A day after the Jan. 6 House Select Committee held the first in a series of nationally televised hearings, the Washington Post reported on the discovery of dozens more emails between Virginia Thomas and 29 Republican Arizona state lawmakers in which she advanced Trump’s plan to replace duly elected voters with fraudulent pro-Trump surrogates .
Last month, it was revealed that Thomas, the wife of arch-reactionary Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, had sent emails to Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Rep. State, Shawnna Bolick, demanding that they reject the popular vote and “take steps to ensure [a] a clean slate of voters is chosen.
Spreading Trump’s fascist claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent and that Biden was illegitimate as president, Thomas called on Republicans in Arizona to reverse Biden’s victory in the state, which he won by more than 10,000 votes. She urged them to install a list of pro-Trump voters in place of Biden voters, who had actually been chosen by voters.
On Friday the Job confirmed that Thomas had sent the same email to more than half of the Republicans in the Arizona state legislature, 29 different state representatives in total. The first messages were all sent on November 9, 2020, two days after Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election. In the messages, she called on politicians to “stand firm in the face of political and media pressure” and to ” fight back” against (non-existent) electoral fraud.
Trump himself made a similar appeal to more than a dozen Michigan state lawmakers, who gathered at the White House on Nov. 20, 2020. Another Trump co-conspirator, Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry, also pushed for Democratic voters in Pennsylvania to be voted out of the state legislature in pursuit of Trump’s coup.
One of the Republicans who answered affirmatively to Thomas’ call to overthrow the government and install Trump as president-dictator was then-state Rep. Anthony Kern. The Job noted that Kern was “a supporter of Stop the Steal” who “was photography outside the Capitol” during the January 6 attack. The former state lawmaker, who has yet to be charged in connection with the attack, has already won Trump’s endorsement in his 2022 primary contest, no doubt for past services.
The Job reported that Thomas, a longtime Republican operative and Trump henchman, continued to harass lawmakers via email for more than a month, demanding that they install pro-Trump voters. On December 13, Thomas sent another batch of emails to 22 members of the Arizona House and a senator. In an outright lie, she told lawmakers they had the “constitutional power and authority” to “protect the integrity of our elections” which had “never before in the history of our nation … been so threatened by fraud and unconstitutional proceedings. ”
The emails confirm that Trump’s plot to overturn the election did not begin with his December 19 call to action on Twitter, where he urged his Republican supporters and accomplices to descend on Washington D.C. and ” be wild” in front of the Capitol on January 6. did not rely on the combat prowess of far-right militias like the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers.
In reality, the effort to enlist state legislatures to void the election was planned well in advance by Republicans like Thomas and fascist Stephen Bannon through Republican-funded think tanks like the Claremont. Institute, the Bradley Foundation, Groundswell and others, in coordination with the Republicans. politicians at the state and federal levels.
On January 6, a majority of Republicans in Congress backed Trump’s efforts to void the election, with 147 Republicans voting to challenge the Electoral College results even after the attack on Congress, while all but 10 Republicans in the House voted against impeaching Trump over his role in the attack.
The Republican Party as a whole continues to back Trump’s fascist lies that the election was “stolen” and that the coup attempt was “legitimate political speech.” After Thursday’s hearings, Trump again attacked the Jan. 6 committee calling it an “unrestricted committee of political HACKS” and called the fascist attack on Congress the “biggest move” in the history of the states. -United.
It was a deliberate decision that during Thursday’s nationally televised hearing, neither Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) nor Vice-Chair Liz Cheney (Republican-Wyoming) mentioned the role of Virginia Thomas in the plot.
They have sought to limit exposure of the political crimes of January 6 to Trump’s personal role, while concealing the fact that fascism has found support both within the Republican Party and in important sections of the Supreme Court and of the police-military intelligence apparatus. .
The extent of the Republican Party’s ultra-right takeover was underscored by the Thursday morning arrest of Republican candidate for Michigan governor Ryan Kelley for his actions in connection with the failed coup.
FBI agents arrested the 40-year-old real estate agent at his home in Allendale, Michigan. Kelley has been charged with four misdemeanors, including knowingly entering the United States Capitol or Capitol grounds, engaging in disorderly and disruptive conduct in such space, knowingly engaging in physical violence against a person or property on Capitol grounds and willfully injuring or attacking United States property. Each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
Evidence cited in court documents includes video of Kelley pushing up the Capitol steps and inciting others to attack, with video showing him shouting at Trump’s foot soldiers, “Come on, let’s go!” It’s war, baby!
Kelley, who previously described Jan. 6 as an “energizing event,” has centered his gubernatorial campaign on appealing to Trump and his fascist supporters. He has previously touted his endorsement by Michigan’s Three Percenters militia group and participated in the April 2020 storming of the Lansing State Capitol, a prelude to the Jan. 6 attack.
Kelley was a leading Republican gubernatorial candidate before his arrest, after five other Republican candidates were denied ballot status last month when the Michigan Elections Office found a significant number of signatures fraudulent and duplicated on their nomination petitions.
Michigan’s five remaining Republican gubernatorial candidates on the Aug. 2 primary ballot are Kelley, far-right media commentator Tudor Dixon, pastor Ralph Rebandt, businessman Kevin Rinke and Garrett Soldano.
Kelley’s next hearing will be virtually next week after he was released on bail Thursday afternoon to the cheers of a small crowd of supporters who had gathered outside the federal courthouse in Grand Rapids, Michigan.