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 Capitol Hill that she never discussed those efforts with her husband, during a closed door meeting. door interview in which she continued to perpetuate the false claim that the election was stolen.

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

He did, however, answer questions behind closed doors, said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the committee, adding that his testimony could be included in an upcoming hearing.

“If there is any merit to it, it will be,” he said.

During his interview, Thomas, who goes by Ginni, repeated his claim that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald J. Trump, Thompson said, a belief he insisted on in late 2020 while lobbying state lawmakers. and the whites. 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 discussing 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 her testimony. The committee’s investigators took particular interest in his communications with John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who was in close contact with Trump and wrote a memo that Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans have compared it to a plot for a coup.

“Right now, we’re glad he came,” Thompson said.

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

“She answered all questions from the committee,” Paoletta said in a statement. “As she has said from the beginning, Ms. Thomas had significant concerns about fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election. And, as she told the committee, her primary and minimum activity was focused on ensuring reports of fraud were investigated. fraud and irregularities. Beyond that, he played no role in any events following the 2020 election results. As he wrote in a text message to Mark Meadows at the time, he also condemned the violence on January 6, as he abhors violence. on either side of the aisle.”

A committee spokesman declined to comment.

Ms. Thomas exchanged text messages with Mr. Meadows, the White House chief of staff, urging him to challenge Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the 2020 election, which she called a “robbery,” and indicated that he had communicated with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, about Trump’s efforts to use the courts to stay in power. She even suggested to the attorney that he should be in charge of that effort.

Ms. Thomas also lobbied lawmakers in several states to oppose the election results.

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

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“She is a witness,” Thompson said Thursday. “We’re not accusing her of anything.”

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

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

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

Ms Thomas’ cooperation comes as the January 6 committee is entering its final months of work after a summer of high-profile hearings and preparing a lengthy report, which is expected to include recommendations on how to deal with threats. to democracy highlighted by the riots. and Mr. Trump’s campaign to nullify the election.

The interview came just days after the panel abruptly postponed a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, citing the hurricane battering Florida. The hearing has not yet been rescheduled.

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

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

“A lot more information is coming in all the time,” Raskin said.

He said committee members have seen thousands of hours of video footage and tapes, but want to be “disciplined” about how they present it at the next hearing.

“There are certain people who are going to report anything we do, no matter what,” he said. “We just want to be able to complete the narrative and then deliver our recommendations on what needs to be done to protect American democracy from future coups, insurrections, political violence and electoral sabotage.”

Maggie Haberman Y Catie Edmondson contributed report.