Virginia “Ginni” Thomas’s lawyer sent a response Tuesday to the January 6 Select House Committee, just over one week after they formally requested her testimony.
Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has become embroiled in the investigation into the January 6 riot, and the committee noted in their formal testimony request that they believe she has “information relevant” to their probe.
Mark R. Paoletta, Thomas’s lawyer, responded to the January 6 Committee and argued that while Thomas is willing to speak, he does “not understand the need to speak with Mrs. Thomas.”
“Before I can recommend that she meet with you, I am asking the Committee to provide a better justification for why Mrs. Thomas’s testimony is relevant to the Committee’s legislative purpose,” Paoletta wrote Tuesday in response to the committee’s request.
Paoletta raised four points in his eight-page response to the committee. In the first point, he argued that “The Emails John Eastman Produced To The Committee Provide No Basis To Interview” Thomas.
The committee’s letter to Thomas had highlighted Eastman, a conservative attorney involved in former President Donald Trump’s push to overturn the 2020 election. The committee wrote that it had “recently obtained additional information regarding” his activities.
“In your June 16, 2022, letter, you base the interview request on a supposed connection between Mrs. Thomas and John Eastman: ‘The Select Committee has obtained evidence that you had certain communications with John Eastman during this time period. We believe you may have information concerning John Eastman’s plans and activities relevant to our investigation,'” Paoletta responded. “But the Committee has not identified this alleged ‘evidence.'”
“Instead, press reports have insinuated that Mrs. Thomas and Mr. Eastman were engaged in a plan to overturn the presidential election results,” he continued. “Indeed, leaks from this Committee have led reporters to write that recently produced ’emails’ from Mr. Eastman ‘show that Thomas’s efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known.’ But, as you are aware, Mr. Eastman’s emails show no such thing.”
Eastman published a Substack shortly after news broke that the committee wanted to interview Thomas. In that Substack, Eastman detailed what he says are the “email communications” he had with the Supreme Court justice’s wife.
The Substack included a copy of an email in which Thomas asked Eastman “to give an update about election litigation to a group she met with periodically.” Paoletta argued Tuesday that the email communications between the two are not “interesting” and don’t appear to be relevant to the committee’s work.
Thomas’s lawyer also wrote that her text messages to former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in which she raised concerns about the validity of the 2020 election, were “her personal views” and sent in her “personal capacity as a private citizen.”
“Accordingly, I do not see how these texts could be remotely relevant to the Committee’s legislative purpose. Thus, please provide additional information so we may understand the basis of your request to speak with Mrs. Thomas,” Paoletta wrote.
Paoletta continued on to also argue that a “form email” Thomas sent to state legislators “has … been blown out of proportion in the press” and is not reason enough for the committee to speak with her.
In his final point, Paoletta issued a lengthy rebuke against the Jan. 6 committee’s “intentions,” criticizing how the group of lawmakers “has otherwise commented about her and other witnesses, or about her husband.”
He suggested at one point that Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, has “some animus” towards the Supreme Court justice, and later argued “larger concerns” about whether the committee would “be fair” to Thomas.
“There is no story to uncover here,” Paoletta wrote at the end of his letter. “As she has already acknowledged, Mrs. Thomas attended the rally on January 6, but left well before the President began to speak, and well before any individuals began marching to the Capitol. She held no official or unofficial role in the White House, nor in President Trump’s reelection campaign.”
“It is in this context that Mrs. Thomas has expressed a willingness to try to come before the Committee as a means of clearing her name. But, based on my understanding of the facts the Committee has in its possession, I do not believe there is currently a sufficient basis to speak with Mrs. Thomas. Perhaps the Committee has more information that would establish that basis, and I am willing to reconsider my recommendation if you make this information available,” he added.
Thomas first told the Daily Caller on June 16 that she couldn’t “wait to clear up misconceptions” and looked “forward to talking to” the committee. Her comment came hours after Thompson told Axios that they believed it was “time” to “invite her [Thomas] to come talk to the committee.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Ginni Thomas Says She Looks ‘Forward To Talking To’ January 6 Committee, Wants To ‘Clear Up Misconceptions’)
After Thomas indicated she wanted to talk, the January 6 Committee noted that they sent Thomas an official letter requesting her testimony. The House Select Committee suggested they meet with Thomas “soon,” giving July 6, 7, or 8 as proposed dates. (Disclosure: Thomas did weekly video interviews for The Daily Caller News Foundation until 2018.)
The January 6 Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller.