Text messages reveal leading role of Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife in facilitating Trump coup plot

On Thursday, the Washington Post and CBS News reported that Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of arch-conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, texted former President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows repeatedly after the November 2020 election in support of Trump’s dictatorial efforts. In her messages to Meadows, Thomas endorsed fascistic QAnon conspiracy theories, calling for Trump’s political enemies to be “arrested & detained” and face “military tribunals, for sedition.”

Virginia "Ginni" Lamp Thomas in 2017 [Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0]

The messages confirm that Virginia Thomas, a lifelong Republican Party operative who married her “best friend” Clarence Thomas four years prior to his accession to the Supreme Court in 1991, coordinated with the White House chief of staff and Republican lawmakers to overturn the election of Biden and with it, American democracy.

The texts, which regurgitate verbatim arguments advanced on the fascist InfoWars program hosted by Alex Jones, follow an admission by Thomas earlier this month that she participated in the January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally held outside the White House. The rally coincided with the attack on Congress by far-right militia elements, white supremacists and pro-Trump sycophants who were summoned by the aspiring-dictator and his Republican allies to occupy the Capitol, take politicians hostage and block the Electoral College certification.

The text messages were part of a tranche of material turned over by Meadows last year to the January 6 House Select Committee charged with investigating Trump’s failed coup. Before Meadows ceased cooperating with the committee, he volunteered some 9,000 pages of documents, which included 2,320 texts, at least 29 of which were shared between Thomas and Meadows. While Meadows was held in contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with the committee in December 2021, he has yet to be arraigned over four months later.

In their report, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa write that the texts “show for the first time 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—and how receptive and grateful Meadows said he was to receive her advice.” Woodward and Costa noted that the text messages have been independently verified by five sources who have seen the original documents, as well as Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger III, who told the Post that “nothing about the text messages present any legal issues.”

The first of the 29 messages between Thomas and Meadows was sent by Thomas on November 5, 2020, two days after the election. In the text, Thomas included a link to a YouTube video named “TRUMP STING w CIA Director Steve Pieczenik, The Biggest Election Story in History, QFS-BLOCKCHAIN.”

Pieczenik was a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Carter administration and worked under Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance and James Baker in the US State Department.

A former member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Pieczenik has made multiple appearances on InfoWars in the last decade. While on the program, Pieczenik has echoed the disgusting lies of its host, Jones, that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a “false flag” operation engineered by the “deep state” as a pretext to abolish the Second Amendment. He also appears to have been the originator of the QAnon claim that alleged “legitimate ballots” had a special encryption code printed on them to distinguish them from fraudulent, i.e., Biden, ballots.

Commenting on Pieczenik’s video, Thomas wrote to Meadows, “I hope this is true; never heard anything like this before, or even a hint of it. Possible???”

“Watermarked ballots in over 12 states have been part of a huge Trump & military white hat sting operation in 12 key battleground states,” she added.

Throughout his presidency Trump embraced the QAnon movement, which posits that Trump will lead a military coup, dubbed “The Storm,” that will end in a purge of his political opponents. Trump, and other Republican politicians, frequently share QAnon talking points on social media accounts and most recently in Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Trump co-conspirators and sitting Republican representatives Lauren Boebert (Colorado) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) are known adherents to the far-right movement.

In the same November 5 message to Meadows, Thomas shared a right-wing meme proliferating on “Stop the Steal” social media pages at the time which read: “Biden crime family & ballot fraud co-conspirators (elected officials, bureaucrats, social media censorship mongers, fake stream media reporters, etc) are being arrested & detained for ballot fraud right now & over coming days, & will be living in barges off GITMO [Guantanamo Bay Prison] to face military tribunals for sedition.”

The day before Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election, on November 6, Thomas sent another message to Meadows imploring him not to “… concede. It takes time for the army who is gathering for his back.” The Post notes that it is “unclear” if Meadows responded, however, Trump continued to take Thomas’ advice, refusing to concede the election while vowing to take his dictatorial ambitions to the Supreme Court.

“We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court—we want all voting to stop,” Trump declared on November 4.

On November 10 Thomas texted Meadows again, telling him he was “in my prayers!!” and urged him to continue supporting Trump’s coup plotting. “Help This Great President stand firm” against “the greatest Heist of our History.” Since his 2016 campaign, Trump claimed that the only way he could lose an election is due to “fraud.” Since his defeat to Biden, Trump has repeatedly referred to the 2020 election, in which he lost the Electoral College vote 306–232 and the popular vote by over 7 million, as the “Crime of the Century.”

Meadows replied: “I will stand firm. We will fight until there is no fight left. Our country is too precious to give up on. Thanks for all you do,” to which Thomas replied some nine minutes later, “Tearing up and praying for you guys!!!!! So proud to know you!!”

Later that same night, Thomas wrote to Meadows expressing her frustration that more Republicans in Congress were not rallying enough far-right lumpen elements in furtherance of the coup, “House and Senate guys are pathetic too… only 4 GOP House members seen out in street rallies with grassroots… [Texas Rep. Louie] Gohmert, [Ohio Rep. Jim] Jordan, [Arizona Rep. Paul] Gosar and [Texas Rep. Chip] Roy.”

In addition to coordinating with Meadows and Republican lawmakers, the texts revealed that Thomas was also in communication with senior White House adviser and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. On November 13, the Post report claims she texted Meadows, “Just forwarded to [your] gmail an email I sent Jared this am. Sidney Powell & improved coordination now will help the cavalry come and Fraud exposed and America saved.”

A November 19 text from Thomas to Meadows reveals her avid support for the far-right lawyer Powell. Urging Meadows to make Powell the “lead and the face” of their efforts to overturn the election, Thomas wrote, “Mark (don’t want to wake you)… Sounds like Sidney and her team are getting inundated with evidence of fraud. Make a plan. Release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down.”

In the same thread, Thomas, revealing her knowledge of inner-workings within the White House, something she no doubt shared with her Supreme Court justice husband, advised Meadows on managing White House personnel.

“Suggestion: You need to buck up your team on the inside, Mark. The lower level insiders are scared, fearful or sending out signals of hopelessness vs an awareness of the existential threat to America right now. You can buck them up, strengthen their spirits.”

Thomas wrote, “You guys fold, the evil just moves fast down underneath you all. Lots of intensifying threats coming to ACB [Justice Amy Coney Barrett] and others.” Meadows replied to the text later that same day, “Thanks so much.”

The same day that Thomas texted Meadows to “Release the Kraken,” Trump coup lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell held a press conference where they alleged “communists” in China, Cuba and Venezuela, along with “antifa” elements and billionaire Holocaust survivor George Soros were part of a wide ranging plot to block the election of Trump through electoral fraud.

“Globalists, dictators, corporations, you name it—everybody’s against us except President Trump,” Powell declared in a fascist tirade.

The phrase “Release the Kraken” was popularized by Powell during an appearance she made on the Fox Business Network with Lou Dobbs on November 13. In her appearance Powell spewed election conspiracies and ended the interview claiming she was going “to release the Kraken.” However within three days of the deranged November 19 press conference, Trump, Giuliani and Ellis had soured on Powell, with Giuliani releasing a statement on November 22 saying she was not a member of the Trump legal team.

The same day as the statement, Thomas reached out to Meadows, expressing disappointment that Powell was no longer part of the inner coup circle. “Trying to understand the Sidney Powell distancing,” wrote Thomas.

Two days later, on November 24, Thomas wrote to Meadows: “I can’t see Americans swallowing the obvious fraud. Just going with one more thing with no frickin consequences… the whole coup and now this… we just cave to people wanting Biden to be anointed? Many of us can’t continue the GOP charade.” Meadows, agreeing with Thomas’ delusions, wrote, “You’re preaching to the choir. Very demoralizing.”

Meadows, adopting overt Christian themes, added that their joint efforts to overturn the election was “a fight of good versus evil. Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs. Do not grow weary in well doing. The fight continues. I have staked my career on it. Well at least my time in DC on it.”

The Post writes that Thomas replied: “Thank you!! Needed that! This plus a conversation with my best friend just now… I will try to keep holding on. America is worth it!” While Virginia never directly refers to her husband in the texts, the couple have frequently referred to each other as their respective “best friends.”

While Ginni Thomas was urging Trump’s chief of staff to overturn the election in early December, her husband argued that a Texas lawsuit advanced by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other pro-Trump lawyers seeking to invalidate millions of voters in the “battleground” states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin should be heard by the Supreme Court. At the time, Justices Thomas and Samuel Alito wrote a joint statement saying they did not believe the court has “discretion to deny the filing of a bill of complaint in a case that falls without our original jurisdiction.”

After November 24, 2020, the Post report notes that there is “an unexplained gap in correspondence. The committee received one additional message sent by Thomas to Meadows, on Jan. 10, four days after the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally Thomas said she attended and the deadly attack on the Capitol.”

In that January 10 message, Thomas, echoing the sentiments of the fascist mob that broke into the Capitol, expressed her revulsion at Vice President Mike Pence’s unwillingness to unconstitutionally reject the electoral college vote of states Trump lost.

“We are living through what feels like the end of America,” Thomas bemoaned to Trump’s chief of staff. “Most of us are disgusted with the VP and are in listening mode to see where to fight with our teams.” In what could be a reference to the poor performance of the fascist militias who stormed the Capitol on Trump’s behalf, Thomas claimed that those “who attacked the Capitol are not representative of our great teams of patriots for DJT!!”

In addition to disproving Thomas’ lying claims that she “played no role with those who were planning and leading the January 6 events,” as she claimed in an interview earlier this month, the texts illuminate the obvious conflict of interest between Justice Thomas and any future court hearings pertaining to Trump’s failed coup.

In addition to supporting a hearing on the previously mentioned Texas lawsuit, earlier this year Clarence Thomas was the only justice to vote against allowing the release of records from the Trump White House pertaining to the attack. In a functioning democratic society, the justice would already have been impeached and removed from the bench, however, as of this writing, it is not even clear if he, recently discharged after being hospitalized this week, would even recuse himself from any future hearing related to January 6. Currently there is no legal mechanism that would force him to do so.

If Clarence Thomas does choose to recuse himself it will not be due to any pressure imposed on him by the Democratic Party. In a pathetic statement issued Friday morning, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden meekly suggested that Thomas, “at the bare minimum … recuse himself from any case released to the January 6th investigation, and should Donald Trump run again, any case related to the 2024 election.”

That Wyden accepts that Trump will be free to “run again” in 2024 shows that there will be no accountability for Trump or any of his high-level co-conspirators if it is left to the Democratic Party and the courts, riddled with reactionaries like Thomas, to decide. That Trump and his far-right conspirators in the Republican Party and on the Supreme Court remain free to plot their next coup underscores that the only social force capable of defeating dictatorship and the rise of fascism is the international working class armed with a socialist program.