young people on college campuses to oppose liberal interests. The group has been accused of misusing its charitable tax status and of racial bias against employees of color.
Thomas started an annual ceremony called the Impact Awards “honoring great warriors for their commitment to defend liberty in the face of opposition.” She gave an award to Turning Point's founder, Charlie Kirk.
On Jan. 6, Kirk tweeted about sending buses to the coming “Stop the Steal” rally in the nation’s capital. That rally, hosted by tea party veterans Amy Kremer and Kylie Jane Kremer, was based around the lie that Trump’s reelection was stolen, and became a prelude to the violent mob that attempted an insurrection.