The House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol is in possession of email correspondence between conservative attorney John Eastman and Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a conservative activist who is the judge’s wife. of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a source familiar with the committee’s investigation told CNN.
The source who spoke with CNN did not provide details about the content of the emails or whether 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 slice of messages provided to the committee after a federal judge ruled Eastman’s correspondence was relevant to the committee’s work investigating former President Donald Trump. and efforts to cancel the 2020 presidential election in the months leading up to January 6.
There are talks of adding Thomas’s role in the effort to overturn the election results to some of the committee’s upcoming public hearings, but the sources warned that the panel’s schedule is already hectic and that it there are currently no plans.
Thomas did not respond to a CNN request for comment. Eastman’s attorneys declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for the House Select Committee.
Democratic Representative Pete Aguilar of California, a member of the committee, did not confirm that he had possession of the emails, but told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday evening that the hearings would only include content that the committee considered specific to the purpose of his investigation.
“The committee will not hesitate to seek additional information from people with information relevant to the investigation,” Aguilar told Cooper in response to a question about Thomas’ addition to the committee hearings.
“We’re not talking specifics, but those hearings are pretty firm and locked down, and we look forward to piecing this puzzle together for the American public and sharing what we know so far,” 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 object to the certification of election results. It was a theory that Pence ultimately dismissed – to the wrath of Trump and his supporters. Eastman was also Clarence Thomas’s clerk.
As previously reported by CNN, Ginni Thomas was in regular contact with Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows between Election Day and Jan. 6, encouraging him to continue his efforts to overturn the election results.
Thomas has repeatedly said that her political activism had nothing to do with her husband’s work on the Supreme Court.
Clarence Thomas has participated in Supreme Court cases related to the 2020 election controversies and, in a February 2021 notice, dissented as the full court declined to challenge Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting procedures . He demonstrated his support for the claim that voter fraud is a threat to America.
“We are fortunate that many of the cases we have seen only allege improper rule changes, not fraud. But this observation brings little comfort,” he wrote. “An election free of strong evidence of systemic fraud is not enough on its own for voter confidence.” No other justice joined his opinion.
Last January, Thomas dissented on his own as the court allowed the National Archives to release thousands of Trump White House documents to the Jan. 6 committee, about the former president’s attempt to claim executive privilege.
Thomas has declined to recuse himself in matters related to the 2020 election.
Sources said the House Select Committee had considered making Ginni Thomas’s role in the attempted annulment of the election part of its investigation, but it has not yet called her to testify or issue a subpoena.
On Wednesday evening, The New York Times reported that Eastman claimed in December 2020 that there had been a “heated tussle” between Supreme Court justices over whether to hear arguments about the president’s efforts to the time to overturn the 2020 election results, and another pro-Trump lawyer has suggested the “‘wild’ chaos” on Jan. 6 could prompt the high court to take action.
In an exchange on Dec. 24, 2020, John Eastman addressed the alleged infighting in an email to Kenneth Chesebro and Trump campaign officials, hoping it would encourage Supreme Court justices to hear an election case, a The Times reported, citing two people briefed on the content of the email.
“Thus, the odds are not based on legal merits, but on an assessment of the judges’ spines, and I understand there is a heated fight going on,” Eastman reportedly wrote, referring to the process of at least four judges needed to take a case. He added: “For those who are ready to do their duty, we should help them by giving them a Wisconsin cert petition to add to the mix.”
According to the Times, Chesebro responded, “The odds for action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the judges begin to fear there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they decide by here. there, anyway.”
The exchange was part of a group of emails obtained by the House Select Committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol, the Times said, and it took place days after Trump himself called for a “wild” protest at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, the day electoral votes had to be certified by Congress.
CNN has not confirmed the report, and it’s unclear what real insight, if any, Eastman had about the Supreme Court justices’ deliberations.
CNN reached out to the Supreme Court for comment, and the Jan. 6 committee declined to comment Wednesday night. Chesebro and an attorney for Eastman did not respond to requests for comment from The Times.
In the email exchange, there was a request that the Trump campaign pay for the effort to bring a case to the High Court and that may have been denied, the Times also reported.
Asked about the email exchange, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat and Jan. 6 committee member, said Thursday that the email “suggests there were at least some people maneuvering in right-wing legal circles to try to push the Supreme”. Court in action.
Raskin also told CNN’s “New Day” that if there is any evidence of Eastman’s comments about what was going on among Supreme Court justices, “we will report that he said that.”
“That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true,” Raskin warned. “He could have lied about what he knew inside. On the other hand, maybe he had an indirect connection to the Supreme Court, and we want to find out if that’s true. To determine if, you know, the same people who were establishing a secondary channel to the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters and the domestic violent extremist movement also had a secondary channel, somehow, to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. America.”