Marjorie Taylor Greene 'dancing around the truth' regarding martial law text, lawyer says

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The Jan. 17, 2021, text message sent by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to Mark Meadows, former President Donald Trump's chief of staff, "undermined further her credibility as a witness," one of the lawyers seeking to bar her from running for reelection told Yahoo News on Friday.

John Bonifaz, a lawyer who is part of the team representing five Georgia voters in their effort to block Greene from seeking a second term in Congress by using a provision of the 14th Amendment, said the disclosure of the text message in an article by CNN contradicted the testimony Greene gave last week.

"It confirmed for us that it was critical to have asked those questions and that it undermined further her credibility as a witness," Bonifaz said.

During her testimony, Greene was asked: "Prior to the inauguration in 2021, did you advocate for martial law with the president of the United States?"

"I don't recall. I don't recall," Greene, who was under oath, responded.

Greene was also asked whether "prior to the inauguration of Joe Biden" she had "advocated for martial law to be imposed in a conversation with the chief of staff of then-President of the United States Mr. Trump?"

"I don't recall," Greene answered.

The text message first obtained by CNN showed that Greene had brought up the subject of martial law with Meadows.

"In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law [sic]. I don't know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him," Greene wrote in the text to Meadows published in the CNN article. "They stole the election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!"

The lawyers seeking to keep Greene off the ballot filed a motion Friday addressing the newly revealed text message.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene at a press conference at the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene at a press conference at the steps of the U.S. Capitol on April 28. (Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

"Greene’s testimony at the hearing that she could not remember discussing martial law with anyone was already dubious," the motion stated. "This text with President Trump's Chief of Staff makes her testimony even more incredible because it seems like the kind of message with the kind of recipient that a reasonable person testifying truthfully would remember."

Bonifaz told Yahoo News that it strained credulity to think that Greene might have forgotten the text to Meadows.

"I don't think it's believable that she would have had a communication with the president's chief of staff on something so extraordinary regarding imposing martial law to keep the president in power and she wouldn't remember it."

Greene's lawyer, James Bopp Jr., told Yahoo News that the wording of the text reported by CNN shows Greene was telling the truth in court.

"'Several are saying' are the exact words here," Bopp Jr. said, adding, "whether they are hers or not I do know. 'Several are saying.' So, she overheard a conversation, OK, and she's reporting that to Mark Meadows in the text. So she's not discussing it either with them — that is, these other members [of Congress] — nor is she discussing it with Mark. They're not like going back and forth or something. She's reporting that others have said this. And then she gives a very neutral, an actual disclaimer of sorts about it by saying 'I don't know on those things.'"

Bopp Jr. continued: "She's not embracing it [martial law] or advocating for it or doing anything."

On Thursday, Greene was confronted outside the Capitol by CNN host Jim Acosta, who asked her directly about the text message to Meadows.

While Greene repeated her assertion that she did not recall sending Meadows the text regarding martial law, she also corrected Acosta's representation of its contents.

"I think what's happening here is that Marjorie Taylor Greene is dancing around the truth because she was asked a series of questions in this matter," Bonifaz said. "She wasn't simply asked, 'Did you talk to Donald Trump or did you communicate with Donald Trump about imposing martial law?' She was asked, 'Did you communicate with his chief of staff about that?' Clearly she did, based on that text message."

"I don't think she can have it both ways," he added. "She can't on the one hand say, 'I know nothing about this text; I've never seen it, don't remember it,' and on the other hand so vigorously defend the contents of it."

But Bopp said that Greene was also being consistent in her responses to Acosta, noting that he sent his client the contents of her alleged text message on April 26.

"She said she still doesn't remember that she did this," Bopp said of Greene sending the text to Meadows, "but she's able to say what is claimed to be in it because she has actually seen it in the last couple of days."

While the judge in the case will make a ruling in the coming days, it will ultimately be up to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to decide whether to keep Greene's name off the ballot in the state. Given how rare it has been to use the 14th Amendment provision that bars those "who have engaged in insurrection or rebellion" from running for office, the odds seems stacked against the plaintiffs. But Bonifaz believes their legal team has done its job.

"We're confident in the evidence and we're confident in the law, but I'm not able to guess what Secretary Raffensberger will do or what this administrative law judge will do," he said.