In the weeks between the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent a barrage of text messages imploring President Donald J. Trump’s chief of staff to take steps to overturn the vote, according to a person with knowledge of the texts.
In one message sent in the days after the election, she urged the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to “release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down,” invoking a slogan popular on the right that refers to a web of conspiracy theories that Trump supporters believed would overturn the election.
In another, she wrote: “I can’t see Americans swallowing the obvious fraud. Just going with one more thing with no frickin consequences.” She added: “We just cave to people wanting Biden to be anointed? Many of us can’t continue the GOP charade.”
The texts were first reported by The Washington Post and CBS. They were among about 9,000 pages of documents that Mr. Meadows turned over to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. The texts detailed Mr. Meadows’s interactions with Republican politicians as they planned strategies to try to keep Mr. Trump in office in the weeks before the riot.
The committee obtained 29 texts between Ms. Thomas and Mr. Meadows — 28 exchanged between Nov. 4 and Nov. 24, and one written on Jan. 10. The text messages, most of which were written by Ms. Thomas, represent the first evidence that she was directly advising the White House as it sought to overturn the election. She was communicating not only with Mr. Meadows, but also with Connie Hair, the chief of staff to Louie Gohmert, the Texas Republican congressman who sued Vice President Mike Pence to force him to certify Mr. Trump as the victor of the 2020 election.
The text traffic also suggests that Ms. Thomas was in contact with Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law and adviser. She wrote to Mr. Meadows: “Just forwarded to yr gmail an email I sent Jared this am,” she wrote. “Sidney Powell & improved coordination now will help the cavalry come and Fraud exposed and America saved.”
Throughout, she urged Mr. Meadows to listen to Sidney Powell, the lawyer who aggressively advanced baseless claims about voter fraud.
Mr. Meadows is no longer cooperating with the committee; a lawyer for Mr. Meadows, George J. Terwilliger III, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Nor did Ms. Thomas or the Supreme Court. Mr. Meadows’s lawyer has argued that he cooperated as much as he could without violating Mr. Trump’s assertions of executive privilege, and Mr. Meadows has filed suit against the panel to seek a court ruling to determine the validity of those assertions of executive privilege. Others challenging the committee’s subpoenas in court include John Eastman, a conservative lawyer and former clerk to Justice Thomas who wrote a memo arguing that Mr. Pence had the power to reject Electoral College votes for President Biden. Both cases could end up before the Supreme Court.
Ms. Thomas co-signed a letter in December calling for House Republicans to expel Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from their conference for joining the Jan. 6 committee. Ms. Thomas and her co-authors said the investigation “brings disrespect to our country’s rule of law” and “legal harassment to private citizens who have done nothing wrong,” adding that they would begin “a nationwide movement to add citizens’ voices to this effort.”
Capitol Riot’s Aftermath: Key Developments
Requests to “rescind” the election. Representative Mo Brooks, who challenged President Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, claimed that Donald J. Trump had asked him to illegally “rescind” the election. The statement came after Mr. Trump withdrew his endorsement of Mr. Brooks in the G.O.P. primary for Alabama’s Senate seat.
Asylum in Belarus. Evan Neumann, a U.S. citizen wanted by the F.B.I. on charges including assaulting police officers at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, has been granted asylum in Belarus, according to state media in the Eastern European country.
An investigation published by The New York Times in February highlighted Ms. Thomas’s involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In recently published remarks, Ms. Thomas said she had attended the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse in Washington but “was disappointed and frustrated that there was violence that happened following a peaceful gathering.” She also said she “played no role with those who were planning and leading the Jan. 6 events.”
But those comments are undercut by her communications with Mr. Meadows, who was deeply involved in the planning of the Jan. 6 protests. In her one text to Mr. Meadows after the attack that the committee was able to obtain, she only briefly mentions what took place, and only after reiterating one of its animating ideas — that Mr. Pence had betrayed Mr. Trump’s movement.
She writes of feeling that “we are living in what feels like the end of America. Most of us are disgusted with the VP and are in listening mode to see where to fight with our teams. Those who attacked the Capitol are not representative of our great teams of patriots for DJT. Amazing times. The end of liberty.”
Her husband, Justice Thomas, has been Mr. Trump’s most stalwart defender on the court. In January, he was the only justice who voted against allowing the release of records from the Trump White House related to the Jan. 6 attack. His wife, who goes by Ginni, has been a longtime political activist on the far right, and the two have been a frequent presence at partisan political conferences. That has long led to calls for Mr. Thomas to recuse himself from cases in which his wife has an interest, but he has rejected such suggestions. He once said his wife worked “24/7 every day in defense of liberty,” adding, “We are equally yoked, and we love being with each other because we love the same things.”
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