The chairman of the Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol will recommend that it invites Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to appear.
"It appears that Mrs. Thomas has information relevant to our investigation. It's important that we hear from all witnesses who can help us get answers for the American people about the violence of January 6th and its causes, and that includes Mrs. Thomas," the panel said, according to a statement shared in the email.
As the panel investigates people closer and closer to Trump, his son-in-law and trusted adviser Jared Kushner is expected to appear on Thursday, according to two sources familiar with the committee's discussions.
The panel was already slated to meet Monday evening when it voted unanimously to recommend contempt of Congress charges for former Trump White House advisers Dan Scavino Jr. and Peter Navarro for a vote by the House.
The committee was expected to meet in private, when Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., was to recommend that they ask Ginni Thomas to cooperate with the committee, according to an email obtained by NPR.
CBS and The Washington Post reported last week that Thomas exchanged 29 text messages over several weeks between the election and Jan. 6 with Mark Meadows, who was the White House chief of staff at the time.
The text messages were among those turned over by Meadows to the Jan. 6 committee. He later stopped cooperating with the panel.
There are suggestions in these messages that Ginni Thomas may have had contacts with others in the White House and on Trump's legal team.
KELSEY SNELL, HOST:
The Democratic-led congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection has obtained text messages sent from a conservative activist to a Trump aide. Those messages called for overturning the 2020 presidential election and promoted debunked conspiracy theories. But this was no ordinary activist sending the text. This was Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Tonight Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the committee, is expected to recommend seeking her cooperation in its investigation. NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales has been closely following this investigation, and she joins me now. Hi, Claudia.
CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Hi, Kelsey.
SNELL: So it's already been a very busy day for the January 6 committee. So let's start with Ginni Thomas. What's the committee expected to do now?
GRISALES: The panel is expected to meet tonight privately to discuss their next steps after it was revealed that Ginni Thomas had been texting former President Trump's chief of staff - this is Mark Meadows - after the 2020 election to push efforts to overturn the results. And as you've mentioned, we've learned that the committee's chairman, Bennie Thompson, will be recommending to the committee that they should pursue her cooperation.
Now, the panel is already meeting this evening in a public meeting to take up criminal contempt referrals against two former Trump officials who have not cooperated with committee subpoenas. This is former trade adviser Peter Navarro and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino. They've both been defiant about these votes. That said, after this public portion of the meeting, the panel is expected to meet in private soon after to discuss Ginni Thomas and how she could be asked and if it's voluntary or by subpoena.
SNELL: So this is pretty unchartered territory, right? Could seeking her cooperation here be problematic?
GRISALES: Yes. This is extraordinary for Congress to seek testimony from the spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice.
GRISALES: So it's not completely clear exactly what the next steps are for the panel in terms of how Thomas responds, as she and Justice Thomas have so far declined to comment publicly on all this.
SNELL: And there was a ruling today in another part of the committee's investigation. A federal judge ordered that more than 100 emails from attorney John Eastman about getting the election overturned be given to the committee. So what was the significance of this decision?
GRISALES: This is a pretty big victory for the panel. They had made these bombshell claims in this case that former President Trump likely committed crimes in an effort to obstruct an official proceeding of Congress to certify President Joe Biden's win January 6 of last year. They made these claims because Eastman, who had been working with Trump's team and shared memos on how to overturn those results - he was trying to block the committee from obtaining some of his past emails. And so this ruling is significant because not only did the judge rule in the committee's favor to order these emails to be turned over, but they agree there was evidence of illegal activity on the president's part in connection with January 6.
GRISALES: And the - yeah, so it's a lot. And the committee has already toyed with this idea that it could issue a criminal referral against Trump, and it also ramps up the pressure on the Justice Department to look into these specific claims.
SNELL: It has been a busy day, but we've learned the committee could speak with Trump's son-in-law, the former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. Is that this week as well?
GRISALES: That could be this week as well, yes. So it's a lot going on. We've confirmed - this is an ABC report that came up earlier today, and we have learned from sources that the panel has Kushner down to appear before the committee on Thursday. Of course, this could change, but it's one of the more high-profile witnesses they could see. We should note already the committee in January asked Ivanka Trump - this is Kushner's wife and also a former senior White House adviser - to appear before the panel.
And for months now, the panel's chairman has said that they remained engaged in talks, but nothing had come to fruition yet. They had also asked Chairman Thompson at the time if Jared Kushner was of interest, and while he waved it off then, he and other members have long maintained that they are willing to talk to whoever is willing to come before them to talk about January 6.
SNELL: There is a lot going on with this committee. NPR's Claudia Grisales, thank you.
GRISALES: Thank you much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.