By Doina Chiacu
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A lawyer for Virginia “Ginni” Thomas has dimmed prospects for a quick appearance before congressional investigators probing the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, asking what they want from his client, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Ginni Thomas on June 16 expressed eagerness to speak with the House of Representatives panel investigating the 2021 assault, telling the Daily Caller she “can’t wait to clear up misconceptions.”
The committee sent an invitation that day.
In a letter on Tuesday, lawyer Mark R. Paoletta curbed that enthusiasm, telling the committee: “I do not understand the need to speak with Mrs. Thomas.”
“Before I can recommend that she meet with you, I am asking the Committee to provide a better justification for why Mrs. Thomas’s testimony is relevant to the Committee’s legislative purpose.”
The justice’s wife is active in conservative political circles and said she attended a rally by then-President Donald Trump outside the White House before his supporters marched on the Capitol to try to block certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s defeat of Trump, a Republican, in the 2020 election.
At the rally, Trump made a fiery speech repeating his false claims his election defeat was due to widespread fraud.
The Washington Post had reported earlier that the committee obtained emails between Ginni Thomas and attorney John Eastman, who advised Trump that then-Vice President Mike Pence could thwart formal congressional certification of Trump’s loss.
Her political activity has raised questions about whether her husband should recuse himself from cases involving Trump and the Capitol riot. In January, Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenting voice when the court rejected Trump’s request to block release of White House records sought by the committee.
Paoletta said Ginni Thomas had no role in the Jan. 6 attack and never discussed election litigation strategy with Eastman. He also dismissed the committee’s interest in text messages following the election between her and Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
“These texts are simply much ado about nothing,” he wrote in the letter to the committee seen by Reuters.
The committee did not answer a query on its response to the letter on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)