Ginni Thomas, the wife of the US supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Republicans in Arizona to overturn Joe Biden’s victory there in 2020, the Washington Post reported.
Repeating Donald Trump’s lie that the vote had been marred by fraud, Thomas wrote: “Please stand strong in the face of political and media pressure. Please reflect on the awesome authority granted to you by our constitution. And then please take action to ensure that a clean slate of electors is chosen for our state.”
Thomas did not mention Biden or Trump. But, the Post said, “the context was clear”.
Biden won Arizona, a swing state vital to the contest, by about 10,000 votes. The call was first made by Fox News, enraging Trump.
Ginni Thomas is an activist with deep ties on the Republican far right. Reports of her involvement in Trump’s attempt to hold on to power have led to calls for her husband’s impeachment and removal, or at least recusal from election-related cases.
In January, Thomas was the only justice to say Trump should be able to withhold from the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack documents which turned out to include texts sent by his wife to Trump’s chief of staff.
On Friday, the Post said Ginni Thomas emailed two Arizona Republicans on 9 November, six days after election day and two days after Biden’s win was called.
She also requested a live or online meeting “so I can learn more about what you are doing to ensure our state’s vote is audited and our certification is clean”.
One of the lawmakers, Shawnna Bolick, replied, saying, “I hope you and Clarence are doing great!” but deflecting the demand for a meeting.
The Post said Thomas replied: “Fun that this came to you! Just part of our campaign to help states feel America’s eyes!!!”
The Post also reported that Thomas emailed the same Republicans on 13 December, a day before the electoral college met to confirm Biden’s victory.
That email said: “Before you choose your state’s electors … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead.”
The Post said the email contained a link to a video of a man who appeared to be Geoffrey Botkin, an activist, “delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to ‘put things right’ and ‘not give in to cowardice’ [and saying] ‘You have only hours to act’.”
The video is no longer available. Botkin did not comment to the newspaper. Nor did Ginni Thomas. The Post said a supreme court spokesperson did not respond.
On 14 December, the day the electoral college confirmed Biden’s win, Bolick signed a letter calling for Arizona’s electoral votes to go to Trump or “be nullified completely until a full forensic audit can be conducted”.
In 2021, Arizona Republicans conducted a controversial vote audit. It did not reveal substantial electoral fraud. It did increase Biden’s margin of victory.
Also in 2021, the New Yorker reported that Bolick had introduced a bill that “would enable a majority of the legislature to override the popular vote … and dictate the state’s electoral college votes itself”.
Like Trump loyalists elsewhere, Bolick is now running for secretary of state, the office which runs elections.
On Friday, the New Yorker reporter Jane Meyer tweeted “one additional detail”, linking Ginni Thomas’s moves in Arizona back to her husband.
Clarence Thomas, Meyer said, is godfather “to Clint Bolick’s child, and Bolick’s wife is the Arizona lawmaker who Ginni Thomas pressured to overturn the 2020 election.
“No conflicts of interest?”