Virginia Thomas’ stunning exchanges with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows have the attention of the January 6 committee. Four people close to the committee told CBS News that several members want Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, who goes by Ginni, to talk to the committee and will issue a subpoena if necessary.
At least two committee members, the people said, were making private calls to colleagues on Friday, encouraging more discussion of a subpoena for Ginni Thomas. But there’s not yet any consensus on the committee about whether to move forward, they said.
Committee members will return to Washington next week.
The extraordinary text messages show her encouraging President Trump’s top aide to fight to overturn the 2020 election. Citing Trump allies who were gathering evidence of alleged fraud, Thomas wrote Meadows on November 19, saying, “Make a plan…and save us from the left taking America down.”
Thomas’ outreach may have gone further than just Meadows. In another text to him, she writes, “Just forwarded to yr gmail an email I sent Jared this am.” It’s not clear who she’s referring to. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, was another top aide.
CBS News has reached out to Ginni Thomas multiple times for comment on the text messages. Meadows confirmed the content of the texts through an attorney, who also said they presented no legal issues.
Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal called the texts “shocking.”
“I am absolutely appalled and astonished,” he said. “The American people ought to be deeply alarmed.”
As Trump was falsely claiming the election was rigged and that the Supreme Court should get involved, Thomas was associated with a group — the Council for National Policy — that was working to pressure Republican lawmakers to challenge the election results.
Once that effort had failed and President Biden’s election was certified with then-Vice President Pence presiding, Thomas wrote to Meadows: “We are living through what feels like the end of America. Most of us are disgusted with the VP.”
Thomas recently acknowledged she attended the January 6 rally in front of the White House, but said she had nothing to do with the insurrection. She has also publicly denied any conflict of interest between her activism and her husband’s work.
But the text message revelations have raised the question of whether her husband should recuse himself from any cases related to the investigation.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said it’s not necessary.
“No, I think Justice Thomas could make his decisions like he’s made them every other time. It’s his decision based upon law,” McCarthy said.
Robert Costa is CBS News’ chief election and campaign correspondent based in Washington, D.C.