WASHINGTON — The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress will reportedly speak to Ginni Thomas, the right-wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse to Justice Clarence Thomas.
When working to get Thomas to testify before the committee, lawyers for Thomas argued she shouldn't have to appear because it was "a particularly stressful time." Now it seems it's finally happening.
Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), who sits on the committee, told Raw Story that she hasn't read through the full details, but that it was a step in the right direction.
"She is the reason why I — and her meddling, her attempt to overturn the results of the election were what — and then Clarence Thomas' subsequent ruling — is why I believe Clarence Thomas should step down," Escobar explained.
Thomas has been linked to pressuring Arizona and Wisconsin lawmakers to overturn the state's electoral votes so that Donald Trump could win the states. At the same time, there was another pressure campaign on election officials in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania so that Republicans there could change the vote and ensure Trump was re-elected.
Thomas was also working directly with Trump's White House, and text messages to chief of staff Mark Meadows prove it. Meadows was then subpoenaed and told to turn over all of his electronic information from the days at the White House to the Jan. 6 committee. He fought the subpoena, going all the way to the Supreme Court, where Thomas didn't recuse himself from the case and was the only judge to oppose the subpoena. It was then revealed Thomas' wife was in those text messages.
Thomas' involvement has posed serious questions about the ethics of the Supreme Court, which is supposed to remain independent and justices are to recuse themselves from cases that present a conflict of interest.
"I'm very much of the mind that spouses should not be held to account for each other, right? They're autonomous human beings. They're independent people," said Escobar. "What's concerning is Clarence Thomas' ruling, which was a single objection on the Supreme Court that makes it clear that he is deeply conflicted."
Republicans have complained that calling in the spouse of a Supreme Court justice is "unprecedented," but Escobar said that Thomas' behavior was unprecedented.
"Her attempt to overturn the election was unprecedented," said the Texas congresswoman. "Her engagement with insurrectionists was unprecedented. Her pressure on states is unprecedented."
Other lawmakers made it clear that everything around Jan. 6 is unprecedented because the United States has never had a president and his party willing to stage an uprising over an election before.
Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) said that she has faith in the committee to ask what needs to be asked and get to the bottom of what happened. Hearing that the wife of a Supreme Court justice was pressuring lawmakers on behalf of the president was shocking to her, though she said she was likely just as shocked as the rest of America.
"Look, I think it's important to preserve faith in our democratic institutions, including the courts," she said. "We can't take the public trust lightly and I think there has been an elimination of the public trust at the Supreme Court. So, this would be her opportunity to explain."
She went on to say that she hopes this kind of oversight can restore American faith in the courts.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who also sits on the Jan. 6 committee, said that he is interested in the plan to substitute counterfeit electors for the actual Electoral College process, which was recently addressed by the Presidential Reform Act that Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) co-authored. The House ultimately passed it with nine Republican members supporting it. None of those members are seeking reelection, however.
"It will help us determine how vulnerable we are to those kinds of schemes to substitute a fake process for the real democratic process," said Raskin.
"It seemed like that sub-plot indicated a scheme of action that involved primarily the executive branch with the backup of the judicial branch against the actual will of the people and the ability of Congress to ratify the will of the people," he continued.
Raskin said that the matter of Justice Clarence Thomas voting to protect his spouse and not recusing himself was a separate problem that the Jan. 6 committee isn't even tasked with.
"The Jan. 6 committee isn't looking into the canons of judicial ethics or what reforms are [needed] there," he said. "So, that strikes me as a separate problem. Ginni Thomas would be a witness if she were married to someone else."
The Jan. 6 committee is set to meet Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. EST.
With additional reporting by Matt Laslo