The Ginni Thomas Texts and the Jan. 6 Committee

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas arrives with his wife, Ginni Thomas, for a State Dinner at 2019.



Photo:

erin scott/Reuters

What story do you think would deserve to push the biggest war in Europe in nearly 80 years down from the lead news of the day? If you said the private text messages of the wife of a Supreme Court Justice, you are apparently qualified to run a major American newsroom.

That’s the leak-on-a-silver-platter news the Washington Post blared at the top of its homepage on Thursday evening. Someone handed reporter

Bob Woodward

and protege

Robert Costa

the content of 29 text messages in 2020 and 2021 between

Mark Meadows,

then White House chief of staff, and Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice

Clarence Thomas.

Mrs. Thomas sent 21 of the messages and Mr. Meadows sent eight. All but one are from November 2020, in the early days after

Joe Biden

was declared the winner in the presidential election. The House select committee on Jan. 6 obtained the messages from Mr. Meadows as part of its investigation.

The Post hypes the messages as showing “how Ginni Thomas used her access to Trump’s inner circle to promote and seek to guide the president’s strategy to overturn the election results.” Sounds nefarious, until you understand that the back and forth added up to nothing meaningful.

The messages certainly aren’t flattering to Mrs. Thomas, who has long been active in conservative political circles. They show that, distraught by the election result, she indulged some of the nuttier election-fraud theories when the Trump campaign was challenging the results in court.

“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!” she wrote on Nov. 10. “You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

Mrs. Thomas suggests that lawyer

Sidney Powell

be “the lead and the face” of the Trump legal team. Ms. Powell is being sued for defamation by a voting-machine company for peddling falsehoods. There is no evidence that voting machines were manipulated to change votes in 2020. Even the Trump team dumped Ms. Powell as it concluded she had no evidence.

The other Trump legal challenges to the election failed in multiple courts around the country for lack of evidence. Mrs. Thomas has admitted to attending the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally but says she left early, and there’s no evidence to date that she played a role in organizing the rally that became a riot.

***

All of which raises the question of why these messages have leaked. There’s no reason to make them public now, and maybe never if they are tangential to what happened on Jan. 6. As a private citizen, Mrs. Thomas can believe all the crank theories she wants, and she has the right to participate in politics even as the spouse of a Justice.

The leak may have been an act of revenge against Mrs. Thomas for signing a letter from conservative activists in December 2021 that objected to the creation of the Jan. 6 committee and called on the House GOP to expel committee members

Liz Cheney

and

Adam Kinzinger

from their conference.

The leak’s timing suggests another purpose is to damage Justice Thomas as the Supreme Court is preparing to hand down major decisions on gun and abortion rights. And sure enough, the served-up Woodward scoop was followed by demands that Justice Thomas resign, or at least recuse himself from cases involving the election.

He is supposedly implicated in his wife’s messages because he was the sole Justice to dissent from a Jan. 19 Supreme Court decision that President Trump couldn’t block the National Archives from giving the select committee documents from his time in the White House. But the Woodward story says the select committee received the messages from Mr. Meadows, not the National Archives.

Mrs. Thomas’s text messages are embarrassing but amount to an outsider kibitzing and commiserating with the White House chief of staff. They are no reason for Justice Thomas to recuse himself from cases involving the Trump Administration.

The Jan. 6 committee advertises itself as a fact-finding body without a partisan purpose. But then it should wait to issue its report when its facts are complete. The Ginni Thomas leaks are a political sideswipe that will make its conclusions harder to credit.

Potomac Watch (01/06/22): Instead of pausing to reflect on last year’s disgraceful riot at the Capitol, the Democratic Party used the first anniversary as an opportunity to push their voting rights agenda. Images: Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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