A hearing Friday on the longshot bid to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from the ballot forced the far-right lawmaker to confront some of the incendiary rhetoric she’s used in the past, even as she denied vehemently that she encouraged the violent January 6 attack on the Capitol.
The activists challenging her congressional candidacy argued that her statements made her a participant of an insurrection, and thus, disqualify her from future government service. They tried to connect Greene to the plans to violently interrupt Congress’ electoral vote count and to those who orchestrated the attack. But Greene denied knowledge of any scheme to disrupt the proceedings and said she didn’t know key players who organized the rally that preceded the congressional breach.
Greene is one of multiple Republican lawmakers who have been targeted with disqualification petitions citing a constitutional amendment barring lawmakers from serving in office if they participated in an Insurrection. The challengers have faced an uphill battle to remove Greene and other lawmakers from the ballot, and on Friday, the judge presiding over the proceedings expressed some skepticism of their tactics.
But the hearing also subjected Greene to a detailed grilling about her views on the riot, and whether she had any knowledge of the plans to disrupt Congress’ counting of the electoral votes. She fiercely rebuked any suggestions that violence was what she had in mind as she called for protests and objections to Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s win.
Here are the takeaways from the hearing:
Greene said under oath that she had “no knowledge” of plans to disrupt Congress’ counting of the 2020 electoral votes.
She made the assertion after the challengers’ lawyer Andrew Celli asked whether — because of the oath of office she took as a member of Congress — she would have been obligated to stop or have arrested someone who was planning to interfere with the certification proceedings.
She repeated it again later on, telling the lawyer she “absolutely” did not have any prior knowledge of plans to disrupt the certification.
“I don’t know anything about that,” she said.
Asked about a Tweet on her now-suspended account promoting the plans for supporters of then-President Donald Trump to protest on Washington on the day of Congress’ certification vote, she said, “I was asking people to come for a peaceful march, which is what everyone is entitled to do under their First Amendment, but I was not asking them to actively engage in violence or any type of action.”
“All of my words never, ever mean anything for violence,” she added.
She later said she couldn’t recall whether she spoke to anyone in government about the protests planned for January 6. Nor could she remember anyone she spoke to about attending the January 6 demonstrations, according to her testimony.
Claiming that there had been “tremendous amount” of voter fraud, Greene confirmed that she believed that President Joe Biden had lost the election to former President Donald Trump. Federal and state authorities have debunked claims of mass fraud, yet Greene claimed Friday there were “many instances” of fraud.
Greene said she believed that Biden had lost the election after she had repeatedly dodged questions about social media posts she published before January 6 pushing allegations of fraud and claims that Trump was the true victor of the 2020 election.
Earlier in the hearing her lawyer, James Bopp Jr., defended that the statements she made after the election as legitimate political speech.
“The question of voter fraud in the 2020 election was a, is a quintessential example of political speech, legitimate political disagreements about what happened,” Bopp said.
She clung to conspiracy theories about the Capitol assault and actively introduced some of the most sensational claims about that day.
When questioned by Celli, she said she did not know whether her FBI was behind the attack. She then name-checked a figure at the center of the fringe theories that the assault was an FBI false flag plot and said “there’s a lot of investigations that need to happen.”