(The hill) — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) took the stand as a witness Friday as part of a hearing on whether she played a role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol and became in the first member of Congress. testify under oath about her involvement in the attack.
The hour-long testimony featured a series of tense exchanges between Greene and lawyers for a group of his constituents seeking to bar the first-term lawmaker from appearing on Georgia’s May 24 primary ballot.
Lawyers pressed Greene, a staunch ally of former President Trump and one of the most polarizing members of Congress, over her tweets, Facebook posts and comments leading up to the attack on the US Capitol.
He repeatedly refused to answer questions and rejected any suggestion that he had tried to incite or encourage violence during Congressional certification of President Biden’s 2020 election victory. However, he stood by his claim that widespread voter fraud cost him. Trump a second term in the White House.
“In my opinion, there was a lot of fraudulent stuff that happened in the election,” Greene said on the witness stand. “And, in my opinion, I want to do everything I can to protect the integrity of the election.”
He later added: “We saw an enormous amount of voter fraud. We have ongoing investigations at this time in the state of Georgia. There are ongoing investigations in several states.”
Asked at one point during his testimony if he had heard before the Jan. 6 riots if anyone was planning to enter the Capitol and engage in violence, Greene said he didn’t remember. When asked a similar question later in the hearing, he said he had “never heard that from anyone.”
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, despite Trump’s repeated claims to the contrary.
The hearing, which lasted much of Friday, focused on a legal challenge brought by a group of Georgia voters represented by the group Free Speech for People seeking to disqualify Greene from appearing on the ballot in their primary election on next month.
The case centers on a provision of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, known as the disqualification clause, which effectively bars anyone who has previously taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from holding federal office. and having “participated in an insurrection.” against the United States.
Challengers argue that the January 6 riot at the US Capitol was an insurrection, that Greene was involved in the attack, and that her involvement should bar her from serving in Congress.
Lawyers for the challengers tried to argue that although Greene was not directly involved in the Jan. 6 riots, she played a crucial role in inciting them and must be held accountable.
“She was not on the steps of the Capitol urging attackers to break through police lines and break down doors on Jan. 6,” attorney Ron Fein said, adding, “Marjorie Taylor Greene did, however, play a significant role.”
The challengers’ attorneys particularly focused on Greene’s assertion at the time that January 6 would be “our moment in 1776.”
“Instead, it turned out to be a moment in 1861,” Fein said, referring to the year Confederate troops attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina and started fighting in the American Civil War.
Greene’s attorney, James Bopp, on the other hand, argued that Greene’s efforts to deny President Biden’s victory in 2020, including his calls for a response to electoral vote certification by Congress, qualified as “political speech.” legitimate”.
Bopp also argued that removing Greene from the ballot would effectively disenfranchise thousands of his constituents, because they would not be able to cast their votes for the candidate of their choice.
“The right to vote is at stake, here and now,” Bopp said. “Because they want to deny the right to vote to the thousands of people in Georgia’s 14th District by removing Greene from the ballot.”
But the highlight of Friday’s hearing was testimony from Greene herself, who spent hours on the witness stand. During her testimony, Ella Greene insisted that she was “not aware of any attempt” to stop electoral vote certification by Congress.
He said that while he encouraged supporters to protest peacefully on January 6, he “was not asking them to actively engage in violence or any kind of action.”
“I do not support violence of any kind. I’ve said it over and over again,” she said. “I never meant anything by violence. None of my words ever mean anything to violence.”
Still, Greene reiterated his repeated belief that the 2020 presidential election was tainted by widespread voter fraud and that he didn’t think Trump would lose the election to Biden, though he also said it was “inaccurate” to say he wanted Congress not to vote. certify Biden as the winner.
Throughout her testimony, Greene often turned combative, accusing the challengers’ attorneys of splicing and joining video evidence to fit her argument. She also criticized the attorneys’ use of CNN reporting during the hearing, accusing the news network of lying about her “multiple times.”
“You’re using CNN and they’ve cut my words off so many times, they’ve lied about me so many times,” Greene said.
“Sounds like I have as many conspiracies as QAnon right now,” he added, referring to the conspiracy theory that the government is controlled by a “deep state” of globalist pedophiles working against Trump.
Andrew Celli, an attorney for the challengers, went on to ask if he believes in QAnon. Greene responded, “No, I didn’t say I believe in QAnon.”
In subsequent questioning, Greene’s attorney, Bopp, sought to highlight the congresswoman’s statements surrounding the Jan. 6 riots calling for peace and nonviolence. When she was asked how she felt during the attack, Greene said that she was scared.
“I was scared. I was very scared,” he said. “I was worried. He was shocked, shocked, shocked, absolutely shocked.”
Administrative Law Judge Charles Beaudrot, who presided over the hearing, at times expressed skepticism about the challengers’ argument. At one point, he admonished Celli, saying that he was “pushing the envelope” with her line of questioning. At another point, he sternly warned that the audience is not “theater.”
“This is not an argument in front of the Supreme Court,” Beaudrot said. “This is an evidentiary hearing.”
Beaudrot himself will not determine Greene’s eligibility to appear on the ballot. Rather, he will deliver his findings and recommendations to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who will make a decision on Greene’s eligibility.
That decision could put Raffensperger in a politically difficult position. He has already drawn the ire of Trump for rejecting his pleas to reverse the results of the 2020 election in Georgia, and now he faces a Trump-backed challenger, Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), in the March 24 primary. may.
The outcome of the challenge will likely have ramifications far beyond Georgia. Similar challenges have been leveled against other Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), and Madison Cawthorn (RN.C.), though a federal judge has blocked Cawthorn’s challenge. . possibility of appearing on the ballot.
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