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Conclusions from Friday’s January 6 hearing on Marjorie Taylor Greene’s bid to disqualify

Activists questioning her candidacy in Congress claimed that her statements made her a participant in the uprising, thereby disqualifying her from future government service. They tried to link Greene with plans to forcibly suspend the counting of Congressional votes and with those who organized the attack. However, Greene denied knowing of any plans to disrupt the proceedings, saying she did not know the key players who organized the rally that preceded the congressional violation.

But the hearing also exposed Greene to a detailed barbecue about her views on the riots and whether she knew of plans to disrupt congressional voting. She furiously rebuked all suggestions that she meant violence when she called for protests and objections to Congress’ confirmation of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Greene has repeatedly denied knowing or participating in the January 6 violence

Greene said under oath that she “did not know” about plans to disrupt the 2020 counts in Congress.

She said this after challenging lawyer Andrew Celli asked whether, because of an oath she had taken as a member of Congress, she would be obliged to stop or arrest someone who planned to interfere in the certification process. .

She later reiterated and told the lawyer that she had “absolutely” no prior knowledge of plans to undermine certification.

“I don’t know anything about that,” she said.

Asked about a tweet on her now suspended account promoting the plans of then-President Donald Trump supporters to protest in Washington on Congress Day on certification, she said: “I asked people to come on a peaceful march, which is what everyone has the right to do. according to their First Amendment, but I did not ask them to take an active part in the violence or any kind of action. “

“All my words never, ever mean anything for violence,” she added.

She later said she did not remember talking to anyone in government about the January 6 protests. According to her, she also did not remember anyone she spoke to about the January 6 demonstrations.

Greene clung to conspiracy theories surrounding the election and the violation of the Capitol

Greene claimed that there was a “huge amount” of election fraud, and confirmed that she believed President Joe Biden had lost the election to former President Donald Trump. Federal and state authorities have refuted allegations of mass fraud, yet Greene claimed on Friday that there were “many cases” of fraud.

Greene said she believed Biden had lost the election after repeatedly avoiding social networking questions she posted before January 6 and made allegations of fraud, claiming that Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election.

Earlier at the hearing, her lawyer, James Bopp Jr. he argued that the statements she made after the election were a legitimate political speech.

“The issue of voter fraud in the 2020 elections was a typical example of a political speech, a legitimate political disagreement over what happened,” Bopp said.

She adhered to conspiracy theories about the attack on the Capitol and actively presented some of the most sensational claims of the day.

When asked, Celli said she didn’t know if her FBI was behind the attack. She then verified the name at the heart of the fringe theories that the attack was a conspiracy under the FBI’s false flag, and said that “a lot of investigation is needed.”

She remembered that during the disruption, she thought the attackers were “Antifa disguised as Trump’s supporters,” because “that was the first thing they told us.”

Asked if anyone from Antifa or the Black Lives Matter had been arrested or charged with assaulting the Capitol, Greene said she did not know, and hinted at false accounts about political prisoners that the defendants were being unjustly imprisoned on January 6.

“I know they were arrested across the country until 2020, and more than 95% of them were dropped, unlike the January 6 rioters, who are still in prison,” she said.

Greene escaped the examples of inflammatory rhetoric she had used in the past

Greene has been repeatedly asked about the statement and her posts on social media using outrageous rhetoric about democratic lawmakers and other topics. She said she could not remember the remarks she had made in the protest before running for Congress, claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had committed treason and that treason was a “crime punishable by death.” She said she didn’t know who liked the Facebook post from her account, which referred to Pelosi’s “bullet in the head,” but she couldn’t say for sure that it wasn’t her.

“I testify: I have no idea who liked the comment.” she said when asked to clarify that it wasn’t her.

She said she did not remember calling on protesters to “flood” the Capitol in a 2019 demonstration in favor of funding the Boundary Wall until the challengers played a video of her statement in 2019.

On several occasions, she rejected the challengers’ questions about her past statements, arguing that her videos had been cut or taken out of context.

“I say that, but my sentences are interrupted. My whole message is not there,” she said of the video, where she talks about how “if you take your weapons,” you can never “stop a tyrannical government.”

She also said that in an interview on January 5, where she described January 6 as the “moment of 1776,” she spoke of “courage to object” to the counting of electoral votes.

The video was posted on her Facebook page, but Greene said it wasn’t her who posted it.

The challengers could not connect Greene with specific violent actors

In the face of the “I don’t remember” blockade, the challengers had little luck in forcing Greene to develop her discussions or activities before the attack on January 6. Their lawyer was also offended that due to the quick timeline of the disqualification proceedings before the upcoming primaries, they were not allowed to obtain another discovery. Their cases largely depended on previous statements made by CNN and other media.

Left-wing interest groups – who work with local voters in Greene’s Georgia district – are trying to remove Greene from the ballot as part of a larger campaign using the 14th Amendment to hold those lawmakers who allegedly supported the violent disruption accountable. to the Congressional Election in 2020. Amendment 14 states that any U.S. official who swears to abide by the Constitution is disqualified from performing any future function if he or she has “participated in an uprising or rebellion against the same or provided assistance.” or comfort to their enemies ”.

Her testimony did not show that she planned violence or coordinated with anyone who revolted on January 6. This hole in the case of the challengers could significantly undermine their chances of disqualifying Greene, because they need to prove that she was involved in the uprising.

Georgia’s administrative law Judge Charles Beaudrot, who eventually recommended Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger on disqualification, did not consider the substance of their arguments. But sometimes he challenged the tactics of the challenger’s lawyers.

Beaudrot endured Bopp’s objections to questions about Greene’s mental state on Friday when she was sworn in on January 3, 2021. He later said the challengers, who were “pushing the envelope,” focused on the remarks Greene had made in 2019.

He was also frustrated by the theatricality used by both parties to contend with Bopps’ objections to the interrogation of the challengers.

“This is not a theater. This is not an argument before the Supreme Court. It is an evidentiary case,” Beaudrot said.

According to Greene, it was the challengers who were a threat to democracy

During the opening statements, Greene’s lawyer said the effort risks “irrevocable damage to voters and the candidate” – especially if Greene is removed from the May primary vote just to have the disqualification removed on appeal.

This is a subject Bopp, her lawyer, returned to during her final thesis when he criticized how challengers allegedly wanted to “kidnap and cancel words like 1776, the Declaration of Independence, Independence Day, and the American Revolution.”

He claimed that the whole process was trampled on by Greene’s constitutional rights, and at the same time he claimed that the state proceedings were defeating the purpose of Amendment 14. Bopp said challengers abused the candidacy process, which usually revolves around permanent residence and age limits, because he called Friday’s hearing a “political demonstration process.”

He warned that if “this line is broken – so that the political hyperbola of labeling people as uprisings will turn into lawsuits filed by interest groups to abolish our democracy, destroy voters’ rights to elect candidates of their choice, and exclude individuals. members ran for re-election – our democracy, your honor, cannot survive. “

This story and headline have been updated to reflect further developments on Friday.

Marshall Cohen of CNN contributed to this report.