The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has announced that its next public hearing will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 1 PM ET.
The hearing is expected to be the committee’s last, according to Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat. Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill this week, Thompson cautioned that was “unless something else develops.”
And indeed, the ground is still apparently shifting under the panel’s probe.
First reported on CNN late Wednesday night, an attorney for Ginni Thomas, the right-wing activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, confirmed that she is now willing to meet with the committee for an interview.
The hearing on Sept. 28 will feature what Thompson said would be a new and “substantial” amount of footage from the day of the attack on the Capitol. There is also “significant” witness testimony that will come out next week.
The committee has been mum, per tradition, about the finer details of its coming presentation.
In July, the committee indicated that its subsequent hearing would include an overview of its interim report. That report, essentially, would feature key findings as well as recommendations after more than a year of scrutinizing former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
One of the long-expected recommendations from the committee has already come to pass. On Wednesday, legislation to tighten up protections for elections against subversion passed in the House of Representatives.
The Presidential Election Reform Act amends the longstanding Electoral Count Act of 1887 and clarifies the role of the vice president as purely ministerial when it comes time for Congress to count Electoral College votes at its joint certification ceremony.
The bill was introduced by Committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, and fellow Jan. 6 panelist Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat.
Trump’s attempt to subvert the 2020 election hinged on the success of a pressure campaign that targeted former Vice President Mike Pence to waylay proceedings once a raft of Trump’s fake elector slates were presented for lawmaker objections. This summer the committee offered a staggering amount of evidence and witness testimony unpacking this campaign that was aided by a number of Trump’s personal attorneys and advisers including Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and John Eastman. The Department of Justice has since zeroed in on the fake elector plot in an investigation all its own.
The new legislation passed by the House Wednesday—229-203—makes it far more difficult for lawmakers to thwart the certification process if their objections are illegitimate. It requires that at least a third of the House agrees to an objection to certification. At present the 1887 law has a much lower threshold: Only one member of the House and one member of the Senate are required to sign on to an objection.
The legislation also mandates that governors transmit slates of electors chosen under that state’s popular vote.
The bill enjoyed the support of just nine Republicans. It must go to the Senate next for passage. But the Senate already has an electoral count reform bill in the works and it has the support it needs for passage. The Senate bill would require that just a fifth of the House agrees to an objection.
It has been suggested by Lofgren that there might be a way for the two bills to marry. The Senate bill will be marked up, or reviewed by lawmakers, during a meeting next week.
With new information potentially streaming in from an interview with Ginni Thomas and investigations aplenty focused on Donald Trump at the Justice Department, it’s anybody’s guess what else the probe may roll out at the coming hearing.
The committee has also recently asked for Trump ally and staunch conservative Newt Gingrich to come forward voluntarily and answer questions about the role he played in advancing conspiracy theories about voter fraud. In a letter to Gingrich dated Sept. 1, the committee specifically highlighted its concerns about Gingrich’s promotion of ads that would target state officials and demand they investigate for fraud.
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An interview with Ginni Thomas has been sought since her text messages with Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, went public earlier this year. There were roughly 30 messages between the two that were unearthed spanning from November 2020 to January 2021.
“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!” Thomas wrote on Nov. 10, 2020. “You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”
Thomas went to the rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6. She has said that she left before Trump’s speech.
The wife of the Supreme Court justice was hugely supportive of Trump’s bogus claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. In messages to Meadows, she would often encourage the Trump campaign to rely on Powell and follow the attorney’s increasingly wild conspiracy theories.
In emails uncovered by both CNN and The Washington Post, it was revealed that Thomas asked state senators and legislators in Arizona and Wisconsin to advance Trump electors at certification because of “fraud.”
The emails went to at least 22 members of the Arizona House plus one of the state’s senators, according to The Washington Post. There were at least two legislators in Wisconsin who received similar letters from Ginni Thomas, CNN found. That information was produced thanks to a public records request by the outlet.
Thomas has been asked to meet voluntarily with the committee since June but has waffled on doing so. Her attorney told the committee there was not a “sufficient basis” for an interview initially.
But in the weeks since, there has been a steady drumbeat emanating from the Justice Department around its Jan. 6 probes and grand juries have been busy hearing testimony from some of the highest-ranking advisers and officials in Trump’s inner circle with insights into the fake elector gambit.
In a statement to CNN this Wednesday, Ginni Thomas’ attorney Mark Paoletta said the voluntary interview with the select committee could “clear up any misconceptions about her work relating to the 2020 election.”