Embattled Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) testified Friday in a hearing to determine whether she is qualified to run for reelection in the state, answering questions on her past social media use and political rhetoric.
Or rather, answering with the little she could remember.
Greene asserted under oath that she believed Joe Biden had actually lost the 2020 presidential election to then-President Donald Trump, claiming falsely that there was “a tremendous amount of voter fraud.” She resisted affirming that she believed the election had been “stolen,” however, despite past tweets stating as much.
The first-term congresswoman is accused of helping to facilitate the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, which could be considered a violation of the 14th Amendment prohibition on members of Congress taking part in an “insurrection or rebellion.” She’s being sued by a group of her own constituents represented by Free Speech for People, an organization that advocates for fair elections.
Her attorney, James Bopp, said his client was engaged in “legitimate political speech,” pushing back on any accusation that she had fomented violence.
On the stand, Greene’s memory appeared hazy.
Among the things Greene said she did not remember were: whether she liked a social media comment calling for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s execution; the authenticity of a Newsmax interview she gave that was posted to her Facebook page; whether she or her staff had removed certain election-related posts from her Facebook page; whether she ever spoke with Trump about imposing martial law; whether she thought there could be violence the day of Jan. 6, 2021; whether she ever tweeted about the rally planned that day in protest of the 2020 presidential election results; whether she knew about rallygoers’ plans to enter the Capitol, or even make noise outside it, and whether she had ever called on her supporters to “flood the Capitol” as a form of political protest.
Confronted with a video in which she said the peaceful transfer of power should not be allowed to take place, Greene said that it was being misinterpreted and had possibly been “chopped up” or “cut and sliced.” She did not remember recording it.
“You can’t allow it to just transfer power peacefully like Joe Biden wants, and allow him to become our president because he did not win this election,” Greene says in the video, which was originally posted to Facebook and was played in the courtroom. She goes on to encourage people to come protest in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, saying, “We are not a people who are going to go quietly into the night.”
Greene claimed that she saw the video “jump” three times, suggesting it had been edited to make her look bad.
She pushed back on another line of questioning on the basis that her quotes had been reported by CNN, an outlet Greene asserted had “lied” about her repeatedly.
“You sound like you have as many conspiracy theories as QAnon at this point,” Greene told attorney Andrew Celli.
“You believe in QAnon, don’t you?” Celli retorted. Greene said no, even though she had once embraced the conspiracy theory that places Trump at the center of efforts to fight a vast child abuse scheme.
Celli later played a recording of the comments reported by CNN, which had been part of a video Greene posted to social media in 2019.
Judge Charles Beaudrot, who oversaw the hearing, is expected to send his findings on the case to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who will make the final determination about whether Greene qualifies for reelection.
Her name is already set to appear on the ballot for Georgia’s May 24 primary; if she is disqualified, voters will be told that any vote for Greene will not be counted.
The congresswoman insisted that her social media posts were not meant to inspire anyone to violent action.
“I never mean anything for violence. All of my words never, ever mean anything for violence,” Greene said.
Later, she claimed that she had “never once seen violence out of Trump people.”
A mob of Trump supporters infamously attacked the Capitol last year to protest the election results and disrupt the formal certification of Biden’s win, which was taking place inside. Several people died as a direct result of the attack.
Greene deflected when faced with a question about the disruption.
“Interrupting Congress, like when the Democrats interrupted Congress and had a sit-in on the House floor?” she said, in an apparent reference to a peaceful 2016 protest over the lack of federal action on gun control.
Earlier in the hearing, Free Speech for People attorney Ron Fein called it “a solemn occasion” because an elected representative had failed to obey the Constitution.
Fein brought an American history expert, Indiana University law professor Gerard Magliocca, to the stand in the morning to give a brief history lesson. Magliocca explained that concerns about Confederacy supporters being elected to Congress in the wake of the Civil War led to the adoption of the 14th Amendment in 1868.
Greene appeared to have several supporters in the Georgia courtroom, including Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R).
When she first entered, a small group of people applauded ― an action Beaudrot later admonished.
“No. This is not a show. Do not do that,” Beaudrot said after some in court started clapping at the start of a morning recess.
Marita Vlachou contributed to this report.