Marjorie Taylor Greene defiant, forgetful in court challenge to reelection eligibility

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene testified she couldn’t recall a lot of things at her hearing Friday in state court. She is fending off a challenge filed by voters who say she should be kicked off the May 24 ballot because she helped stir up the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that disrupted certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene took the stand Friday in an at-times raucous court hearing that incorporated a history lesson on the Whiskey rebellion and a stirring speech from a president fighting off an extraterrestrial invasion.

Greene was in the hot seat because a group of voters say she should not be allowed to run for re-election because they say she helped plan the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. It was the first questioning under oath of a sitting lawmaker about events leading up to the attack on the Capitol intended to interrupt certification of the 2020 presidential election.

They are seeking to invoke a provision of the 14th Amendment adopted in the wake of the Civil War barring insurrectionists from running for office.

Greene vociferously denied any foreknowledge of the riot but answered many of the questions put to her about her meetings and social media posts around that time with “I don’t know” or “I do not recall.”

Attorneys representing the voters sought to characterize the Jan. 6 riot as akin to pre-Civil War uprisings including Shays’ Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion of the late 1800s.

“These insurrections were of a different character,” said attorney Ron Fein. “They were not quite as organized as the Civil War. The foot soldiers of those insurrections didn’t march in armies, they didn’t conquer vast swaths of territory, and they certainly didn’t wear uniforms. That is the kind of insurrection that occurred on Jan. 6.”

Judge Charles Beaudrot listens to arguments in the courtroom, Friday, April 22, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool)

The attorneys invited Indiana University professor Gerard Magliocca to testify as an expert witness about how the framers of the 14th Amendment would have conceptualized the idea of insurrection, but Judge Charles Beaudrot expressed skepticism in the relevance of the testimony.

“This is what I would expect to be reading during briefs,” he said. “This is not what I expect to hear testimony on. This is historical data that can be reviewed and commented on, proffered and so forth. I’m indulging you because (of) the importance of this hearing.”

The attorneys sought to use Greene’s past interviews and social media posts as ammunition against her, including a speech in which she suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could be executed for treason posted before Greene’s election.

Greene’s attorneys dismissed such statements as political hyperbole protected by the First Amendment and said they should not be considered as evidence in any case because they were made before she was sworn into office Jan. 3, 2021. The provision in the 14th Amendment Greene is being targeted with applies to people who have sworn an oath to defend the constitution before participating in an insurrection, which would mean prosecutors would have to show she participated in the insurrection between Jan. 3 and Jan. 6 of that year.

They pointed to a Jan. 5 interview in which Greene predicted a “1776 moment” the following day. Read more

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As Sen. Tillis reiterates opposition to Ketanji Brown Jackson, Booker quotes NC poet Maya Angelou (video)

North Carolina U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) said Monday while Ketanji Brown Jackson was the ‘realization of the American dream’ he would oppose her historic nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This is not about the content of her character. This has to do with future decisions where I believe, and I hope that I am proven wrong, that Justice Jackson may go in a direction that runs counter to much of what we have talked about today,” explained Tillis.

Tillis’ remarks came as the Judiciary Committee deadlocked on sending the nomination to the Senate floor.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said throughout the confirmation process he has heard from women, especially highly qualified Black women, who have had to deal with the same level of disrespect Judge Jackson has endured.

“How qualified do you have to be? Double Harvard. How qualified do you have to be? Clerking at all levels of the federal judiciary. How qualified do you have to be? Three times confirmed by the Senate in a bipartisan manner,” said Booker as he asked and answered his own questions, detailing her professional experience.

Booker blasted colleagues for their mischaracterization of Jackson’s record.

Booker ended his remarks by quoting from North Carolina poet Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Rise Sister Jackson! Rise Judge Jackson! All the way to the highest court in the land. And when we have that final vote, I will rejoice. Ancestors will rejoice,” Booker concluded.

Judge Jackson has won the support of three GOP senators and could win final confirmation later this week.

Watch the remarks below:

 

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Zelensky a ‘thug’? Ukrainian government ‘incredibly evil’? That’s not how NC’s two Republican senators see it

Rep. Madison Cawthorn

North Carolina Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn was back in the spotlight Thursday when a video surfaced in which he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and described the Ukrainian government as “incredibly evil” pushing “woke ideologies.”

Cawthorn’s assessment runs counter to that of North Carolina’s two Republican U.S Senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.

Burr, a member and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, praised Zelensky and his government yesterday during the committee’s annual, open Worldwide Threats Assessment.

“President Zelensky and likewise the Ukrainian people have reminded us that democracy does not come without a cost. It has to be protected,” said Burr. “This democracy, the independence of Ukraine demands that democracies around the world respond with everything needed to preserve Ukraine’s independence and democracies that are threatened.”

“Likewise leaders like Putin don’t want their people to have the freedoms that we cherish and we strive to protect, ” he continued.

Burr said these freedoms would not be possible without the men and women of the U.S. intelligence community.

“We are eternally grateful for all the work that they do.”

During the open part of the hearing, Burr questioned top intelligence officials on the administration’s justification for its decision to reject Poland’s offer to transfer MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, after publicly issuing a green light to the transfer.

“Analytic objectivity and for all of us here is an absolutely core ethic for the intelligence community,” responded Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. “I do not believe that there is any issue here with respect to political or policy pressure being put on the analysts. They were asked the question of whether or not providing these airplanes would be perceived by the Russians in an escalatory way, and they answered the question.”

Senators continued much of Thursday’s conversation with leaders of the intelligence community in closed session.

Burr was joined in his rejection of Cawthorn’s stance by fellow Senator Thom Tillis in a Thursday afternoon tweet:

Both Burr and Tillis were among a group of 42 Republican Senators to sign onto a letter urging President Biden to work with Poland and NATO allies to expedite the transfer of aircraft and air defense systems, as well as additional support capabilities, to Ukraine. Read the full letter here.

As for Rep. Cawthorn, he avoided media questions about his ‘thug’ remarks during a public appearance in western North Carolina on Thursday.

He has since tweeted that he is praying for Ukraine and that “Zelensky, should not push misinformation on America.”