The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is in possession of emails Ginni Thomas, the wife of conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, exchanged with John Eastman, a lawyer advising former President Donald Trump how to overturn the 2020 election.
The correspondence shows Thomas was more involved in trying to reverse Trump’s election defeat than previously known, two sources told The Washington Post. The content of the emails, and the timing of the exchanges, wasn’t known.
Earlier this month, a judge ordered Eastman to surrender 159 documents to the House panel.
In another email exchange dated Dec. 24, 2020, reviewed by the committee and detailed in The New York Times, Eastman wrote to Kenneth Chesebro, another lawyer supporting Trump, and other Trump officials, that Supreme Court justices were arguing over whether to hear a case contesting the results of the 2020 election.
In the email, Eastman discussed filing a lawsuit over the results in Wisconsin, hoping to nudge at least four justices needed for the Supreme Court to take a case.
“So the odds are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices’ spines, and I understand that there is a heated fight underway,” Eastman wrote, two sources told the Times.
“For those willing to do their duty, we should help them by giving them a Wisconsin cert petition to add into the mix,” Eastman continued.
Eastman, who previously clerked for Clarence Thomas, will also be a focus of Thursday’s Jan. 6 hearing. The panel’s third public hearing is set to illustrate Trump’s efforts on Jan. 6 and the days before to pressure his vice president not to certify electoral votes.
“President Trump plotted with a lawyer named John Eastman and others to overturn the outcome of the election on Jan. 6,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a video posted by the committee on Twitter.
The video also included an excerpt from the committee interviewing Eric Herschmann, a former White House lawyer, who said Eastman called him the day after Jan. 6.
“He started to ask me about something dealing with Georgia and preserving something potentially for appeal,” Herschmann said.
Herschmann also recounted legal advice he offered to Eastman, before hanging up.
“Get a great f’ing criminal defense lawyer, you’re going to need it,” Herchmann said.
This is not the first time Ginni Thomas’ role in supporting Trump has come under the spotlight. A few days following the 2020 election, Thomas emailed 29 state lawmakers in Arizona, calling on them to ignore Joe Biden’s win and instead appoint electors in support of Trump, according to another Post report.
She wrote they had “power to fight back against fraud” and “ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen,” even though Biden won the state by more than 10,000 votes.
The House panel has also reviewed text messages Thomas sent to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows from November 2020 to January 2021, calling on him to fight the result of the democratic election.
“Do not concede,” she wrote Meadows on Nov. 6, 2020. “It takes time for the army who is gathering for his back.”
The House panel was reportedly considering pursuing a voluntary interview with Thomas in March. Since then, committee members have said Thomas is not seen as “a focal point.”
“Well, she was not really a focal point of the broader committee’s work,” committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told CBS News on May 19. “She just happens to be the wife of a Supreme Court justice.”
The new emails with Eastman, though, could change this calculus, with the committee now considering allocating time to review Thomas’ efforts to overturn the election, according to The Post.
Thomas also told the Washington Free Beacon she attended the “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse, preceding the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“I was disappointed and frustrated that there was violence that happened following a peaceful gathering of Trump supporters on the Ellipse on Jan. 6,” Thomas said in the interview. “There are important and legitimate substantive questions about achieving goals like electoral integrity, racial equality, and political accountability that a democratic system like ours needs to be able to discuss and debate rationally in the political square. I fear we are losing that ability.”
Ginni Thomas also insisted she kept her opinions “separate” from those of her husband.
“Like so many married couples, we share many of the same ideals, principles, and aspirations for America,” Thomas told the Free Beacon. “But we have our own separate careers, and our own ideas and opinions too. Clarence doesn’t discuss his work with me, and I don’t involve him in my work.”
Clarence Thomas did not disclose his wife’s role in plotting to overturn the election. The Supreme Court has no ethics rules on conflicts of interest.