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Ginni Thomas tells Jan. 6 panel her husband was "completely unaware" of texts with Mark Meadows

Ginni Thomas meets with House Jan. 6 committee
Ginni Thomas meets in person with House Jan. 6 committee 00:29

Washington — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol met in person Thursday with conservative activist Ginni Thomas, and during her interview, she told the panel that she did not discuss any of the legal challenges to the 2020 presidential election with her husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

As she arrived at the Capitol, Thomas was spotted by reporters at a House office where the panel's investigators have been gathering throughout their probe. She told those assembled, "Thank you for being here."

A source familiar with her appearance before the committee told CBS News Thursday night that Thomas had delivered an opening statement, in which she said that she has "never" spoken to her husband about pending cases before the Supreme Court, calling it an "iron clad rule in our home."

She also told the committee that her husband is "uninterested in politics," and said in her statement, "I generally do not discuss with him my day-to-day work in politics, the topics I am working on, who I am calling, emailing, texting or meeting."

Ginni Thomas also denied her husband knew of her texts with former President Trump's White House chief of staff.  

"I know he was completely unaware of my texts with Mark Meadows until this committee leaked them to the press while he was in a hospital bed fighting an infection," Thomas said in her statement. 

She characterized her post-2020 election activities as "minimal" and said she was "certain" that she had never spoken with Justice Thomas "about any of the legal challenges to the 2020 election, as I was not involved with those challenges in any way."

The panel interviewed her for more than four hours, interspersed with brief breaks, and Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the House select committee, told reporters Thomas answered "some questions."

"It's a work in progress," he said as the meeting came to a conclusion. "At this point, we're glad she came."

Thompson said if Thomas provided committee investigators with "something of merit," it will be included in the panel's next public hearing. She also reiterated during the interview that she still believes the 2020 presidential election was stolen, Thompson said. 

Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin did not go into specifics about the meeting but told reporters afterward that "Donald Trump and his closest followers continue to propound the absolute lie that he won the election, and they're still promoting the big lie." He would not say if Thomas fit into that group.

Mark Paoletta, Thomas's lawyer, said in a statement that she was "happy to cooperate with the committee to clear up the misconceptions about her activities surrounding the 2020 elections" and answered "all" of the committee's questions.

"As she has 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," he said. "Beyond that, she played no role in any events after the 2020 election results. As she wrote in a text to  Meadows at the time, she also condemned the violence on January 6, as she abhors violence on any side of the aisle."  

The committee asked Thomas to appear voluntarily before the panel after it learned that she had 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. And Thomas corresponded via text message with Meadows in the days following the 2020 election, urging him to overturn the election results.   

Paoletta confirmed about a week ago that she would participate in a "voluntary meeting" with the committee, saying in a statement that Thomas was "eager to answer the Committee's questions to clear up any misconceptions about her work relating to the 2020 election."

The select committee was scheduled to hold a hearing a day ago, on Wednesday, but postponed, due to Hurricane Ian. A new date has not yet been set, according to Thompson, and the House is expected to go into recess at the end of the week. 

Thompson said earlier this month that the committee plans to put together an interim report in mid-October, and will finalize the report before the end of the year, after the November midterm elections. The committee's two Republicans, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, are both leaving Congress in January. Cheney lost her primary in Wyoming to a Trump-backed challenger, and Kinzinger opted not to run for reelection. Another member, Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, is facing a tough reelection battle against Republican state Sen. Jen Kiggans.

Zak Hudak contributed to this report.

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