A day after the January 6 House Select Committee charged with investigating ex-President Donald Trump’s failed coup postponed what might have been the final hearing held by the committee, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, appeared for a voluntary interview with the committee. For over four hours, the long-time Republican activist and Christian fascist answered questions behind closed doors on her role in Donald Trump’s failed coup.
In brief comments to reporters following the conclusion of the interview, Chairman Bennie Thompson (Democratic-Mississippi) revealed that during her testimony, Thomas confirmed she still believes Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen and that President Joe Biden is an illegitimate usurper.
Thompson told reporters that Thomas answered “some” of the questions posed to her and that when she was asked if the election was stolen she replied, “Yes.”
“She said that,” Thompson confirmed.
A statement issued by Thomas’ lawyer, Mark Paoletta, following the interview declared that Thomas, who had refused for months to appear before the committee, was “happy to cooperate” and “clear up the misconceptions about her activities surrounding the 2020 elections. She answered all the Committee’s questions.”
Confirming Thompson’s statement that Thomas still maintains that the election was stolen, Paoletta wrote: “As she said from the outset, Mrs. Thomas had significant concerns about fraud and irregularities in 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.”
Thomas’ role in Trump’s failed coup was far from “mainstream.” As the wife of Clarence Thomas, and a decades-long influential activist in the Republican Party, Thomas had unparalleled access not only to Trump and the White House, but to congressional Republicans and the Supreme Court itself. All three branches of government, along with elements in the police-military-intelligence apparatus and on-the-ground fascist militias, were enlisted by Trump and his Republican backers to overturn the election on January 6.
The World Socialist Web Site has written extensively on Thomas’ leading role in the coup. This includes her texting QAnon conspiracies and suggesting fascist lawyer Sidney Powell to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows following the November election, and personally emailing legislators in Wisconsin and Arizona to overturn the popular vote. She attended the “Stop the Steal” rally outside the White House on January 6 and worked with with Trump coup-lawyer John Eastman, as well as mediating disputes between mid-level Trump organizers leading up to the attack on the Capitol.
The intersection of Thomas and Eastman in the coup is particularly significant. In a damning memorandum circulated to Trump and his co-conspirators, Eastman argued that Vice President Mike Pence had the power to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes from states Trump lost. Eastman, who is from California, did not know Trump personally prior to him becoming president. However, Eastman was a former law clerk for Clarence Thomas. In addition to Eastman, William Consovoy and Patrick Strawbridge, former Clarence Thomas law clerks, are also lawyers for Trump, according to Business Insider.
Needless to say there is plenty of material for the committee to question Thomas about, including what influence she had in her husband’s decision to cast the lone dissenting vote earlier this year over whether the Select Committee should have access to White House documents and text messages which directly implicated his wife in Trump’s coup plot.
That it has taken this long for the committee to even question Thomas speaks to the true role of the committee, which is not to reveal the depths of the fascist conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, but to contain the investigation safely within “official channels” so that the exposure is limited to Trump and a few “crazies.” In this way the “bipartisan committee” hopes to preserve the integrity of capitalist institutions, such as the Republican Party and the Supreme Court, in the eyes of the public and the working class in particular, whom both the Democrats and the “never-Trump” Republicans fear more than the fascists who dominate the Republican Party.
Thompson, fulfilling his task of chloroforming the working class, sought to conceal any explosive revelations beyond Thomas’ belief that the 2020 election was stolen, which is now the consensus view in the Republican Party. Following the interview, Thompson curtly answered reporters’ questions telling them that the committee was “glad she came in.” Thompson added he would not be able to commit to releasing her interview in its entirety, only saying that portions might be disclosed “if there’s something of merit.”
Thomas’ in-person testimony came one day after the Select Committee, according to published reports, was slated to hold their final hearing, roughly six weeks before the November midterm elections. The stated reason for postponing the September 28 hearing was due to Hurricane Ian which has devastated Florida. One of the nine members of the committee is Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy; her district includes Seminole and Orange counties, Florida, directly in the path of the storm.
While the catastrophic weather emergency no doubt provided the necessary pretext to cancel the hearing, it does appear as if the Select Committee was already hesitant to proceed.
On Tuesday, CBS News reporter Scott MacFarlane reported that unlike previous hearings, he and other mainstream media outlets had not yet been provided an expected witness list or even a “theme” of what the final hearing would entail, less than 24 hours before it was set to begin.
MacFarlane said he had been told by sources on the committee that some of the hearing was set to be focused on clips filmed by a Danish documentary filmmaker which were taped before the 2020 election and through January 6. The clips feature Republican agent Roger Stone promoting the idea that Trump should declare victory before the election results were tabulated. The hearing would also, finally, detail the nexus between Stone and fascist Oath Keeper and Proud Boy militia groups, one of the six “centers of gravity” in the coup identified by former Republican congressman and January 6 investigator Denver Riggleman in a recent CBS 60 Minutes interview.
In a report on Thomas’s testimony Thursday, MacFarlane noted that Thomas was not under oath during her questioning. He surmised that while some of Thomas’ testimony might make it into a future Select Committee hearing, it is entirely possible that given the upcoming elections, such a hearing does not materialize until after the November midterms, if at all.
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