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Ginni Thomas urged Wisconsin lawmakers to overturn 2020 election, emails show

Jan. 6 committee weighs Ginni Thomas subpoena
House January 6 committee considers subpoena for Ginni Thomas ahead of fall hearings 03:58

Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent emails to at least two Wisconsin Republican legislators just days after the 2020 election urging them to overturn President Biden's victory and nominate an alternative slate of electors who would back Donald Trump.

Thomas sent the emails, which were obtained by CBS News and first reported by the Washington Post, on Nov. 9, 2020, to state Rep. Gary Tauchen and state Sen. Kathy Bernier, who serves as the chair of the Wisconsin Senate Elections Committee. 

The emails to the lawmakers were identical. Thomas asked them to "stand strong in the face of political and media pressure" and "take action to ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen for our state."

The messages both had the same subject line: "Please do your Constitutional duty!" Thomas asked to schedule a meeting so she can "learn more about what you are doing to ensure our state's vote count is audited and our certification is clean."

"The responsibility is yours and yours alone — it doesn't rest with any Board of Elections, Secretary of State, Governor, or even court. And it certainly doesn't rest with the media," Thomas wrote.

One of at least two emails Ginni Thomas sent to Wisconsin lawmakers urging them to overturn the 2020 election results in November 2020.

Representatives for Bernier and Tauchen declined to comment on the messages when reached Thursday. An attorney for Ginni Thomas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The two emails were part of a larger effort by Thomas to urge officials to overturn the 2020 election. Lawmakers in Arizona also received emails from Thomas asking them to overturn the results, according to the Washington Post.

In the weeks after the election, Thomas exchanged text messages with Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff, pressuring him to pursue ways to overturn the election and retain control of the White House.

In July, lawmakers on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said they were considering a subpoena for Thomas' testimony.

Mr. Biden beat Trump in Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. In the aftermath of the election, Republicans in the state created and delivered an alternative slate of 10 GOP electors to the National Archives in Dec. 2020, in an attempt to "preserve" legal options for the Trump campaign. It was a move that prompted a state lawsuit.  

During a Jan. 6 committee hearing in June, text messages revealed that an aide for Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson had told former Vice President Mike Pence's office that Johnson wanted to deliver a slate of false electors to Pence, an offer that Pence's office rejected. A spokesperson for the senator did not deny that Johnson's chief of staff was looking to deliver the slate of electors. 

Wisconsin's Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, launched an investigation into the 2020 election that uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Vos ended that investigation in August. 

Republicans in the state have attempted to push for a "decertification" of Mr. Biden's win, among them former State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who Vos hired to lead the investigation into 2020. Vos has repeatedly emphasized there is no legal path to do so. 

"For those like me who remain concerned about ensuring we have election integrity, we have a simple solution: to focus on our efforts to elect a Republican governor in November so we can pass the bills that were vetoed by Governor Evers," Vos wrote in his letter ending Gableman's contract in August. 

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