Ginny Thomas says she regrets text messages to Meadows after election

WASHINGTON — Virginia Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, said she regretted reporting to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after the 2020 election. Meadows, who sent the text messages and told a House committee on Jan. 6 “I would take back all the text messages” if I could today. “

Thomas – known as Kinney – is a longtime conservative activist. In transcripts of the interview released by the group on Friday, she told investigators she was “agitated” after the election when she sent several text messages to Meadows urging him to stand firm for then-President Donald Trump because He falsely claimed that there was widespread electoral fraud.

In the text, she bemoaned the state of American politics and called the election a “robbery.” Thomas told the panel that she still feels there were irregularities in the election, but she does believe that Joe Biden is president of the United States.

“You know, it was an emotional moment,” Thomas told the committee. “I’m sorry these texts exist.”

The group of nine sought an interview with Thomas, and she volunteered to appear. Although Thomas urged Meadows to take action, and she was married to one of nine Supreme Court justices who reviewed Trump’s election challenges at the time, investigators believe she played a major role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, or His inaction came as a violent uprising unfolded. Not once did her name appear in the committee’s final report, released last week.

Still, the committee has tried to talk to her as it develops a full account of the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising and those of the preceding weeks. The committee’s chairmen and vice chairmen, Reps. Benny Thompson (D-Mississippi) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), said the committee wanted to speak with her after her name came up in communications with other witnesses.

Thomas’ attorney, Mark Pauletta, said in a statement Friday that her absence from the report was a “obvious from the outset” conclusion that her post-election activities were “minimally mainstream.”

In the interview, Thomas described himself as an “instigator” for Groundswell and other conservative advocacy groups that have met weekly as a coalition for years. She and her husband are longtime associates of conservative lawyer John Eastman, the architect of the plan that sees several 2020 battleground states fielding replacement electors for Trump instead of Biden.

Thomas said that while she was interested in pursuing the allegations of voter fraud, she largely took a back seat after the election because she felt her role as Justice Thomas’ wife was often discussed “coldly.” She insists she runs the business separately from her husband.

“Anyone who knew my husband thought I could influence his jurisprudence is ridiculous,” she said. “The man was independent and stubborn.”

Throughout the interview, Thomas said she remained concerned about election fraud, but offered little evidence. Pressed by investigators about her postelection efforts to challenge the election results, Thomas objected.

When the panel told her that Clementa Mitchell, a Trump-aligned attorney, said under oath that Thomas had asked her about possible election fraud in Georgia, Thomas said she did not recall that conversation.

“I don’t have any memory of it,” Thomas told investigators. “Everything I’m doing is looking for election fraud and irregularities, not trying to overturn it.”

Lawmakers have repeatedly pored over Thomas’ response — and she’s offered few specifics in return.

“I think I understand you saying you’ve never seen any listings of fraud or irregularities,” Cheney asked her at one point.

“Yes,” Thomas responded. “I know. I’m not very deep.

“But you’re convinced there was fraud and irregularities?” Cheney continued.

“Congresswoman, I’m hearing it from a lot of people I trust,” Thomas said.

Cheney asked Thomas if she knew that Trump’s own advisers, the attorney general and others had told him there was no fraud that would change the outcome of the election.

“This is news to me, Congresswoman,” Thomas replied.

Cheney asked when she knew about it.

“I think sometime after this committee starts working,” Thomas replied.

But Thomas said even if she knew, it wouldn’t change her opinion. “I just think there are still concerns,” Thomas said, while also acknowledging Biden as president.

Time and time again, the group confronted Thomas with her own words, including a text message to Meadows a week after the election in which she suggested that attorney Sidney Powell “will help the troopers come, expose the fraud, and save America.” Powell has backed some of the most outrageous claims made by Trump’s allies, including that foreign countries are hacking voting machines.

Thomas explained to investigators that she didn’t really know Powell well at the time, and as she learned more over the next few weeks, “I sort of got off the hook.”

She also told investigators that she contacted Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in an attempt to encourage the defeated president’s team to investigate potential voter fraud after the 2020 election.

“I tried to cheer him up and encourage him to stand firm until all the evidence came out,” Thomas told investigators in an email to Kushner.

At one point, she did draw sympathy from investigators.

“I think everyone on this call and in this room probably agrees that I don’t know how many of you want your text messages to be on the front page of The Washington Post,” Thomas said in the first part of her newsletter. a report.

“I understand that,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the committee’s Democratic member. “I’m sure you’re right, no one wants their private texts in the paper.”

Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.