To understand what happened on Jan. 6 and the runup to the attack on the Capitol, congressional investigators will need to talk to those with unique perspectives. There’s a relatively small universe of people who can shed light on developments as they unfolded from a political, legal, and activist perspective.
By any fair measure, Ginni Thomas is one of those people.
The right-wing conspiracy theorist, for example, attended the pre-riot “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6. Separate reports in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine added that Thomas also played an organizing role in the pro-Trump gathering just south of the White House.
She also had extensive communications with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, with whom Thomas discussed strategies to overturn the election results, and pressured congressional Republicans to do more to overturn the election, including calling on lawmakers to go “out in the streets.” By some accounts, she even reached out to Jared Kushner about legal options surrounding the larger offensive.
If this sounds to you like someone the Jan. 6 committee might want to talk to, you’re not alone. NPR reported:
The chairman of the Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol will recommend that it invites Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to appear.
“It appears that Mrs. Thomas has information relevant to our investigation. It’s important that we hear from all witnesses who can help us get answers for the American people about the violence of January 6th and its causes, and that includes Mrs. Thomas,” the panel said, according to a statement shared in the email.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chair of the bipartisan panel, added yesterday, “Based on the evidence we have in our possession, I feel very confident about inviting [Thomas] to the committee — and if she refuses, issuing a subpoena.”
It’s worth emphasizing that the Jan. 6 committee has acted with consistent unanimity on practically everything for months, but on this one issue, there have been some complications. The New York Times reported over the weekend:
In the Thomases, the committee is up against a couple that has deep networks of support across the conservative movement and Washington, including inside the committee. The panel’s Republican vice chairwoman, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, has led the charge in holding Mr. Trump to account for his efforts to overturn the election, but has wanted to avoid any aggressive effort that, in her view, could unfairly target Justice Thomas, the senior member of the Supreme Court.
According to a Washington Post report, the committee will, in fact, seek an interview with Thomas, Cheney’s concerns notwithstanding.
That said, a plan is not yet in place. After the bipartisan panel met privately last night, Thompson told reporters that a decision on Ginni Thomas will have to wait. “We are still working on everything,” the chairman said.
Of course, even after the committee makes up its mind, the next question is tougher to answer: Will Thomas answer investigators’ questions? And if not, what will the legal process look like if/when lawmakers pursue the spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice?
Watch this space.