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Ginni Thomas Repeats False 2020 Election Claim in Jan. 6 Interview

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WASHINGTON — Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative activist who pushed to overturn the 2020 election, told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that she never discussed those efforts together with her husband, during a closed-door interview through which she continued to perpetuate the false claim that the election was stolen.

Leaving the interview, which took place at an office constructing near the Capitol and lasted about 4 hours, Ms. Thomas smiled in response to reporters’ questions, but declined to reply any publicly.

She did, nevertheless, answer questions behind closed doors, said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, who added that her testimony could possibly be included in an upcoming hearing.

“If there’s something of merit, it’s going to be,” he said.

During her interview, Ms. Thomas, who goes by Ginni, repeated her assertion that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald J. Trump, Mr. Thompson said, a belief she insisted upon in late 2020 as she pressured state legislators and the White House chief of staff to do more to attempt to invalidate the outcomes.

In a press release she read in the beginning of her testimony, Ms. Thomas denied having discussed her postelection activities together with her husband.

In her statement, a duplicate of which was obtained by The Recent York Times, Ms. Thomas called it “an ironclad rule” that she and Justice Thomas never discuss cases pending before the Supreme Court. “It’s laughable for anyone who knows my husband to think I could influence his jurisprudence — the person is independent and stubborn, with strong character traits of independence and integrity,” she added.

The interview ended months of negotiations between the committee and Ms. Thomas over her testimony. The committee’s investigators had grown particularly interested by her communications with John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who was in close contact with Mr. Trump and wrote a memo that Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans have likened to a blueprint for a coup.

“At this point, we’re glad she got here,” Mr. Thompson said.

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

“She answered all of the committee’s questions,” Mr. Paoletta said in a press release. “As she has said from the outset, Mrs. Thomas had significant concerns about fraud and irregularities within the 2020 election. And, as she told the committee, her minimal and mainstream activity focused on ensuring that reports of fraud and irregularities were investigated. Beyond that, she played no role in any events after the 2020 election results. As she wrote in a text to Mark Meadows on the time, she also condemned the violence on Jan. 6, as she abhors violence on any side of the aisle.”

A spokesman for the committee declined to comment.

Ms. Thomas exchanged text messages with Mr. Meadows, the White House chief of staff, through which she urged him to challenge Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory within the 2020 election, which she called a “heist,” and indicated that she had reached out to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, about Mr. Trump’s efforts to make use of the courts to maintain himself in power. She even suggested the lawyer who must be put in control of that effort.

How Times reporters cover politics. We depend on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they usually are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

Ms. Thomas also pressed lawmakers in several states to fight the outcomes of the election.

Nevertheless it was Ms. Thomas’s interactions with Mr. Eastman, a conservative lawyer who pushed Vice President Mike Pence to dam or delay the certification of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021, which have most interested investigators.

“She’s a witness,” Mr. Thompson said Thursday. “We didn’t accuse her of anything.”

The panel obtained at the least one email between Ms. Thomas and Mr. Eastman after a federal judge ordered Mr. Eastman to show over documents to the panel from the period after the November 2020 election when he was meeting with conservative groups to debate fighting the election results.

That very same judge has said it’s “more likely than not” that Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman committed two felonies as a part of the hassle, including conspiracy to defraud the American people.

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

Ms. Thomas’s cooperation comes because the Jan. 6 committee is entering its final months of labor after a summer of high-profile hearings and preparing an in depth report, which is anticipated to incorporate recommendations for the right way to confront the threats to democracy highlighted by the riot and Mr. Trump’s drive to overturn the election.

The interview got here just days after the panel abruptly postponed a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, citing the hurricane bearing down on Florida. The hearing has yet to be rescheduled.

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

The panel has interviewed greater than 1,000 witnesses and has received a whole lot of 1000’s of documents and greater than 10,000 submissions to its tip line since June.

“There’s lots more information coming in on a regular basis,” Mr. Raskin said.

He said the committee members have viewed 1000’s of hours’ price of video images and tape but wish to be “disciplined” about how they present them in the following hearing.

“There are particular people who find themselves going to denounce whatever we do, irrespective of what,” he said. “We just wish to have the option to finish the narrative after which deliver our recommendations about what must be done to be able to insulate American democracy against coups, rebellion, political violence and electoral sabotage in the long run.”

Maggie Haberman and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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