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McCarthy defends Clarence Thomas' ability to rule on Jan. 6 committee after report about his wife's texts with Meadows

Jan. 6 panel could subpoena Clarence Thomas' wife
January 6 committee could subpoena Justice Clarence Thomas' wife 02:53

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday defended Justice Clarence Thomas' ability to make rulings related to the January 6 committee after a report from CBS News and The Washington Post revealed that Thomas' wife, Ginni Thomas, texted then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows after the 2020 election about overturning the election results. 

"I think Justice Thomas could make his decisions like he's made him every other time. It's his decision based upon law," McCarthy told reporters when asked if Justice Thomas should recuse himself from January 6 committee-related cases.

In January, the Supreme Court rejected a request from Trump to block the release of documents from the Trump White House to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol. Justice Thomas was the only member of the court who said that he would have granted Trump's request.

Ginni Thomas' messages to Meadows did not mention Justice Thomas but showed for the first time how Ginni Thomas used her access to Trump's inner circle to encourage and seek to guide the president's strategy to overturn the election results. Ginni Thomas sent the texts as Trump and his allies were vowing to challenge the election results at the Supreme Court. 

"Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!" Ginni Thomas wrote to Meadows on November 10, 2020. "You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America's constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History."

One of Ginni Thomas' stated goals in the messages advocated was for Sidney Powell, who promoted incendiary and unsupported claims about the 2020 election, to become "the lead and the face" of Trump's legal team. 

Ginni Thomas did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Justice Thomas, who was released from the hospital on Friday, did not respond to a request for comment made through the Supreme Court's public information office.

McCarthy, who spoke to reporters at a House Republican retreat in Florida, also said that Nebraska GOP Congressman Jeff Fortenberry should resign. Fortenberry was convicted on Thursday of charges that he lied to federal authorities about a campaign contribution from a foreign billionaire in 2016. 

"I think he had his day in court," McCarthy said. "I think if he wants to appeal it, he could go do that as a private citizen. But I think out of respect — you can let me talk to him — but I think when someone is convicted, it's time to resign."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also called on Fortenberry to resign. 

McCarthy also told reporters that he has not seen claims from Mo Brooks that Trump asked Brooks to "rescind the 2020 elections." Brooks made that claim in a statement on Wednesday after Trump pulled his endorsement from Brooks in Alabama's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. 

"I haven't read what Mo has written," McCarthy said. "So, I mean, the president has a right to endorse who he wants to, (and) pull the endorsement of a person who's not doing what he said he would do."

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