Joker: Ginni Thomas, ardent election denier and “one-woman Constitutional crisis,” urged Trump Chief of Staff to overturn 2020 Election

 

insincere  

     adjective:

1    hypocritical or deceitful; not open; an insincere person 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina Guv Frontrunner Had Secret Meeting With Ginni Thomas After Jan. 6

JAN. 6 DEGREES OF SEPARATION

The leading GOP candidate for governor of North Carolina is very public on his thinking about overturning the 2020 election. But his private meetings are telling, too.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/north-carolina-guv-frontrunner-mark-robinson-had-secret-meeting-with-ginni-thomas-after-jan-6?

Publicly, the Trump-loving lieutenant governor of North Carolina, Mark Robinson, has embraced the role of a zealous 2020 election denier.

In April 2021, for instance, Robinson told a crowd that President Joe Biden “stole the election.”

“Yeah, I said that,” Robinson added for effect.

Days before making that declaration, however, Robinson was privately meeting with one of the highest-profile election deniers in the country: Ginni Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Now, as Robinson ramps up his campaign for North Carolina’s governorship in 2024, documents obtained by The Daily Beast shed light on the extent of his private ties to the movement to contest, overturn, and delegitimize Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election—and it’s clear Robinson is an unabashed, unapologetic election denier running in the same circles as other Republicans showing no repentance for stirring up an insurrection.

In fact, Robinson met with Thomas weeks after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and Biden’s inauguration.

According to a copy of Robinson’s official schedule, which was produced through a Freedom of Information Act request, the lieutenant governor had a meeting with Thomas on March 30, 2021.

But Robinson didn’t just speak with Thomas that afternoon; the calendar note indicates he met with Thomas and a group she helped run called Frontliners for Liberty.

Initially a Facebook group that described itself as “a new collaborative, liberty-focused, action-oriented group of state leaders representing grassroots armies,” according to CNBC, Frontliners for Liberty morphed into a key organizing venue for far-right activists nationwide working desperately to keep Trump in power—even after Trump was out of office.

Ultimately, Thomas’ group was influential enough for it to draw the scrutiny of the House Select Committee to Investigate Jan. 6. In December 2020, Trump attorney John Eastman spoke to the group, at Thomas’ invitation, to update them regarding his legal challenges to Biden’s victory. A court-obtained meeting agenda shows Eastman was slated to discuss “state legislative actions that can reverse the media-called election for Joe Biden.”

It’s unclear exactly what Robinson and Thomas discussed in their March 2021 meeting—or exactly who else joined. Since there was no location specified on Robinson’s schedule for the meeting, it may have taken place virtually. Spokespeople for Robinson and Thomas both did not return requests for comment from The Daily Beast.

Even after Biden was inaugurated and the MAGA legal challenges deflated, Thomas and allied far-right activists in her Frontliners group continued to work to undermine the election outcome, according to a Washington Post report—important context for her meeting with Robinson.

Robinson also continued to cast doubt on the election through his rhetoric, if not in any formal government action. (Trump narrowly beat Biden in North Carolina in 2020.) In addition to his April 2021 comments, Robinson used a major speech at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference to claim that Biden didn’t win the election.

At the gathering, Robinson told activists that 83 million people couldn’t have possibly voted for Biden. “I don’t think 83 million people know who Joe Biden is,” he said. “Joe Biden doesn’t know who Joe Biden is.”

As recently as December 2023, Robinson was also downplaying the violent attack on the Capitol, telling a local GOP club that it was “this minor little thing,” according to audio of the remarks obtained by The Daily Beast.

Robinson’s Trumpian instinct of pushing boundaries in his speech, and reveling in his fans’ acclaim afterward, has been a major factor behind his meteoric rise in North Carolina politics. In 2020, Robinson won the state’s lieutenant governorship with no prior political experience, and he first gained notoriety on the right in 2018, after a pro-gun speech at a Greensboro city council meeting went viral.

Now, Robinson appears to be the GOP favorite to take on Democratic candidate Josh Stein, even though Robinson may be—or potentially because—he’s positioned himself as the most extreme Republican in the field.

As Robinson asks voters for the power to lead one of the country’s perennial battleground states, the news of his 2021 meeting with Thomas and the Frontliners adds to his record undermining an election many Republicans accept they lost and hope to leave behind.

Predictably, Robinson’s campaign for the North Carolina governorship has made the state’s GOP establishment uneasy and delighted the MAGA base. Trump has said he plans to endorse Robinson in the Republican primary. In fact, at a fundraiser he hosted for Robinson in December, the ex-president declared his ally was “better” than Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the GOP primary, Robinson faces businessman Bill Graham, who has won the endorsement of Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). If he were to win the primary, Robinson would likely face Attorney General Josh Stein in November. North Carolina is poised to host the most competitive governor race of 2024, with incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper (D) term-limited from running again.

The lieutenant governor’s strident election denialism is just one reason why many operatives—in both parties—believe he could prove toxic in a general election matchup. Few major statewide politicians have amassed a rhetorical record as incendiary and broadly offensive as Robinson.

On his very active Facebook page and elsewhere over the years, Robinson has made a range of comments disparaging Jews, LGBTQ people, Muslims, and women. The deeply homophobic politician has claimed that God “formed” him to fight against LGBTQ rights and has called LGBTQ people “filth.”

In 2018, Robinson said the comic book character Black Panther was created by an “agnostic Jew” to “pull the shekels out of your schvartze pockets”—respectively referring to the Israeli currency and a Yiddish slur for Black people.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

December 12, 2023

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

Last night, Special Counsel Jack Smith asked the Supreme Court to decide Trump’s claim that he is immune from any and all criminal prosecution for anything he did while in office. That claim is central to Trump’s defense; he has requested the charges against him be dismissed because of that immunity. 

When Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, who is overseeing the case in which Trump is charged with trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election, dismissed this claim, Trump’s lawyers appealed and asked for the case to be frozen while the appeal worked its way up through the courts. By going straight to the Supreme Court, Smith appears to be trying to stop Trump from delaying the trial until after the 2024 election.  

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether it will hear the case. So far, Justice Clarence Thomas refuses to recuse himself, even though his wife Ginni was deeply involved in the attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. His refusal suggests that the Supreme Court’s new ethics rules are as toothless as their opponents charged.

[Boldface added]

 

What Ginni Thomas and Leonard Leo wrought: How a justice’s wife and a key activist started a movement

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, a trove of so-called “dark money” was about to be unleashed. Two activists prepared to seize the moment.

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/09/10/ginni-thomas-leonard-leo-citizens-united-00108082

[Excerpt:]

“Ginni really wanted to build an organization and be a movement leader,” said a person familiar with her thinking at that time. “Leonard [Leo] was going to be the conduit of that.”

She also had a rich backer: Harlan Crow, the manufacturing billionaire who had helped Thomas and her husband in many ways, from funding luxury vacations to picking up tuition payments for their great-nephew.

At the time, the Citizens United ruling was widely expected, as the court had already signaled its intentions. When it came, it upended nearly 100 years of campaign spending restrictions.

The conservative legal movement seized the moment with greater success than any other group, and the consequences have shaped American jurisprudence and politics in dramatic ways.

From those early discussions among Leo, Thomas and Crow would spring a billion-dollar force that has helped remake the judiciary and overturn longstanding legal precedents on abortion, affirmative action and many other issues. It funded legal scholars to devise theories to challenge liberal precedents, helped to elect state attorneys general willing to apply those theories and launched lavish campaigns for conservative judicial nominees who would cite those theories in their rulings from the bench.

The movement’s triumphs are now visible but its engine remains hidden: A billion-dollar network of groups, most of which are registered as tax-exempt charities or social welfare organizations. Taking advantage of gaps in disclosure laws, they shield the identities of most of their donors and some of the recipients of the funds. Among those who’ve been paid by the groups are leading thinkers and individuals with close personal ties to Leo — including a whopping $7 million to a group run by a close friend and his wife. They also include a for-profit business for which Leo himself is chairman and which received tens of millions of dollars from his nonprofit network.

Leo’s role as the central figure in this movement has long been known, culminating in his acquisition last year of what many believe to be the largest political donation in history. Few are aware of the extent to which the movement’s baby steps were taken in concert with Ginni Thomas.

Two months before the Citizens United decision, but after the justices had signaled their intentions by requesting new arguments, attorney Cleta Mitchell — later to play a role in Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 elections — filed papers for Ginni Thomas to create a nonprofit group of a type that ultimately benefited from the decision. Leo was one of two directors listed on a separate application to conduct business in the state of Virginia. Thomas was president. She signed it on New Year’s Eve of 2009, and Crow provided much of the initial cash. A key Leo aide, Sarah Field, would come aboard to help Thomas manage the group, which they called Liberty Central.

After Liberty Central went public, it provoked an outcry over a Supreme Court justice’s wife promoting causes like overturning Obamacare that were before her husband’s court. Leo and Thomas changed gears. His network reactivated a dormant group, the Judicial Education Project, which would go on to become a major supplier of amicus briefs before the nation’s highest court. She created a for-profit consulting business using a similar name — Liberty Consulting — that enabled her to perform consulting work for conservative activist groups.

The Judicial Education Project supplied some of her business: Documents indicate Leo ordered at least one recipient of his groups’ funds, Kellyanne Conway, to make payments to Ginni Thomas for unspecified work, according to a Washington Post story earlier this year.

Now, Liberty Consulting is a focus of interest from congressional committees probing the Supreme Court’s ethics disclosures. Senate Democrats have demanded that Leo and Crow provide a list of “gifts, payments, or other items of value” they’ve given Thomas and her husband.

Trump attorneys guided false electors in Georgia, GOP chair says

In Tuesday’s filing, Shafer underscored that the strategy was driven almost entirely by lawyers acting on Trump’s behalf.  The false electors were later used by Trump allies to attempt to foment a conflict on Jan. 6, 2021 and derail the transfer of power to President Joe Biden.

Shafer is among the 18 defendants indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, alongside Trump as part of a conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election.

 

“Group Tied to Influential Conservative Activist Spent $183 Million in a Year”

N.Y. Times: New filings show that extent of spending by the Marble Freedom Trust, founded by Leonard A. Leo, on moving the federal judiciary to the right, among other things. Mr. Leo is a lawyer and former executive at the Federalist Society, who we recently learned arranged to pay tens of thousands of dollars to Ginni Thomas for consulting work while keeping her name off the paperwork.

Activist group led by Ginni Thomas received nearly $600,000 in anonymous donations

Funding for group that battled ‘cultural Marxism’ was channeled through right-wing think tank, Post investigation finds

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2023/03/28/ginni-thomas-crowdsourcers-anonymous-donations/

[Excerpts:]

A little-known conservative activist group led by Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, collected nearly $600,000 in anonymous donations to wage a cultural battle against the left over three years, a Washington Post investigation found.

On May 18, 2019, Thomas told influential right-wing donors and activists about Crowdsourcers in a private meeting, video from the event shows. The left, she said, was pushing “cultural Marxism” and “eroding the pillars of our country.”

“We have some culture warriors, but we have a lot more to do,” Thomas said at a meeting of the Council for National Policy in Northern Virginia, according to the video, which was obtained by the nonprofit watchdog Documented and has been previously reported. “Conservatives and Republicans are tired of being the oppressed minority.”

The previously unreported donations to the fledgling group Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty were channeled through a right-wing think tank in Washington that agreed to serve as a funding conduit from 2019 until the start of last year, according to documents and interviews. The arrangement, known as a “fiscal sponsorship,” effectively shielded from public view details about Crowdsourcers’ activities and spending, information it would have had to disclose publicly if it operated as a separate nonprofit organization, experts said.

The Post’s investigation sheds new light on the role money from donors who are not publicly identified has played in supporting Ginni Thomas’s political advocacy, long a source of controversy. The funding is the first example of anonymous donors backing her activism since she founded a conservative charity more than a decade ago. She stepped away from that charity amid concerns that it created potential conflicts for her husband on hot-button issues before the court.

Thomas’s activism has set her apart from other spouses of Supreme Court justices. She has allied with numerous people and groups that have interests before the court, and she has dedicated herself to causes involving some of the most polarizing issues in the country.

In 2020, she privately pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue efforts to overturn the presidential election, and she sent emails urging swing-state lawmakers to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory in awarding electoral votes. When those efforts were revealed by The Post last year, they intensified questions about whether her husband should recuse himself from cases related to the election and attempts to subvert it.

In recent months, the high court has faced increasing scrutiny over a range of ethical issues, including the lack of transparency surrounding potential conflicts of interest and a whistleblower’s claim that wealthy Christian activists sought access to justices at social gatherings to shore up their resolve on abortion and other conservative priorities.

 

[Boldface added]

Arizona Republicans exempt lawmakers from the state’s open-records law

After Ginni Thomas’s emails and the work of the Cyber Ninjas go public, GOP legislators retreat into secrecy

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/01/26/arizona-legislature-transparency-open-records-law/

 

The Sacred Lies of Virginia Thomas

In testimony before the Jan. 6 committee, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas would not renounce her faith.

This article is part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s home for opinion and news analysis. 

It’s been said that no one expects the Spanish Inquisition. Virginia Thomas seemingly did. The transcript of her appearance before the House January 6 Committee, which was buried in an avalanche of committee documents released at the end of December, shows not only that Thomas was well prepared for the committee: She prevailed over it.

The committee had sought, in its late September interview with the spouse of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to expose the errors of her doctrines and the crookedness of her path. But Thomas emerged from the roughly 4-hour meeting triumphant, her faith unshaken. No rack could break her. No fact could bend her.

Thomas is an arch-conservative activist who has spent a lifetime advancing right-wing political causes in concert with other arch-conservative activists. But she does not, she says, much discuss her political activities with her spouse, the arch-conservative jurist who has used his lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court to advance those same right-wing political causes.

In her testimony, Thomas claimed household dominion over the “political lane,” with career stops at ideological outposts such as the Heritage Foundation, Hillsdale College and the Daily Caller, along with an active volunteer life in right-wing political networks, such as Frontliners and Groundswell. The latter, Thomas told the committee, is a “center-right” response to the “30-front war that the left has on constitutional governance.”

Thomas is at home in a netherworld that others might deride as “fringe.” Her friends are numerous — the word “friend” appears 40 times in the transcript — and include right-wing figures such as former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Connie Hair, the longtime chief of staff to recently retired Representative Louis Gohmert of Texas. Gohmert is a pro-insurrection Republican known for the “ease with which he was willing to make unfounded and offensive pronouncements,” according to the Texas Tribune. Thomas told the committee that she talks to Hair frequently. “She comes to my Thanksgiving,” she said.

Justice Clarence Thomas, by contrast, is “uninterested” in politics, his wife said. He operates exclusively in the “legal lane.” Thus the couple navigates the ethical grid of Washington, where the Supreme Court is across the street from the Congress, which is down the street from the Justice Department, which is a short walk from the White House, as easily as a stroll across the Mayberry town square.

Virginia Thomas — who goes by “Ginni” — occupies a singular place in elite conservative politics. Yet what’s striking about her testimony is how generically MAGA it is. She laments election “fraud and irregularities” for which she can summon no evidence; reveals deep resentment of political and media elites who are not like-minded conservatives; resorts to unabashedly opportunistic lapses of memory; and provides warm reminiscences of a morning spent on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021. A 65-year-old suburban volunteer, Thomas appeared before the committee, after lengthy negotiations, with nothing to hide. But somewhere along the way she had obtained the Signal app for encrypting communications just the same.

Over the course of her interview with the committee, Thomas described her political efforts in 2020 as “minimal and mainstream.” She was “very active with Trump rallies” in her home state of Virginia, she said.

After Trump lost the election, her political enthusiasms evolved. Thomas repeatedly beseeched Mark Meadows, via text message, to find a way to invalidate the 2020 election and prevent Trump’s democratically elected successor from assuming office. She texted Trump’s White House chief of staff about her swooning appreciation of Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, the axis of a Trump legal team described by Attorney General William Barr as a “clown car.” She sent robo-emails to Republican state legislators who were urged to carry out a plot, conjured in part by Thomas allies John Eastman and Cleta Mitchell, to send false electors to Washington to halt the democratic transfer of power.

“Make a plan, release the Kraken, and save us from the left taking America down,” Thomas implored Meadows on Nov. 19, 2020. If the spouse of Justice Thomas restricted herself to a particular lane in the days surrounding the 2020 election, it appears to have been a roadway heavily trafficked by the former president’s co-conspirators.

Thomas’s texts with Meadows are one of the topics she did not discuss with Justice Thomas. “I do know,” she told the committee, “he was completely unaware of the texts that I had with Mark Meadows until this committee leaked them to the press while my husband was in a hospital bed in March fighting an infection.” Justice Thomas provided the lone dissent in an 8-1 Supreme Court ruling against Trump, which gave the January 6 committee access to a trove of White House documents related to the insurrection.

The Washington Post published excerpts from 29 texts between Thomas and Meadows. They are mostly not the ambiguous sort.

“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!” Thomas wrote to Meadows on Nov. 10, 2020, when Trump’s campaign to sabotage the peaceful transfer of power was well under way. “The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

Thomas’s projection may read as dark comedy, but, like her testimony, it illuminates a deep MAGA mindset. Victimhood, denial, whataboutism, resentment, lies — many of the signposts of Trumpism are vividly displayed.

One quality, however, appears paramount. Throughout her testimony, Thomas conveys the abiding arrogance that girds so much fear and flailing on the right. When facts defy MAGA mythology, to hell with facts. The Justice’s wife clearly shares the insurrectionists’ animating logic: If American democracy won’t continue to enshrine white Christian conservative preeminence, then it is American democracy, not the preeminence, which must be brought to heel.

Consider the date — Nov. 10 — of Thomas’s “Heist” message. Fox News had called the state of Arizona for Joe Biden on Nov. 3, effectively announcing the Trump campaign’s doom. By Nov. 7, the broadcast networks and the Associated Press had all declared Joe Biden the president-elect. On Nov. 10, the date of Thomas’s text, the New York Times ran a lead story reporting the results of interviews with top election officials in all 50 states. Every state, red and blue, told the Times there had been no significant irregularities or fraud in the vote.

There was also, notably, the junkyard dog that didn’t bark. William Barr had flagrantly misled the public, for Trump’s benefit, about the findings of the Mueller report, and he had run interference for Trump on corruption investigations. Prior to the 2020 election, Barr had spread additional falsehoods about voting by mail, echoing Trump. But as the post-election morass deepened, and Trump desperately sought endorsements of his ever loopier claims, Barr was conspicuously silent.

On Nov. 12, the executive committee of the Trump administration’s Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council confirmed what Barr surely knew. The 2020 election was “the most secure in American history.”

Thus, by Nov. 7, you had to be an extraordinary optimist to believe that Trump had a chance. By Nov. 10, you had to be a fantasist. By Nov. 12, the task required a good deal more — including perhaps a passing interest in the termination of republican government. Yet on Nov. 13 here comes Thomas, texting Meadows that “Sidney Powell & improved coordination now will help the cavalry come and Fraud exposed and America saved.” 

Even Trump, who typically prioritizes quantity over quality in the matter of lies, found Powell’s sci-fi yarns and sloppy escapades detrimental to his plans. On Nov. 22, the Trump campaign officially cut Powell loose. But unlike Trump, Thomas is a woman of faith. She kept cheering Powell’s improvisational circus until late November, when Meadows finally convinced Thomas to surrender her hope in the Kraken. Thomas was loath to let go. “I viewed her as a trusted person to get at facts,” she told the committee of Powell. She did not say if she had ever changed that view.

An article in Politico last March weighed whether Virginia Thomas is “one of the most powerful forces in the MAGA movement,” as the fascist-friendly podcaster and Trump ally Steve Bannon called her, or a conspiracy theorizing gadfly drafting off her husband’s lifetime tenure on the nation’s highest court.

Those are hardly mutually exclusive descriptions. Thomas seems to veer between them herself, alternately describing herself to the Jan. 6 committee as “an ordinary citizen activist” and as “a leader in the movement” who is active in “a number of conservative weekly gatherings.”

Both versions inform a portrait of a MAGA everywoman, a super-elite and well-connected fixture of the conservative movement who is nonetheless as steeped in rage, and as swaddled in falsehoods, as the most alienated and FOX-addled denizen of MAGA nation.

In her testimony, Thomas, a law-school graduate, appears to slide between personas — elite insider or clueless bumpkin — depending on how much English she wishes to apply to a shot. But in either guise she remains consistently, adamantly and seemingly genuinely hostile to the truth at the heart of the inquiry. An exchange between Representative Liz Cheney and Thomas captures the religious intensity of Thomas’s animus.

Ms. Cheney: And if you had been aware that the Attorney General Barr, for example, or Pat Cipollone, that if you’d been aware that they had investigated these claims of fraud and told [Trump] that there was no evidence to support those claims, would that have changed your view? 

Mrs. Thomas: Honestly, I don’t think it would have, because millions of people still found that there were irregularities with the COVID changes to mail-in balloting. And there were so many other things that, you know, I don’t think there’s a lot of — there’s a lot of people uncomfortable with the 2020 election despite what this committee is pushing. Okay? I just think there’s still concern. And I wouldn’t have believed that some of those people you named were able to identify and track down fraud and irregularity that I was hearing from the grassroots in certain states.

Ms. Cheney: And so are you aware that the President and his allies brought legal challenges, which was completely their right to do, but that they lost 61 out of 62 of those legal challenges?

Mrs. Thomas: I still believed that there was fraud and irregularity, as millions of Americans do, Representative Cheney.

Cheney can explain to Thomas that the white phantom that Thomas saw traipsing across the lawn is in fact a sheet hanging from the clothes line. She can show Thomas the sheet. She can let Thomas run her fingers over the cotton threads. It doesn’t matter. Thomas needs the ghost. And, by God, she’ll have it.

Various committee inquisitors prodded Thomas to face facts, confront reality, join them in the church of reason. Thomas made little effort to hide her contempt. Did she happen to take note of such-and-such fact on such-and-such date, a fact that exposes her beliefs as so much childish nonsense? Nope. Didn’t see it. Didn’t hear it. Didn’t know. Didn’t ask. Never will.

Representative Jamie Raskin, a constitutional lawyer and high priest in the rival sect, was among those trying to coax Thomas, ever so gently, onto reality’s cold, alien ground.

Mr. Raskin: Mrs. Thomas, what was the most significant case of voter fraud that you were concerned with after the election took place?

Mrs. Thomas: Thank you for that question, Congressman Raskin. I can’t say that I was familiar at that time with any specific evidence.

Pressed later on the legitimacy of Biden’s presidency, Thomas opts for a line that is half cowardice, half cleverness, but all contempt. “I worried that there was fraud and irregularities that distorted the election but it wasn’t uncovered in a timely manner,” she said, “so we have President Biden.”

At one point, a committee investigator (names of committee staff are blacked out in the transcript) asked Thomas about the false allegation that ballots had been found in a suitcase in Georgia. Thomas indicates familiarity with the bogus claim. But the investigator’s follow-up question is vaporized from the commanding heights of MAGA.

Investigator: There were allegations that there was a suitcase stuffed with fraudulent false ballots.

Mrs. Thomas: Right.

Investigator: And there were subsequent law enforcement efforts, both at the State and Federal level, to investigate whether that actually happened. And so my question was, did you follow or, kind of, consider those investigations after — in the allegations of fraud like that?

Mrs. Thomas: I did not.

On January 6, 2021, Thomas awoke early to walk her dogs and post some messages to Facebook. Then she took the Metro into Washington, D.C.

“I was encouraged that people were coming together for the purpose of trying to challenge the election fraud and irregularities that were surfacing,” she told the committee.

On the Ellipse, along with things surfaced and seen were many things unseen. The morning crowd included Nazis, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, members of the fascist street gang the Proud Boys and various white supremacists along with nonviolent and pre-violent elements of the enraged MAGA base. From the 28,000 people who passed through magnetometers, the Secret Service confiscated 269 knives or blades and 242 cannisters of pepper spray, along with tasers, “blunt instruments,” brass knuckles and more. The most heavily armed attendees, however, including those possessing firearms, hung back, out of the probing reach of the machines.

Thomas didn’t pass through the magnetometers. She said she waded through the outer crowd, chatting with other attendees. She made no mention of having seen fascist street thugs or White nationalists. She did volunteer to the committee that “a lot of Chinese-Americans were there.” In retrospect, she said, it had occurred to her that an unusual number of civilians were dressed in combat gear.

Asked if she departed the Ellipse before Trump began his speech, one with no precedent in American history, Thomas was at first vague. “I think I may have,” she replied. She subsequently said she had departed for home before Trump spoke. She was not asked about her earlier uncertainty, or why it had vanished.

What was she thinking about that day? Thomas had hoped that a “robust discussion” in Congress on Jan. 6 would somehow lead to a different political outcome, though she declined several opportunities to explain by what mechanisms she believed that outcome might arise. A text that Thomas sent to Meadows four days after Trump’s white riot might offer a clue: “Most of us are disgusted with the VP,” she wrote on Jan. 10, in an apparent reference to Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to subvert the election.

Near the end of her meeting with the committee, Thomas was asked if she wanted to add anything to the record. It turned out that she did.

“At the end,” Thomas told the committee, “I guess I’d only say one more thing, and that is: Violence on both sides is abhorrent, and the more you guys focus on just one side, it can do significant damage to our country, I believe.” She complained that “left-wing activists” hadn’t been subjected to “same kind of focus that you guys are focusing on the violence in the Capitol on January 6th.”

Thomas was never asked about the morality of leaping to embrace every conceivable lie, no matter how cretinous or destructive, while spurning the truth at every juncture. She was never asked about the 81 million Americans whose democratic aspirations and civic legitimacy she had sought to annihilate. She was never asked to locate her beliefs in the chain reaction that led to death and destruction at the Capitol. She was not asked what she thought would happen to the world, at home or abroad, if the nuclear-armed American superpower descended into the banana republicanism of Donald Trump, Louis Gohmert and Virginia Thomas.

Thomas didn’t mourn those killed or brutalized in the attack. Instead, she expressed dismay at “corruption, the erosion of confidence in equal justice.” Her final word was a cry of moral offense, recoiling at the unjust treatment of patriots while the left was free to pursue its 30-front war on all good things.

When it was over, Thomas departed, unbroken by inquisition, unfettered by obligation, her lies intact, at the ready, open carried.

[Boldface added]

Jack Begg contributed reporting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/19/us/politics/john-eastman-investigations

[Excerpts:]

WASHINGTON — John C. Eastman, a legal architect of Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 100 times under questioning by the House Jan. 6 committee.

In recent weeks, Mr. Eastman has continued to assert himself as a far-right stalwart, signing a letter endorsing dissident Republicans’ ultimately failed efforts to block Representative Kevin McCarthy of California from becoming speaker of the House. Among the other signatories to the letter was Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for whom Mr. Eastman once clerked. In her own testimony to the Jan. 6 committee, Ms. Thomas referred to Mr. Eastman as “an active participant with the ‘Thomas clique’ clerks” who keep in touch.

 

Ginni Thomas Believes There is Lots of Evidence of Fraud and Irregularities in 2020 (There Isn’t), Can’t Point to Any of It, and Apparently No Evidence Can Convince Her Otherwise

Remarkably sad.

 

Ginni Thomas: “I regret the tone and content of these texts. … It was just an emotional time” 

https://thehill.com/homenews/3793226

[Excerpt:]

The interview took place as a result of a months-long effort by the committee to interview the conservative activist, who reportedly exchanged emails with John Eastman, the lawyer who drafted memos for the Trump campaign outlining how then-Vice President Mike Pence could keep then-President Trump in power.

Thomas also texted Meadows and Arizona lawmakers regarding efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Reports revealed that in the weeks following the 2020 election, Thomas exchanged dozens of text messages with Meadows that appeared to show her strategizing over how to install Trump to a second White House term despite his loss to Biden, an outcome she then described as an “obvious fraud” and “the greatest heist of our history.”   

Thomas shared in her testimony released Friday that she wanted to do “something about the fraud and irregularities at the state level because she “thought the election was not going the right way.”

However, she added later in the testimony when asked about her text messages to Meadows that she “regrets” the tone and content of the messages.

“I regret the tone and content of these texts. … It was just an emotional time,” she said.

 

POLITICO Playbook

BY EUGENE DANIELSRACHAEL BADE AND RYAN LIZZA

With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross

December 30, 2022

VIRGINIA THOMAS, wife of Justice CLARENCE THOMAS, said “I would take them all back if I could today” regarding the texts she sent to MARK MEADOWS after the 2020 election, per the AP.

Though Thomas said she still has concerns about election fraud, she wasn’t able to offer many specifics.

 

Trump lawyers saw Clarence Thomas as key to stop Biden electoral count, emails show

Thomas is the justice who oversees emergency petitions from the circuit court that includes Georgia.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/02/trump-clarence-thomas-emails/

CREW demands ‘immediate investigation’ of Clarence and Ginni Thomas for possible ‘conflicts of interest’

Ginni Thomas, a far-right Republican activist and the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has been a consistent promoter of the Big Lie — falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. And when she recently spoke to the January 6 select committee, Ginni Thomas didn’t back down from that claim even though it has been repeatedly debunked.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) voiced its concerns about Ginni Thomas and Justice Thomas in a letter sent to the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, October 24.

CREW President Noah Bookbinder told those committees, “It is critical that those responsible for the attack on the Capitol be held accountable and that the integrity of the Supreme Court not be tainted by conflicts of interest. The Judiciary Committees have responsibility for the oversight of our judiciary and law enforcement agencies, and investigating Ginni Thomas’ conduct and Justice Thomas’ failure to recuse is an essential exercise of that oversight responsibility.”

READ MORE: Ginni Thomas has become a ‘one-woman constitutional crisis’: columnist

CREW, in an October 24 announcement, noted that Justice Thomas “has recused himself from 54 cases since joining the Supreme Court” in 1991 “in order to avoid the perception of potential conflicts of interest, including 17 cases involving his son.” But according to CREW, Justice Thomas “has never recused because of a potential conflict involving his wife.”

Bookbinder, in the letter, warned, “It is hard to imagine something more damaging to the public trust in the Supreme Court than a Justice ruling on cases that could relate to their spouses’ attempts to overturn American democracy. An immediate investigation is needed.”

The letter was addressed to two Democrats (Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York) and two Republicans (Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio).

Bookbinder told the members of Congress, “Ms. Thomas also contacted state officials in key states to encourage them to set aside the results of statewide elections and thereby alter the results of the presidential election. Soon after the 2020 election, Ginni Thomas e-mailed legislators in Arizona asking them to appoint a so-called ‘clean slate of electors’ rather than those legitimately chosen by the people of Arizona. She also contacted legislators in Wisconsin urging them to appoint their own set of electors rather than those chosen by the people of Wisconsin.”

Ginni Thomas appears before House panel probing Jan. 6 attack

Wife of Justice Clarence Thomas is questioned about former President Donald Trump’s push to overturn the 2020 election

Posted September 29, 2022 

https://rollcall.com/2022/09/29/ginni-thomas-appears-before-house-panel-probing-jan-6-attack/

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, appeared for a voluntary interview Thursday before the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, which sought information about her involvement in the effort to overturn President Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.

[Excerpts:]

Her apparent involvement in that effort revealed by emails and texts, as well as her broader conservative political activism, have served as a focal point for political arguments about the independence of a Supreme Court that is set to start a new term Monday with a slate of controversial cases.

Gabe Roth, executive director for Fix the Court, an advocacy group for judicial ethics, noted that it was the first time the spouse of a Supreme Court justice has appeared before a congressional committee in this fashion.

“It’s unprecedented, but so was the insurrection and the effort that led up to it,” Roth said. “So I think you have two sides of the unprecedented coin here.”

Thomas did not answer questions from the press as she arrived Thursday morning, according to media accounts.

Interview arranged

In part, the select committee has said groups met on Dec. 14, 2020, in seven states that Biden won — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and submitted bogus slates of Electoral College votes for Trump. Those groups then transmitted purported Electoral College certificates to Congress, which were used by those advising Trump or his campaign to justify delaying or blocking the certification of Biden’s victory, according to the committee.

Earlier this month, investigative nonprofit group Documented published a series of emails Ginni Thomas sent in 2020 to state legislators in Wisconsin and Arizona asking that they “fight back against fraud” and choose a “clean” slate of presidential electors after Trump’s loss in both states.

In May, CNN published a trove of text messages between Ginni Thomas and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. In them, she urged Meadows to “Help this Great President Stand Firm” and referred to the election as a “heist” by Democrats.

A former top aide to Meadows said that, prior to the riot day, he was aware that violence at the Capitol was possible. Meadows allegedly told her “things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6.”

Legal ethics experts and Democrats have pointed to Thomas’ activism and her husband’s rulings in significant cases as part of a broader push to reform Supreme Court ethics.

Clarence Thomas was the only dissenting vote in a January decision concerning Trump’s attempt to keep the committee from accessing records from his time in office. That case may have included the texts between Ginni Thomas and Meadows, and it influenced debate over a Supreme Court ethics bill that the House Judiciary Committee advanced in May.

The bill would impose new recusal standards on justices and require the Supreme Court to promulgate a code of conduct for its members.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

September 27, 2022

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

Meanwhile, Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, was texting QAnon links to Meadows. And now, after flirting with QAnon since 2020, Trump has embraced it wholeheartedly, first “retruthing” social media posts featuring him as a QAnon hero and warning that “The Storm Is Coming,” then using QAnon music at a rally. Now, [Trump] has sent out an email calling for the death penalty for drug dealers—a favorite theme of fascists since the 1930s and a major part of the program of former dictator Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, whom Trump admires—along with the warning that “Under Democrat control, the streets of our great cities are drenched in the blood of innocent victims,” tapping into the QAnon themes of violent retribution for those they see as preying on America’s youth. [Boldface added]

Watch Archived Video of My Appearance on CNN Talking About Ginni Thomas, Justice Thomas, January 6 and the Supreme Court

You can watch it here:

 

“Ginni Thomas pressed Wisconsin lawmakers to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory”

WaPo:

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed lawmakers to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory not only in Arizona, as previously reported, but also in a second battleground state, Wisconsin, according to emails obtained under state public-records law.

The Washington Post reported this year that Ginni Thomas emailed 29 Arizona state lawmakers, some of them twice, in November and December 2020. She urged them to set aside Biden’s popular-vote victory and “choose” their own presidential electors, despite the fact that the responsibility for choosing electors rests with voters under Arizona state law.

The new emails show that Thomas also messaged two Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin: state Sen. Kathy Bernier, then chair of the Senate elections committee, and state Rep. Gary Tauchen. Bernier and Tauchen received the email at 10:47 a.m. on Nov. 9, virtually the same time the Arizona lawmakers received a verbatim copy of the message from Thomas. The Bernier email was obtained by The Post, and the Tauchen email was obtained by the watchdog group Documented and provided to The Post.

Thomas sent all of the emails via FreeRoots, an online platform that allowed people to send pre-written emails to multiple elected officials.

“Please stand strong in the face of media and political pressure,” read the emails sent Nov. 9, just days after major media organizations called the presidency for Biden. “Please reflect on the awesome authority granted to you by our Constitution. And then please take action to ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen for our state.”

Opinion

 Here’s a test to see whether Supreme Court justices are above the law

The 65 Project, a bipartisan group dedicated to disbarring lawyers who filed frivolous cases related to the 2020 election, or who otherwise participated in the coup attempt, has been very busy in recent months. It filed a series of complaints against advisers of defeated former president Donald Trump, including Jenna Ellis, Boris Epshteyn, Cleta Mitchell, John Eastman and Joseph diGenova, as well as two lawyers who signed on to be fake electors and two lawyers who participated in the events of Jan. 6, 2o21.

Now, the group is making its most ambitious move yet: It is filing a specific demand with the Supreme Court to kick Eastman, the chief architect of the coup plot, out of the elite Supreme Court Bar (lawyers eligible to argue in the highest court). And it has requested that Justice Clarence Thomas recuse himself from the disciplinary proceeding because of the role that Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, played in the 2020 scheme.

The complaint, made available to me before it was filed, states that Eastman “bolstered and amplified” claims not backed by evidence or the law. It also alleges that Eastman “actively participated in an effort to undermine our elections – a scheme that led to the gravest attack on American democracy since the Civil War.”

The complaint describes five “spokes” in the coup plot, all of which included Eastman. They include litigating the 65 bogus lawsuits; arranging slates of phony electors in seven states; pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes; pressuring state lawmakers to overturn votes or rescind electors; and summoning “Trump’s supporters to Washington, D.C. and, having spent months lying to them about fraud and a stolen election, sending them to the Capitol, agitated and armed, to stop the electoral vote count.”

After a detailed review of facts revealed in the Jan. 6 hearings and in reporting, the group argues that Eastman’s conduct warrants expulsion from the Supreme Court Bar as well as the loss of his California legal license. The complaint amounts to a handy guide not only to Eastman’s professional violations, but also to facts that might be the basis for criminal charges in state and federal court.

Michael Teter, the 65 Project’s managing director, tells me, “If Mr. Eastman is allowed to continue to remain a member of the highest court in the United States despite the undisputed facts regarding his actions, the American public’s quickly eroding confidence in the Supreme Court will deteriorate even faster.”

But that’s not even the most intriguing part. Citing the obligation for federal judges to recuse themselves from proceedings in which their impartiality “might reasonably be questioned” or in which the judge has personal bias or knowledge of the facts (including spouses with an interest), the complaint asks the Supreme Court — specifically Justice Thomas — to adhere to the rules (which is not mandatory for justices to follow), since the disciplinary matter concerns “public confidence in the judicial system’s integrity.”

The complaint argues that Ginni Thomas “played a significant role in pursuing many of the same post-election strategies as Mr. Eastman.” It recites her text exchanges with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and her effort to pressure Arizona lawmakers, including a former Thomas clerk, to overturn the presidential vote. The complaint also notes that Ginni Thomas attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in D.C. on Jan. 6 and later wrote to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) denigrating the House select committee’s investigation of the attack on the Capitol. (Thomas previously stated she only briefly attended the rally.)

The recusal request concludes:

In short, Ms. Thomas participated in the concerted effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. She supported Mr. Eastman’s efforts and conferred with him as Mr. Eastman engaged in scheme described by a federal court as a likely criminal conspiracy. She used her relationships with several other of Justice Thomas’s former clerks to further push the effort to subvert American democracy.

At a moment when the Jan. 6 committee is considering issuing a subpoena for Ginni Thomas based on exactly the same set of facts, the complaint raises questions as to why she has not cooperated and why her husband did not recuse himself from Jan. 6-related cases. (Justice Thomas has been roundly criticized for failing to do so when the court ordered the National Archives produce documents to the committee. He was the lone dissenter.)

Teter argues his complaint is an opportunity for the court to improve its image. A decision by Justice Thomas to recuse himself from the matter, he says, would be “an important first step toward the Court’s regaining some of its legitimacy.”

The court might not entertain the complaint or the recusal request. But if it chooses to ignore them, new questions about its integrity inevitably will arise. As for Ginni Thomas, both the Justice Department and Jan. 6 select committee should hear from her. Her refusal to talk to the committee is as egregious as her husband’s failure to recuse himself. It’s time to test whether a Supreme Court justice and his wife are above the law.

[Boldface added]

 

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecies of Clarence Thomas

For decades, Thomas has had a deeply pessimistic view of the country, rooted in his reading of the Fourteenth Amendment. After the Supreme Court’s recent opinions, his dystopia is becoming our reality. 

 

The blockbuster decisions — on abortion, guns, religion and climate — told part of the story. But the court’s abrupt rightward shift ran through its entire docket.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/01/us/supreme-court-term-roe-guns-epa-decisions

[Excerpts:]

The court’s shift to the right included all sorts of legal issues, said Melissa Murray, a law professor at New York University.

Cases on abortion, voting and vaccines all reached the court by way of emergency applications this term. So did a request from Mr. Trump to block the release of White House records concerning the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The court rejected Mr. Trump’s emergency application in January, with only Justice Thomas noting a dissent. Two months later, it emerged that the justice’s wife, Virginia Thomas, had been sending text messages to Mr. Trump’s chief of staff urging him to take steps to overturn the vote. Experts in legal ethics said Justice Thomas should have recused himself. [Boldface added].

“First,” he said, “it’s clear a majority of the court is firmly committed to an originalist understanding of the Constitution rooted in the document’s text and history. Second, that majority will act boldly to apply its originalist philosophy in ways that curb certain perceived excesses of 20th-century ‘living constitutionalism,’ even when doing so is controversial and at odds with public opinion polls.”

On Thursday, as they were about to begin their summer breaks, the justices agreed to hear one more blockbuster, one that could radically reshape American elections, on the power of state legislatures to set voting rules.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

June 29, 2022

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

In related news, yesterday Virginia “Ginni” Thomas’s lawyer walked back her offer to testify to the January 6th committee about her role in the January 6 insurrection. Thomas has appeared in evidence the committee has collected: she texted Meadows before January 6 to call his attention to conspiracy theories about the election, wrote to Arizona lawmakers to urge them to create a new slate of electors that backed Trump rather than Biden, and communicated with lawyer John Eastman, the author of the memo detailing how then–vice president Mike Pence could overturn the election. She also attended the January 6 rally.

Ginni Thomas is married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Eastman told Pence’s top aide Greg Jacob that he thought Thomas would support Eastman’s theories. Justice Thomas has refused to recuse himself from matters before the court pertaining to the attempt to stop Biden’s election.

After news about the emails between Eastman and Thomas surfaced, the committee on June 16 invited Thomas to testify, and Thomas told the right-wing Daily Caller she was eager “to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them.”

Now her lawyer says he doesn’t see any reason for her to talk to the committee, saying her communications were largely boilerplate and unremarkable, simply forwarding writings by other people. He said he is worried about her testifying before a committee that intends “to continue the baseless harassment she has been subjected to since January 6.” He adds that “this has been a particularly stressful time” because of “the unprecedented assault on the conservative Supreme Court Justices and their families.”

Speaker at meeting of Ginni Thomas group called Biden’s win illegitimate long after Jan. 6, video shows

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2022/06/20/ginni-thomas-frontliners-john-eastman/

[Excerpts:]

Two months after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to help President Donald Trump stay in office, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, attended a gathering of right-wing activists where a speaker declared to roaring applause that Trump was still the “legitimate president,” a video recording of the event shows.

“There is a robbery that is going on in this country right now,” pastor and conservative radio personality C.L. Bryant told the crowd, according to video posted to Facebook by an attendee. “In fact, I say it to you and I’ll say it loud and clear, and I’m not ashamed to say it. I won’t bite my tongue. I do believe that Donald John Trump is the only legitimate president.”

The event on March 6, 2021, was a meeting of Frontliners for Liberty. The group vaulted from obscurity to national attention last week with the disclosure that Thomas had invited pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman to speak to its members in December 2020.

The revelation, originating from emails that a judge ordered Eastman to turn over to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, showed that Thomas was in contact with Eastman, a key legal architect of the attempt to subvert the election. The judge, David O. Carter of the Central District of California, wrote in a June 7 opinion that the emails, including two in which the group’s “high-profile leader” invited Eastman to speak — were relevant to the committee’s work.

While text messages and emails unearthed in recent weeks have shown that Thomas was involved in those efforts before Jan. 6, her attendance at the Orlando gathering indicates that her alliance with election deniers continued even after Joe Biden was inaugurated. Frontliners has hosted hard-right lawmakers, insisted on strict secrecy and proclaimed that the nation’s top enemy is the “radical fascist left,” according to social media posts, court filings and interviews with several people involved in the group.

One photograph from the Orlando event shows Bryant posing with Thomas. Others show Thomas wearing a name tag decorated with a yellow ribbon she and others wore saying “Trouble Maker.”

 

House Democrat calls for Clarence Thomas to resign following report of wife’s email with Eastman

In March, news broke that Thomas texted with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the aftermath of the presidential election regarding efforts to reverse the vote.

Earlier this month, the Post reported that she urged 29 GOP state lawmakers in Arizona to choose new presidential electors in an effort to reverse President Biden’s win there.

The Jan. 6 committee has asked Thomas to speak with the panel; Thomas said Thursday “I look forward to talking to them,” adding, “I can’t wait to clear up misconceptions.”

Pascrell, in his statement, referenced reports of Thomas “conspiring” with Trump and his allies while also noting that Clarence Thomas had heard 2020 election-related cases before the Supreme Court.

The high court has handed down at least 10 rulings regarding the 2020 election. Among the most notable was a January decision allowing the Jan. 6 panel to obtain White House records from the Trump administration.

Thomas was the only justice to dissent the decision.

“Last night, we read yet more reports that the wife of the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court was actively conspiring with Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election and overthrow American democracy,” Pascrell wrote.

“And while she was doing all this, her husband, Justice Thomas, was hearing litigation related to the 2020 election at the High Court,” he added.

In a tweet, the congressman said, “​​Ginni Thomas was complicit in the insurrection attempt at the Capitol on 1/6 as Justice Thomas was considering litigation around the 2020 election,” adding, “Thomas has proven himself a corrupt actor who has breached public trust.”

“For the good of the court and nation, he must resign NOW,” he said.

Pascrell is not the first lawmaker to call for Thomas’s resignation. In March, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) urged the justice to step down. Others have called on him to recuse himself from cases related to the Jan. 6 attack.

Some of Thomas’s colleagues, however, are offering support. Justice Sonia Sotomayor this week said her conservative colleague “is a man who cares deeply about the court as an institution.”

 

Eastman says email with Virginia Thomas was innocuous

The untold story of Ginni Thomas’ anti-cult activism — after she was ‘deprogrammed’

June 16, 2022
[Excerpt:]

Mr. Eastman has become a pivotal figure in the committee’s hearings, since his legal advice to Mr. Trump after the election was central to Mr. Trump’s efforts to reverse the outcome. Mr. Eastman is a former clerk of Justice Thomas and a friend of the Thomases, and in January 2021 he reached out to other former Thomas clerks about his legal work on Mr. Trump’s behalf on an online network used by Ms. Thomas and the clerks. Ms. Thomas is an outspoken Republican activist and Trump supporter who pressed Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and lawmakers in Arizona to take steps to overturn the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr.

flurry of text messages she wrote to Mr. Meadows were turned over to the committee and revealed earlier this year. They showed her fully embracing efforts to keep Mr. Trump in office, notwithstanding the will of voters.

“Do not concede,” she wrote, expressing hope that Mr. Biden’s family and allies, and members of the news media, would be taken to Guantánamo Bay.

The committee, in a letter to Ms. Thomas on Thursday, wrote that it had “obtained evidence that John Eastman worked to develop alternate slates of electors to stop the electoral count on Jan. 6.” The panel added that it had “evidence that you had certain communications with John Eastman during this time period. We believe you may have information concerning John Eastman’s plans and activities relevant to our investigation.”

Mr. Eastman said on Thursday that his communication with Ms. Thomas after the election was mundane. He released a copy of what he said was the email in question, in which Ms. Thomas asked him in December 2020 to provide “a status update to a group of grass-roots state leaders” with which she was affiliated.

“She invited me to give an update about election litigation to a group she met with periodically,” he wrote.

He also said that an email he wrote on Christmas Eve 2020 to other lawyers advising Mr. Trump, in which he said that “I understand that there is a heated fight underway” within the Supreme Court, was referring only to published reports he had read, and not to any inside information.

He provided only one example, an article from Vision Times, an obscure site associated with Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual movement opposed to the Chinese Communist Party that is known for publications that advance right-wing misinformation.

“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,” Mr. Eastman wrote. “We have never engaged in such discussions, would not engage in such discussions and did not do so in December 2020 or anytime else.”

Mr. Eastman’s legal advice was the basis for an intense pressure campaign by Mr. Trump that was directed at Vice President Mike Pence, in the hope he would reject electors from contested states in his role overseeing Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results on Jan. 6.

That advice was assailed on Thursday at the House committee’s hearing by J. Michael Luttig, a conservative and former federal appeals court judge for whom Mr. Eastman also once clerked. Mr. Luttig repudiated Mr. Eastman, saying that had his advice been followed, it would have been “tantamount to a revolution” and “the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the Republic.”

The connection between Mr. Eastman and the Thomases has been attracting attention for more than a year. In January 2021, in the wake of the Capitol riot, Mr. Eastman referred to his legal work for Mr. Trump on a private electronic forum used by former Thomas clerks, and by Ms. Thomas.

“Rest assured that those of us involved in this are working diligently to ascertain the truth,” Mr. Eastman wrote at the time. He invited other clerks “interested in more information” to get in touch.

That prompted another former Thomas clerk, Stephen F. Smith, a Notre Dame professor, to reply that he hoped everyone agreed “that the search for truth doesn’t in any way justify insurrection, trying to kidnap and assassinate elected officials, attacking police officers or making common cause with racists and anti-Semites.” The exchanges were later leaked.

For Ms. Thomas, a string of revelations over the past year has shown that she actively supported and participated at the highest levels in efforts to overturn the election.

In addition to her text messages, The Times Magazine reported on her role on the board of C.N.P. Action, a conservative group deeply involved in efforts to thwart Mr. Biden’s victory. The Post reported this month that she reached out to a number of lawmakers in Arizona for aid in overturning the election.

Her actions have cast a spotlight on her husband, who has issued opinions favoring Mr. Trump’s efforts to both reverse his loss and stymie the House investigation into the events of Jan. 6.

The Jan. 6 committee’s letter sought a number of documents from Ms. Thomas, including those delving into any “plans, efforts or discussions” on challenging the election, communications to legislatures in swing states or records relating to Mr. Pence’s role in counting electoral votes. Ms. Thomas indicated a willingness to speak to the committee, saying in comments to The Daily Caller that she “can’t wait to clear up misconceptions.”

Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

Ginni Thomas became an anti-cult activist after being pulled out of a self-help program in the 1980s, she said in a video obtained by NBC News. Several people who knew her then are surprised by her apparent embrace of election conspiracies that originated with QAnon.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/untold-story-ginni-thomass-anti-cult-activism-was-deprogrammed

[Excerpt:]

Two debunked conspiracies Thomas referenced in the aftermath of the 2020 election were first embraced and promoted by QAnon adherents. One theory involves claims that Democrats and other election officials were being arrested and shipped off to the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba as the votes were still being counted. 

Another is the idea that then-President Donald Trump had watermarked mail-in ballots so he could track voter fraud — a claim both false and implausible. Still, QAnon followers spread both claims online following the November 3 vote, and references appear in QAnon-connected videos, social media posts and message boards. 

In text messages to Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days after the Nov. 3 vote, she wrote “ballot fraud co-conspirators’’ were “being arrested & detained for ballot fraud right now & over coming days, & will be living in barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition,” according to The Washington Post and CBS News, the The New York Times and other outlets. NBC News has not independently seen the text messages. 

She also wrote: “Watermarked ballots in over 12 states have been part of a huge Trump & military white hat sting operation in 12 key battleground states.”

“I don’t know how anybody would go for that — again,” said Peter Georgiades, a Pittsburgh- based lawyer who for more than a decade specialized in suing cults, of the conspiracies Thomas referred to in her text messages. 

Georgiades knew Thomas from their mutual involvement in the anti-cult movement and spoke at an anti-cult briefing for congressional staff that Thomas helped organize in 1986.

“Here is Ginni Thomas sort of getting sucked into the basically equivalent of a cult again,” said one person involved with a 1988 anti-cult briefing for congressional staffers Thomas helped organize, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution.

 

Ginni Thomas pressed 29 Ariz. lawmakers to help overturn Trump’s defeat, emails show

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2022/06/10/ginni-thomas-election-arizona-lawmakers/

The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote to legislators in a crucial swing state after the Trump campaign’s loss in 2020.

Jo Becker and 

[Excerpt:]

In the weeks after the 2020 presidential election, Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, twice lobbied the speaker of the Arizona House and another lawmaker to effectively reverse Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s popular-vote victory and deliver the crucial swing state to Donald J. Trump.

Ms. Thomas, known as Ginni, a right-wing political activist who became a close ally of Mr. Trump during his presidency, made the entreaties in emails to Russell Bowers, the Republican speaker, and Shawnna Bolick, a Republican state representative. Ms. Bolick’s husband, Clint, once worked with Justice Thomas and now sits on the Arizona Supreme Court.

The emails came as Mr. Trump and his allies were engaged in a legal effort to overturn his defeats in several battleground states. While the Arizona emails did not mention either presidential candidate by name, they echoed the former president’s false claims of voter fraud and his legal team’s dubious contention that the power to choose electors therefore rested not with the voters but with state legislatures.

“Do your constitutional duty,” Ms. Thomas wrote the lawmakers on Nov. 9. On Dec. 13, with Mr. Trump still refusing to concede on the eve of the Electoral College vote, she contacted the lawmakers again.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

May 20, 2022

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

Today, Emma Brown of the Washington Post broke the story that Ginni Thomas, who is married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was even more deeply involved in the attack on the election than we knew. Ginni Thomas sent emails to two Arizona lawmakers on November 9, 2020, urging them to ignore the legitimately elected presidential electors for Democrat Joe Biden and replace them with “a clean slate.” Using a platform that provided prewritten emails, she urged the lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure,” and “to fight back against fraud.”

One of the people to whom she wrote, Shawnna Bolick, is married to Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick. The Bolicks are close to Clarence Thomas, who is godfather to one of the Bolicks’ children. Shawnna Bolick responded to Thomas: “I hope you and Clarence are doing great!” In 2021, Bolick introduced a bill to allow the Arizona legislature to choose its own electors, regardless of the will of the voters. She is now running for secretary of state, where she would oversee the state’s elections.

Justice Thomas was apparently talking about the leak of the draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade when on May 6 he told a group of judges and lawyers that our justice system is in danger if people are unwilling to “live with outcomes we don’t agree with.”

 

Supreme Court fallout casts harsh light on Roberts leadership

The ultraconservative Thomas has created headaches of a different sort for Roberts in recent months, due to revelations related to the political activities of his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. 

In the weeks following the 2020 election, Ginni Thomas reportedly exchanged dozens of text messages with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that appeared to show her strategizing over how to bypass the will of American voters to install Trump for a second White House term despite his loss to President Biden, an outcome she described as an “obvious fraud” and “the greatest heist of our history.”

During roughly the same post-election time frame, Clarence Thomas declined to recuse himself from numerous pro-Trump legal challenges that contested the 2020 results. And earlier this year, he cast the lone dissenting vote in a Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way for the House committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection to obtain Trump White House records.

The news prompted Democrats to call on Thomas to recuse from any future election-related disputes that come before the court. In his three decades on the bench, however, Thomas has never stepped aside from a case due to a real or perceived conflict of interest resulting from his wife’s political activities.

His more fervent detractors demanded resignation or impeachment. That ethical scrutiny could soon reignite as litigation related to the House panel probing Jan. 6 makes its way through the appeals process, perhaps eventually reaching the justices.

Recent surveys suggest the rash of negative headlines has done serious damage to the Supreme Court’s standing.

In a poll released last month, a majority of Americans, 52 percent, said Thomas should recuse from cases related to the 2020 presidential election.

From: POLITICO Playbook <politicoplaybook@email.politico.com>

Date: May 7, 2022 

Justice CLARENCE THOMAS warned Friday that “you cannot have a free society” without strong institutions, which shouldn’t be “bullied” away from certain outcomes just because people don’t like them.

Notes Abby Phillip: It’s not exactly advice VIRGINIA THOMAS followed as she tried to overturn the 2020 election.

 

House panel to explore impeachment, judicial ethics in wake of Ginni Thomas texts

[Excerpts:]

Ginni Thomas has been a regular presence in conservative activism circles for decades, but scrutiny of her activities escalated following a January New Yorker profile raising questions about whether her actions pose a conflict of interest to Justice Thomas.

In March, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack revealed Thomas’s text messages to Meadows urging him to not let Trump concede the 2020 election, asserting without evidence that there was fraud in the election and expressing frustration that Republican members of Congress were not doing more to help overturn the results. 

That further heightened outrage at Clarence Thomas, given that he could rule on cases about the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. A group of 24 House and Senate Democrats sent a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts and Thomas asking Thomas to recuse himself from such cases.

Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor and judicial ethics scholar, has said that Thomas should recuse himself from cases about Jan. 6 in light of his wife’s text messages. 

Also at the hearing will be Donald Sherman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has also called Thomas’s recusal and a code of conduct for the court. Gabe Roth of Fix the Court has for years called for Thomas to recuse himself from matters related to his wife’s activism.

 

Capitol attack panel scores two big wins as it inches closer to Trump’s inner circle

Hugo Lowell in Washington

Mon 4 Apr 2022 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/04/capitol-attack-panel-inches-closer-to-trump-inner-circle

[Excerpts:]

The panel remains undecided whether to demand cooperation from Ginni Thomas, the wife of the supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, after the Washington Post and CBS reported she pressed Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows in texts to overturn the 2020 election.

The issue centers on the fact that several members on the select committee did not know about Thomas’s texts – turned over by Meadows months ago – until news reports brought them to public attention, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Some members wanted to call her in to ask her about the texts, but others who had discussed the issue months ago demurred, arguing that Thomas, a far-right activist, was unlikely to assist the panel and would try to turn the inquiry into a political circus.

A spokesperson for the panel did not respond to a request for comment.

The select committee may yet request cooperation from Thomas, but House investigators are pursuing myriad lines of inquiry and whether to ask her for voluntary assistance or demand documents and testimony pursuant to a subpoena is just one strand, the sources said.

 

From: PBS NewsHour <follow@newshour.org>
Date: March 29, 2022 
Subject: Ginni Thomas’ texts

 

THE LATEST ON JAN. 6
By Lisa Desjardins, @LisaDNews
Correspondent

If you are reading this newsletter, I suspect you are like those of us who write it: hungry for basic information and facts. We savor those things like a favorite meal. (For me, currently, that’s a homemade pot of zuppa Toscana.)

But history serves up knowledge on its own timeline. Often in a sudden platter – or burst! – of news.

This seems to be where we are now regarding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The past week has brought a few new bits of knowledge and arguments.

We thought it a good time for an update.

Ginni Thomas

Led by thereporting of Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, several outlets reported last week that Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent more than 20 text messages advocating for efforts to overturn the 2020 election to Mark Meadows while he was chief of staff to former President Donald Trump.

Here’s a quick summary of what has been reported:

  • How we got here. The messages were among more than 2,300 texts Meadows voluntarily turned over to the Jan. 6 committee. He later ceased cooperation.
  • What Ginni Thomas sent.The committee has 21 text messages from Thomas to Meadows. All but one came in November 2020, after the election. The other text is dated Jan. 10, 2021.
  • “The greatest Heist.” Thomas implored Meadows to try to overturn the election results, expressing deep fear, praising disproven conspiracy theorists and referring to Biden’s win as “the greatest Heist of our History” and a “coup.”
  • Criticism of Pence. After Jan. 6, Thomas criticized then-Vice President Mike Pence, who rejected the idea that he could block the election result. She wrote, “Most of us are disgusted with the VP and are in listening mode to see where to fight with our teams. Those who attacked the Capitol are not representative of our great teams of patriots for DJT!!”
  • What about Justice Thomas? The texts never mention Justice Thomas.
  • “Best friend.” Ginni Thomas at one point refers to a related conversation with her “best friend,” but does not name that figure. Justice Thomas has referred to his wife as his best friend in the past. But there is no specific indication that Ginni Thomas meant her husband in these texts.

In addition, Ginni Thomas has said she was at the “Stop the Steal” rally that occurred before the insurrection on Jan. 6, but that she did not stay long and did not have a role in helping organize it.

The discussion happening now:

    • No response from either Thomas. Neither Justice Thomas nor Ginni Thomas has issued a statement or responded to requests regarding the texts.
    • Will the committee ask for testimony? Several outlets now report that the Jan. 6 committee plans to ask Ginni Thomas to voluntarily testify.
    • Calls for recusal. Some Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are calling for Justice Thomas to recuse himself from cases related to Jan. 6.
    • The recusal question.Whether Justice Thomas has a conflict of interest because of his wife’s advocacy with the White House as the court has been involved in legal cases regarding the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 investigation.
    • What are the rules here? There is no code of ethics for the Supreme Court. Justices choose to recuse or not, weighing their own judicial values and public perception of their actions.
    • Is this impeachable?Supreme Court justices can be impeached. As with presidential impeachment, there is no clear standard for what is impeachable. A Supreme Court impeachment has happened only once, in 1805. Justice Samuel Chase was impeached, charged with overstepping his role as a judge and acting as a partisan prosecutor. He was acquitted in the Senate and returned to the bench.

 

Letters from an America, Heather Cox Richardson

March 14, 2022

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

[Excerpt:]

A tape today revealed that Cawthorn called into a right-wing talk show on January 6th and said he had brought “multiple weapons” with him that day, suggesting he had known what was planned.

Also today, Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, appeared to be trying to get ahead of a story about her participation in the events of January 6 when she told her story to the right-wing Free Beacon. It reported: “She did not help organize the White House rally that preceded the riot at the Capitol. She did attend the rally, but got cold and left early. And most importantly, in her view, her involvement with the event has no bearing on the work of her husband, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.”

 

Ginni Thomas Admits She Attended January 6 Stop the Steal Rally

She says she left before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.

NOAH Y. KIM

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/03/ginni-thomas-january-6-clarence-admits-she-supreme-court-stop-the-steal-rally/

[Excerpt:]

Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, admitted for the first time that she attended the notorious Stop the Steal rally on January 6, 2020, which culminated in the attack on the US Capitol. The startling disclosure came during an interview with the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, and raises further questions about whether her political activism and ties to the far right constitute a conflict of interest for her husband.

 

 

“[L]et’s face it: life is basically unfair. But, even in a situation that’s unfair, I think it’s possible to seek out a kind of fairness.”

— Haruki Murakami