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Ginni Thomas will meet with House Jan. 6 committee, lawyer says

Jan. 6 committee aims to hold another public hearing
Jan. 6 committee aims to hold another public hearing in late September 04:39

Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, will participate in a "voluntary meeting" with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, her lawyer confirmed Wednesday. The news came on the heels of the committee announcing it will hold a public hearing on Sept. 28 at 1 p.m.

 "As she has said from the outset, Mrs. Thomas is eager to answer the Committee's questions to clear up any misconceptions about her work relating to the 2020 election," Thomas' lawyer Mark Paoletta said in a statement Wednesday. "She looks forward to that opportunity."

Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson told reporters Thursday that Thomas "was involved in helping organize and promote Jan. 6, and individuals coming into the Capitol."  

The news of Thomas' participation was first reported by CNN.

The committee asked Thomas, a conservative activist, to appear voluntarily before the panel after it learned that she corresponded with John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who helped come up with the legal strategy to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally toss out state electoral votes. 

Thomas also sent emails to at least two Wisconsin Republican legislators days after the presidential election, pushing them to name an alternate slate of presidential electors to back former President Donald Trump. Additionally, Thomas corresponded via text message with former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days following the 2020 election, urging him to overturn the election results. 

Virginia Thomas
Virginia Thomas, conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on Feb. 23, 2017. Susan Walsh / AP

Thompson told CBS News on Monday that the committee is still discussing whether to have witnesses at the Sept. 28 hearing.  

"We have a lot of information that we have collected over the last year that we've not shown the public. And we believe that that information on its own is significant enough for a hearing," Thompson said. 

The committee held a series of public hearings earlier this summer that combined never-before-seen footage from Jan. 6, video testimony from some of the people who were in Trump's inner circle and in-person witness testimony. 

The hearings sought to tie Trump to the coordination of the attack and shed light on plans devised by him and members of his inner circle designed to overturn the 2020 elections results. 

Thompson said earlier this month that the committee plans to put together an interim report two weeks after the proposed late September hearing, in mid-October, and will finalize the report before the end of the year. 

That would take them past the November midterm elections, and the committee's two Republicans, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, are both leaving Congress in January. Cheney lost the Republican primary in Wyoming to a Trump-backed challenger. Kinzinger decided not to run for reelection. 

If Republicans take control of the House in January, it's expected that the select committee will be disbanded. While Republicans were entitled to have five members on what was meant to be a 12-person committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's suggested members, as they were among the 139 House Republicans who voted to overturn the election results on Jan. 6. As a result, McCarthy refused to put any more Republicans on the committee, with Pelosi asking Cheney and Kinzinger — who were among the 10 House GOP members who voted to impeach Trump — to be on what ended up being a 9-person committee comprised of seven Democrats and the two Republicans. 

Since its creation last year, the committee has spoken to more than 1,000 people and issued more than 100 subpoenas for interviews or documents.

Since the last hearing was held on July 16, the committee said it has had conversations with the Justice Department about a scheme allegedly cooked up by Trump's allies to put forward alternate electors supporting him in seven battleground states that President Joe Biden won.

On July 22, a federal jury found former Trump strategist Steve Bannon guilty of two counts of criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena to appear before the Jan. 6 committee. He faces up to two years in prison. Bannon has said he was honoring executive privilege concerns raised by Trump, although Kristin Amerling, one of the two witnesses called by prosecutors, said the committee never received notice from Trump about this obstacle to deposing Bannon, and the committee would not have recognized such a claim anyway.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee, told "Face the Nation" earlier this month that the committee is still hoping Pence will appear voluntarily before the panel. The committee's public hearings focused in part on Trump and his allies' attempts to pressure Pence to reject the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6 during the joint session of Congress.

"Vice President Pence was the target of Donald Trump's wrath and fury and effort to overthrow the election on Jan. 6. The whole idea was to get Pence to step outside his constitutional role, and then to declare unilateral lawless powers to reject Electoral College votes from the states," Raskin said.

Pence ultimately rejected those efforts and gaveled in Mr. Biden as the winner of the 2020 election after 3:40 a.m. on Jan. 7. Pence said at a New Hampshire political event in August that he'd "consider" testifying before the committee. 

The committee has also formally requested that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was also an adviser to Trump, speak with them. The committee cited emails he allegedly exchanged with Trump's senior advisers, including Jared Kushner and Jason Miller. "Evidence shows that Mr. Gingrich pushed messages designed to incite anger among voters even after Georgia election officials had faced intimidation and threats of violence," the committee said in its request for Gingrich to appear.

The committee's public hearing on June 21 examined threats made to state and local elections officials, including in Georgia. The Fulton County District Attorney's Office has launched a criminal investigation into whether Trump and his allies interfered with Georgia's election in 2020. Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, testified for six hours before a Fulton County grand jury in August related to that investigation. 

Ellis Kim contributed to this report.

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