The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, US Capitol attack is in possession of email correspondence between conservative attorney John Eastman and Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a conservative activist who’s the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a source familiar with the committee’s investigation told CNN.
The source who spoke with CNN would not provide details on the emails’ contents or say if they were direct messages between the two or part of a larger group correspondence. The Washington Post first reported on the emails.
A separate source said the emails were part of a tranche of messages provided to the committee after a federal judge ruled that Eastman’s correspondence was pertinent to the committee’s work investigating former President Donald Trump and efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the months leading up to January 6.
There is some discussion about adding Thomas’ role in the effort to overturn the election results to some of the committee’s upcoming public hearings, but the sources cautioned that the panel’s schedule is already very full and there is currently no plan.
Thomas did not respond to a CNN request for comment. Attorneys for Eastman declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for the House select committee.
Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar of California, a member of the committee, would not confirm that it was in possession of the emails but told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night that the hearings would include only content the committee thought was specific to the focus of its investigation.
“The committee won’t be shy about seeking additional information from people that have information relevant to the investigation,” Aguilar told Cooper in response to a question about adding Thomas to the committee’s hearings.
“We’re not talking about specifics, but these hearings are pretty well firm and locked in, and we look forward to piecing this puzzle together for the American public and sharing what we know to date,” the California Democrat continued.
Eastman was the architect of a pressure campaign surrounding then-Vice President Mike Pence. He argued that Pence had the legal authority to stand in the way of the certification of the election results. It was a theory Pence ultimately rejected — to the ire of Trump and his supporters. Eastman also once served as a clerk to Clarence Thomas.
As previously reported by CNN, Ginni Thomas was in regular contact with then-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows between Election Day and January 6, encouraging him to keep up the effort to overturn the election results.
Thomas has repeatedly said that her political activism has nothing to do with her husband’s work on the Supreme Court.
Clarence Thomas participated in Supreme Court cases related to 2020 election controversies and, in one February 2021 opinion, dissented as the full court declined to take up a challenge to Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting procedures. He demonstrated support for the claim that election fraud is a threat to America.
“We are fortunate that many of the cases we have seen alleged only improper rule changes, not fraud. But that observation provides only small comfort,” he wrote. “An election free from strong evidence of systemic fraud is not alone sufficient for election confidence.” No other justice joined his opinion.
This past January, Thomas dissented alone as the court allowed the National Archives to release thousands of documents from the Trump White House to the January 6 committee, over the former President’s attempt to assert executive privilege.
Thomas has refused to recuse himself in 2020 election-related cases.
Sources said the House select committee has contemplated making Ginni Thomas’ role in the attempt to overturn the election part of its investigation, but it has yet to call her in to testify or to issue her a subpoena.
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