Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene recently insisted that she couldn’t remember if she’d encouraged then-President Donald Trump to declare martial law to try to stay in power.
Maybe it’s a question of (mis-)spelling.
Greene texted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 17, 2021, to say other GOP lawmakers were pushing for “Marshall law,” while begging Trump to do everything he could to keep President-elect Joe Biden from the White House.
“In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall (sic) law. I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him,” Greene texted Meadows just three days before Biden’s inauguration—and 11 days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“They stole this 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!” she continued.
The text message was one of more than 2,300 that Meadows sent and received between the November 2020 election and Biden’s inauguration that he shared with the House Jan. 6 Select Committee and were obtained by CNN.
Greene isn’t definitively arguing for or against Trump attempting to seize power by putting the military in charge instead of civilian authorities—an effort that would have amounted to a coup d’etat. And she didn’t specify which other GOP lawmakers were calling for a coup.
But it is notable that she refused to own up to this exchange just days ago during sworn testimony in a lawsuit that says her alleged involvement in the planning for the Jan. 6 pro-Trump rallies that devolved into a riot should bar her from running for reelection.
Greene testified last Friday while under oath that she couldn’t remember if she’d urged Trump to impose martial law as a way to remain in power, one of many times she claimed her memory was foggy.
“I don’t recall,” Greene (R-Ga.) said when asked if she’d brought up the topic while on the stand last Friday in a trial that’s seeking to disqualify her from being allowed to run for reelection.
“So you’re not denying you did it?” the opposing attorney asked. “You just don’t remember?”
“I don’t remember,” Greene replied.
These newly released messages shed new light on efforts by Republican lawmakers to keep Trump in office following the election. And it shows how fast they moved to jump onto questionably legal causes.
That includes House Freedom Caucus Chairman and Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, who suggested just days after the election that Republican state legislators should toss out Biden’s wins in key swing states and instead try to give Trump their electoral college votes.
That scheme, later pushed by Utah Sen. Mike Lee, could have triggered an actual constitutional crisis that would have made the Jan. 6 riots pale by comparison.
“I’m sure you have heard of this proposal. It is to encourage the state legislatures to appoint a look doors in the various states where there’s been shenanigans. If I understand right most of those states have Republican Legislature’s. It seems to be comport with glorified Bush as well as the Constitution,” Biggs texted Meadows, a former Freedom Caucus chairman, on Nov. 6. “And, well highly controversial, it can’t be much more controversial than the lunacy that were sitting out there now. And It would be pretty difficult because he would take governors and legislators with collective will and backbone to do that. Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?”
“I love it,” Meadows replied.
The “Marshall law” message wasn’t the only one Greene sent to Meadows.
During the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, as pro-Trump agitators overran the Capitol building and attacked police, Greene was one of several GOP lawmakers to beg Meadows to calm things down.
“Mark I was just told there is an active shooter on the first floor of the Capitol Please tell the President to calm people This isn’t the way to solve anything,” she texted Meadows at 2:28 p.m.
But not long after that she was already snapping back into conspiracy theory mode, claiming that it was a left-wing false flag operation.
“Mark we don’t think these attackers are our people. We think they are Antifa. Dressed like Trump supporters,” she texted him at 3:52 p.m.
At 3:45 p.m., Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller texted Meadows and Trump aide Dan Scavino suggesting that Trump himself push the lie that it wasn’t his people.
“Call me crazy, but ideas for two tweets from POTUS: 1) Bad apples, likely ANTIFA or other crazed leftists, infiltrated today s peaceful protest over the fraudulent vote count. Violence is never acceptable! MAGA supporters embrace our police and the rule of law and should leave the Capitol now! 2) The fake news media who encouraged this summer s violent and radical riots are now trying to blame peaceful and innocent MAGA supporters for violent actions. This isn’t who we are! Our people should head home and let the criminals suffer the consequences!” Miller texted.
That’s become a central false claim in the right-wing fever swamps, pushed by Greene—and by Trump.
Meadows changed his mind and stopped cooperating with the Jan. 6 Committee after sharing many, but not all, of his text messages with them. If these are the ones he was happy to share, one wonders what he might have withheld.