‘For every one Liz Cheney, there are at least five willing to say, ‘If you’re not willing to push the Big Lie, I volunteer’,’ senior Democrat says
California Democratic Representative Adam Schiff has said that his fellow House member Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, and her ilk aren’t playing politics but are instead “legitimately nuts”.
Mr Schiff spoke to The Daily Beast podcast The New Abnormal, saying that “we’re at a very tenuous point in the history of our democracy” and mentioned “singularly destructive voices like Tucker Carlson” as well as “people running around the country still pushing the Big Lie to strip independent elections officials of their duties and get them over to Trump acolytes who will overturn the next election if they lose it. It’s a pretty frightening moment”.
“Are they pretending to be crazy or are they genuinely crazy?” host Molly Jong-Fast asked Mr Schiff.
“I think the MTGs are legitimately nuts, but most of the Republican conference that’s pushing the Big Lie understands it’s a big lie. They’re not stupid. They know exactly what they’re doing. And then it is just craven capitulation to Donald Trump because they fear a primary, because they want to advance within the party,” Mr Schiff said.
“For every one Liz Cheney, there are at least five willing to say, ‘If you’re not willing to push the Big Lie, I volunteer. You know, nothing’s more important to me than my ambition. And if it means tearing down one of the pillars of our democracy … then sign me up.’ Sadly, that’s where most of the Republicans are right now,” he added.
Mr Schiff is a member of the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot on 6 January when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in an attempt to block the Congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory and overturn the results.
“A man runs for president on a platform of building a wall that he says Mexico’s going to pay for,” Mr Schiff said. “It’s an absurd idea, to begin with. He becomes president. Of course, he doesn’t build a wall because Mexico is not going to pay for him. And then his buddies, including Mr Bannon, raise money from his own supporters to purportedly build a wall, steal it. And then he pardons them for stealing from his own people. It’s the most consummate den of thieves and grifters imaginable.”
An indictment against Mr Bannon was dismissed earlier this year, despite objections from prosecutors who argued it should stand following the pardoning of Mr Bannon by Mr Trump as he was about to leave the White House.
Mr Bannon pleaded not guilty to the charge that he, along with three others, defrauded donors of $25m to build a border wall with Mexico.
The charge was dismissed in a ruling by US District Judge Analisa Torres, who wrote in May of this year that it was “proper course”.
She noted that it was not the practice of Manhattan’s federal courts to remove a defendant from the docket of a case without resolution to the indictment. She also said the pardon doesn’t make a defendant innocent.
“To the contrary, from the country’s earliest days, courts, including the Supreme Court, have acknowledged that even if there is no formal admission of guilt, the issuance of a pardon may ‘carr(y) an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it,’” she wrote at the time.
Mr Bannon’s lawyer Robert Costello told NBC News in an email in May: “We are delighted that the judge reached the right conclusion. Winning always beats the alternative. An unconditional pardon is final and it merits the finality of a dismissed indictment.”
The Independent has reached out to the office of Ms Greene for comment.