Five days after Ginni Thomas initially said she wanted to testify to the January 6th Committee, the news broke that the DOJ had carried out a warrant against her alleged co-conspirator John Eastman, and now she’s predictably stating her hesitation about testifying. This isn’t surprising; the DOJ just obtained her incriminating communications with Eastman, so now she could easily get nailed for perjury if she testifies and tries to lie her way out of this.
If Ginni Thomas does ultimately refuse to voluntarily testify, the January 6th Committee should subpoena her. But if she doesn’t want to testify, she can drag the subpoena out in court for probably a year or more. She’ll claim that she has some kind of imaginary privilege as a Supreme Court spouse, and while she’ll lose that court battle, it’ll take her a long time to lose. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand for getting her to promptly testify if she doesn’t want to.
Further, subpoenaing Thomas today, as compared to next week, or last week, won’t really impact the timeline, if she doesn’t want to testify. The social media chants of “We must subpoena her RIGHT NOW!!” may be well meaning, but are based on a mistaken belief that subpoenas are magic wands that can deliver instant results.
If the committee’s goal is to obtain Thomas’s testimony, it probably should play her game a bit longer, to see if it can indeed entice her into voluntarily testifying. That would be dumb of her. But she’s clearly mentally incompetent, so who knows? Perhaps she can be enticed into incriminating herself after all.
On the other hand, if and when the committee ultimately concludes she’s not going to testify no matter what, it might as well subpoena her, so it can refer her for contempt and get her criminally charged. But a subpoena won’t increase her odds of testifying. It would just be to punish her for the crime of not testifying.
Conspiracy theorists like Ginni Thomas love to run their mouths, and often believe that their incoherent ramblings can get them out of any trouble. If Thomas truly is afraid to testify, it’s because she fears she’ll be charged with something like seditious conspiracy, and is truly worried that testifying to the committee will make it easier for the DOJ to convict her. Like Steve Bannon, Peter Navarro, and others, she’d rather roll the dice on contempt charges than help nail herself on far more serious charges.
As always, those yelling “The committee must grow a spine and aggressively make this or that move right now!!!!!” have no idea what they’re talking about or how any of these things actually work. Yesterday’s hearing proved that this committee is far more effective at running this show than any unqualified rage addict on Twitter with a million followers who angrily barks out non-viable magic wand ideas and then condemns the committee for not having the courage to act on them.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report