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Ginni Thomas corresponded with John Eastman, people involved in Jan. 6 House investigation say

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Ginni Thomas corresponded with John Eastman, people involved in Jan. 6 House investigation say

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Thomas sent emails to 27 legislators in Arizona urging them to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.”

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Md., Feb. 23, 2017. Susan Walsh/The Associated Press

By Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey and Emma Brown, Washington Post

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol has obtained email correspondence between Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and lawyer John Eastman, who played a key role in efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, according to three people involved in the committee’s investigation.

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The emails show that Thomas’s efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, two of the people said. The three declined to provide details and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

The committee’s members and staffers are now discussing whether to spend time during their public hearings exploring Ginni Thomas’s role in the attempt to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, the three people said. The Washington Post previously reported that the committee had not sought an interview with Thomas and was leaning against pursuing her cooperation with its investigation.

The two people said the emails were among documents obtained by the committee and reviewed recently. Last week, a federal judge ordered Eastman to turn more than a hundred documents over to the committee. Eastman had tried to block the release of those and other documents by arguing that they were privileged communications and therefore should be protected.

Thomas also sent messages to President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and to Arizona legislators, pressing them to help overturn the election, The Post has previously reported.

While Thomas has maintained that she and her husband operate in separate professional lanes, her activities as a conservative political activist have long distinguished her from other spouses of Supreme Court justices. Any new revelations about Thomas’s actions after the 2020 presidential election are likely to further intensify questions about whether Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from cases related to the election and attempts to subvert it.

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In January, the Supreme Court rejected a request by Trump to block the release of his White House records to the House committee investigating Jan. 6. Clarence Thomas was the only justice to dissent, siding with Trump.

John Eastman, a lawyer advising former President Donald Trump, speaks at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 12, 2019. – Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Ginni Thomas did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did Eastman or his lawyer. A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court did not respond to questions for Clarence Thomas.

A Jan. 6 committee spokesman declined to comment.

Eastman, who once served as clerk for Clarence Thomas at the Supreme Court, outlined scenarios for denying Biden the presidency in legal memos and in an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 4 with Trump and Pence, The Post and other outlets have previously reported. Eastman has said that Trump was his client at the time.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge David Carter ordered Eastman to release numerous documents to the committee, rejecting privilege claims Eastman had asserted. In April and May, Eastman turned over more than 1,000 documents to the committee.

In a 26-page ruling last week, Carter addressed an additional 599 documents that Eastman sought to shield. Carter ruled that more than 400 of those documents were protected by attorney-client or other privilege and should not be released.

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But he ordered the remainder, including correspondence with state legislators and documents related to alleged election fraud and the plan to disrupt the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, be turned over to the committee last week and early this week.

Carter described some of the documents in more detail than others.

He ordered Eastman to turn over documents regarding three December 2020 meetings of a group that Eastman described as “civic minded citizens of a conservative viewpoint,” including messages from a person Carter described as the group’s “high-profile leader” inviting Eastman to speak at a meeting on Dec. 8, 2020. The meeting agenda indicates that Eastman discussed “State legislative actions that can reverse the media-called election for Joe Biden.”

“The Select Committee has a substantial interest in these three meetings because the presentations furthered a critical objective of the January 6 plan: to have contested states certify alternate slates of electors for President Trump,” Carter wrote.

It is not clear what the group is or who its high-profile leader is.

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Carter also ordered the release of part of a Dec. 22 email written by an attorney he did not identify. The attorney encouraged Trump’s legal team not to pursue litigation that might “tank the January 6 strategy” by making clear that Pence did not have the ability to intervene in the counting of electoral votes. “Lawyers are free not to bring cases; they are not free to evade judicial review to overturn a democratic election,” Carter wrote.

And the judge ordered the release of several communications that shared news stories or tweets.

In the weeks after the 2020 election, Ginni Thomas repeatedly pressed Meadows to overturn the outcome, according to text messages obtained by The Post and CBS News. After Jan. 6, she told Meadows in a text that she was “disgusted” with Pence, who had refused to help block the certification of Biden’s electoral college victory. She wrote, “We are living through what feels like the end of America.”

During that same post-election period, Thomas also pressed Republican legislators in Arizona to help keep Trump in office by setting aside Biden’s popular-vote win and to “choose” their own electors, The Post has reported, based on documents obtained via a public records request. Thomas sent the emails via FreeRoots, an online platform designed to facilitate sending pre-written messages to multiple elected officials.

In an email on Nov. 9, just days after media organizations called the race in Arizona and nationally for Biden, Thomas sent identical emails to 27 legislators in the Arizona House and Senate urging them to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.” The email claimed that the responsibility to choose electors – which belongs to voters under Arizona state law – was “yours and yours alone” and claimed that the legislature had the “power to fight back against fraud” and “ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen.”

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In a follow-up email to one of the recipients, Rep. Shawnna Bolick, Thomas described the email as “part of our campaign to help states feel America’s eyes.”

Bolick, who provided Thomas with links she could use to report any fraud she had experienced in Arizona, previously told The Post that she received tens of thousands of emails after the election and that she responded to Thomas in the same way she responded to everyone else.

On Dec. 13, the day before presidential electors were scheduled to cast their votes and seal Biden’s victory, Thomas emailed 21 of those legislators plus two others. “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 email said. It linked to a video of a man urging swing-state legislators to “put things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”

The next day, Democratic electors in Arizona cast their votes for Biden. Republican electors met separately and signed a document declaring themselves to be the state’s “duly elected and qualified Electors.” More than a dozen Arizona legislators signed on to a letter to Congress for the state’s electoral votes to go to Trump or “be nullified completely until a full forensic audit can be conducted.”

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Russia to send Belarus nuclear-capable missiles within months

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Russia to send Belarus nuclear-capable missiles within months

Putin has several times referred to nuclear weapons since his country invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the West has seen as a warning not to intervene.

Published On 25 Jun 2022

Russia will supply Belarus with missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads after the president complained about nuclear-armed NATO flights coming close to the Belarusian border.

President Vladimir Putin made the announcement on Saturday as he received Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow.

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“In the coming months, we will transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions,” Putin said in a broadcast on Russian television at the start of his meeting with Lukashenko in St Petersburg.

At the meeting, Lukashenko expressed concern about the “aggressive”, “confrontational”, and “repulsive” policies of Belarus’s neighbours Lithuania and Poland.

He asked Putin to help his country mount a “symmetrical response” to what he said were nuclear-armed flights by the US-led NATO alliance near Belarus’s borders.

Putin offered to upgrade Belarusian warplanes to make them capable of carrying nuclear weapons amid soaring tensions with the West over Ukraine.

Last month, Lukashenko said his country had bought Iskander nuclear-capable missiles and S-400 anti-aircraft anti-missile systems from Russia.

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“Many Su-25 [aircraft] are in service with the Belarusian military. They could be upgraded in an appropriate way,” Putin said.

“This modernisation should be carried out in aircraft factories in Russia and the training of personnel should start in accordance with this. We will agree on how to accomplish this.”

Putin has several times referred to nuclear weapons since his country invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the West has seen as a warning not to intervene.

Moscow has alleged that NATO planned to admit Ukraine and use it as a platform to threaten Russia.

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Russia’s move has not only triggered a barrage of Western sanctions but also prompted Sweden and Russia’s northern neighbour Finland to apply to join the Western alliance.

In the past week, Lithuania in particular has infuriated Russia by blocking the transit of goods subject to European sanctions travelling across its territory from Russia, through Belarus, to Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.

Russia called it a “blockade” but Lithuania has said it affects only 1 percent of the normal goods transit on the route and passenger traffic is unaffected.

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Fall of Severodonetsk is Russia’s biggest victory since Mariupol

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Fall of Severodonetsk is Russia’s biggest victory since Mariupol

Russian forces have fully occupied Severodonetsk, the mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city said, confirming Ukraine’s biggest battlefield setback for more than a month after weeks of fighting to hold the strategic town and latest symbol of Ukrainian resistance.

Russian missiles also rained down on western, northern and southern parts of the country on Saturday as Europe’s biggest land conflict since World War II enters its fifth month.

The fall of Severodonetsk – once home to more than 100,000 people, and now reduced to a wasteland of rubble by Russian artillery – is Moscow’s biggest victory since capturing the port of Mariupol last month.

The fall of the city transforms the battlefield in the east of Ukraine where Moscow’s huge advantage in firepower had until now yielded only slow gains.

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“The city is now under the full occupation of Russia,” the city’s Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said on national television. He said anyone left behind could no longer reach Ukrainian-held territory, as the city was effectively cut off.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Ukrainian attempt to turn the city’s Azot chemical plant into another centre of resistance had been thwarted.

“As a result of successful offensive operations, units of the people’s militia of the LPR [Luhansk People’s Republic], with the support of Russian troops … completely liberated the cities of Severodonetsk and Borivske,” he said.

‘Tactical regrouping’

The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency described the fall of the city as a means for Ukrainian forces to regroup from Severodonetsk to higher ground in neighbouring Lysychansk.

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“The activities happening in the area of Severodonetsk are a tactical regrouping of our troops. This is a withdrawal to advantageous positions to obtain a tactical advantage,” said Kyrylo Budanov, head of Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.

“Russia is using the tactic … it used in Mariupol: wiping the city from the face of the earth,” he said.

“Given the conditions, holding the defence in the ruins and open fields is no longer possible. So the Ukrainian forces are leaving for higher ground to continue the defence operations.”

Russia will now be hoping to press on and seize more ground on the opposite bank of the Siverskyi Donets river where Severodonetsk’s twin city Lysychansk is located.

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Ukraine will also hope that the price Moscow paid to capture the ruins of Severodonetsk will leave Russia’s forces vulnerable to a counterattack in coming weeks.

Lysychansk and Severodonetsk have been the focal point of Russian offensives aimed at capturing all of eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and destroying the Ukrainian military defending it – the most capable and battle-hardened segment of the country’s armed forces.

The two cities and surrounding areas are the last major pockets of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk province, 95 percent of which is under Russian and local separatist control. Russians and separatist forces also control about half of Donetsk, the second province in the Donbas.

The capture of Severodonetsk is likely to be seen by Russia as vindication for its switch from its early, failed attempt at “lightning warfare” to a relentless, grinding offensive using massive artillery in the east.

INTERACTIVE_UKRAINE_CONTROL MAP DAY122June25_INTERACTIVE- WHO CONTROLS WHAT IN THE DONBAS
(Al Jazeera)

The retreat from Severodonetsk also brings Moscow close to full control of Luhansk.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reporting from the capital Kyiv said the withdrawal from Severodonetsk leaves Ukrainian forces in control of just one remaining city in Luhansk.

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“The big question now though is whether the Ukrainians can hold on to Luhansk. Having seemingly lost control of Severodonetsk, there is only one more city in the Luhansk region that the Ukrainian forces still control,” Stratford said.

“This is being described fundamentally as the, potentially, biggest defeat for Ukrainian forces since Mariupol last month,” he said.

Ukrainian officials said that they were pulling troops back from Severodonetsk to avoid being surrounded by the Russians, who had crossed the river in force in recent days and were advancing on Lysychansk on the opposite bank. Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk, said Russian forces had attempted to enter and blockade Lysychansk.

Moscow says Luhansk and Donetsk, where it has backed uprisings since 2014, are independent countries, and has demanded Ukraine cede the entire territory of the two provinces to separatist administrations.

Missile strikes

Ukraine’s top general, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, wrote on the Telegram app on Saturday that newly arrived, US-supplied advanced HIMARS rocket systems were now deployed and hitting targets in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

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Elsewhere in Ukraine, governors of western and northern regions reported multiple missile attacks, indicating that Russia was not limiting its assault to eastern territories.

“48 cruise missiles. At night. Throughout whole Ukraine,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter. “Russia is still trying to intimidate Ukraine, cause panic and make people be afraid.”

48 🇷🇺 cruise missiles. At night. Throughout whole Ukraine. Exclusively on civilian targets… Russia is still trying to intimidate Ukraine, cause panic and make people be afraid of Z-monsters… Ukraine knows everything and ready for anything. And it will punish for all the evil…

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) June 25, 2022

The governor of Lviv region in western Ukraine, Maxim Kozytskyi, said in a video posted online that six missiles were fired from the Black Sea at the Yavoriv base near the border with Poland. Four hit the target but two were destroyed.

In the north, Vitaliy Bunechko, governor of the Zhytomyr region, said strikes on a military target killed at least one soldier, adding that nearly 10 missiles had been intercepted and destroyed.

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In the south, Oleksandr Senkevych, mayor of Mykolaiv near the Black Sea, said five cruise missiles hit the city and nearby areas on Saturday.

The number of casualties is being clarified and there was no independent confirmation of the various reports.

‘Belarus as a co-belligerent’

In another potentially significant development, Ukraine said it had come under “massive bombardment” early on Saturday morning from neighbouring Belarus, a Russian ally not officially involved in the conflict.

Twenty rockets “fired from the territory of Belarus and from the air” targeted the village of Desna in the northern Chernigiv region, Ukraine’s northern military command said. It said infrastructure was hit, but no casualties had yet been reported.

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“Today’s strike is directly linked to Kremlin efforts to pull Belarus as a co-belligerent into the war in Ukraine,” the Ukrainian intelligence service said.

Ukraine’s air command also said Russian long-range Tu-22 bombers were deployed from Belarus for the first time. Belarus hosts Russian military units and was used as a staging ground before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, but its own troops have not yet crossed the border.

On Saturday afternoon, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would send Belarus missiles able to carry nuclear warheads within months.

“We will transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions,” he said, as he met his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Saint Petersburg.

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Rhode Island Officer Suspended for Off-Duty Actions at Abortion Protest

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Rhode Island Officer Suspended for Off-Duty Actions at Abortion Protest

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island police officer accused of punching a woman at an abortion protest while he was off-duty was suspended from his job with pay Saturday while the Providence Police Department conducts a criminal investigation into his actions.

Jennifer Rourke, Rhode Island Political Cooperative Chairwoman and a state Senate candidate, told the Providence Journal she was punched in the face at least twice by Jeann Lugo, the officer who had also been her challenger in the state Senate race.

Lugo told the Journal on he was “not going to deny” the punching allegation, but added that “everything happened very fast.”

“As an officer that swore to protect and serve our communities, I, unfortunately, saw myself in a situation that no individual should see themselves in,” he said in the email to the Boston Globe. ”I stepped in to protect someone that a group of agitators was attacking.”

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Lugo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Video of the event posted online shows two other individuals involved in a physical altercation at the protest right before a woman, apparently Rourke, is seen being hit. The video does not show what happened between Lugo and Rourke prior to Rourke being hit.

“I’m a Black woman running for office,” Rourke told the Journal. “There was no need, no need for any of this. I’m not going to give up.”

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza addressed the conflict in a tweet but said he was limited in what he could say.

“I’ve seen the video and it’s immensely disturbing,” Elorza said. “Those responsible will be held fully accountable.”

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At midday Saturday, Lugo tweeted that he was dropping out of the race.

“I will not be running for any office this fall,” he said.

In a news release announcing the suspension, Providence police said the suspended officer was a three-year veteran.

The altercation occurred during a Friday protest outside the Rhode Island State House in Providence that was in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

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