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John Eastman says Ginni Thomas invited him to speak on ‘election litigation’

June 16, 2022 Updated Fri., June 17, 2022 at 1:21 p.m.

By Emma Brown, Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey The Washington Post

John Eastman, the lawyer who played a key role in efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election, confirmed Thursday that the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas invited him a month after the election to speak at a meeting she was helping to organize.

Eastman’s disclosure came a day after The Washington Post reported that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol had obtained email correspondence between him and Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a conservative activist and staunch supporter of former president Donald Trump. Individuals involved in the investigation said the emails - which have not been made public - showed that Thomas’s efforts to help overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, The Post reported.

On Thursday afternoon, during a hearing largely devoted to outlining Eastman’s role in what the committee described as a scheme to steal the presidency, he posted online a copy of an email that he said Thomas sent him on Dec. 4, 2020. The email showed Thomas inviting him to speak on Dec. 8 to Frontliners, which she described as “a group of grassroots state leaders.”

In an accompanying statement posted to Substack, the online newsletter site, Eastman sought to downplay the significance of the invitation, saying Thomas had asked him to give an “update about election litigation to a group she met with periodically.” He wrote that he did not discuss with Thomas or her husband “any matters pending or likely to come before the court.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chair of the House committee, said Thursday that the panel had sent a letter asking Thomas for an interview. Thomas told the conservative Daily Caller that she looks forward to speaking to the committee and “can’t wait to clear up misconceptions.”

The content of her Dec. 4 invitation to Eastman appears to match the content of messages recently described by a federal judge as pertinent to the committee’s investigation of the effort to overturn the 2020 election by pushing key swing states won by Joe Biden to certify slates of presidential electors who would cast their votes for Trump.

U.S. District Judge David Carter last week ordered Eastman to release more than 100 emails and other records, overruling Eastman’s claims that those communications were privileged and should be protected. Among them were 10 documents related to meetings in December 2020 of a group that Eastman had described as “civic minded citizens of a conservative viewpoint who meet semi-regularly to socialize and discuss issues of public concern.” Two of those documents were emails inviting Eastman to speak at a Dec. 8 meeting of the group, Carter wrote. They were sent by the group’s “high-profile leader,” he wrote.

Two other documents contained the meeting’s agenda, which showed that Eastman discussed not election litigation but “State legislative actions that can reverse the media-called election for Joe Biden.” The fact that Eastman, a former clerk for Clarence Thomas, was communicating with the justice’s wife about attempts to reverse the election outcome has intensified questions about whether Clarence Thomas faces a conflict of interest in deciding cases related to the 2020 election and attempts to subvert it.

Neither Eastman nor Ginni Thomas responded to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court did not respond to questions for Clarence Thomas.

The other documents Eastman was ordered to turn over contained agendas for two more meetings of the group, the judge wrote. Carter wrote that the Dec. 9 agenda included a section titled “‘GROUND GAME following Nov 4 Election Results,’ during which a sitting Member of Congress discussed a ‘[p]lan to challenge the electors in the House of Representatives.’” The Dec. 16 agenda included a section in which a Trump elector discussed “The Constitutional implications of the Electoral College Meeting and What Comes Next.”

Carter found that the documents should be released because they were of “substantial interest” to the House committee since the meetings “furthered a critical objective of the January 6 plan: to have contested states certify alternate slates of electors for President Trump.”

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