Rep. Byron Donalds Schools CNN’s Coates on Bragg’s Political Motivations

News & Politics

On Thursday, CNN’s Laura Coates defended Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the outcome of the Trump trial. In response to those opposing the verdict, Coates argued: “you can’t pick and choose whether the system is fair based on the particular outcome of somebody you’re aligned with.” Congressman Byron Donald reminded Coates that Bragg had campaigned primarily on “getting Trump.”

Coates claimed that Bragg had no political intentions in bringing the case against Trump. She noted that although Trump and Biden were political opponents, Bragg was “not under the purview of the Department of Justice.”

Donalds countered by pointing out why Bragg had run for District Attorney of Manhattan in the first place: “His entire campaign was focused on getting Donald Trump.” Donalds was correct; Bragg often had mentioned litigation against the former president during his campaign.

“That’s why he’s coming under scrutiny, because this is political, not actually about following the law” He continued.

Coates stated she had “concerns” that people would “lose faith in the entire system” if they believed that this jury trial was rigged. Rather than responding to Donalds’s valid critique of Bragg, she accused him of “undermining people’s confidence overall in our system,” for daring to raise objections about the trial.

But Donalds answered: “Now, I’m looking at this through the lens of an American citizen and a member of Congress who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. I’ve watched the Biden administration spy on the American people and suppress their First Amendment rights.”

He went on to give many examples of how the Biden administration appeared to have violated federal law.

Click “Expand” to view the transcripts:

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: REP. BYRON ON TRUMP TRIAL VERDICT: “TRAVESTY”]

LAURA COATES: I want to focus in particular on the point about who it is that was bringing in this case, and that’s Alvin Bragg. I’ve heard a number of your colleagues talk about this being the weaponization of the government and because Donald Trump is the political opponent of Biden. But Alvin Bragg is a state level prosecutor. He is not under the purview of the Department of Justice. Why do you assign that fault to him?

CONGRESSMAN BYRON DONALDS: Well, two things. Let’s go back. First of all, the judge did tell the jury that they can decide amongst multiple different federal crimes to adjudicate guilt on this misdemeanor that they elevated to a felony in state court. So, if you’re gonna do that, first of all, you have to bring expert testimony from somebody with the federal background on those charges. They did not allow that to be brought forward.

Now, specific to Alvin Bragg, the issue here is that he ran on the entire position of getting Donald Trump. That was one of the core pillars of his campaign to become the district attorney in Manhattan. And so now you have somebody who basically said, I’m going to go get somebody, regardless of what the charges might be, regardless of what you might think a potential crime might be. His entire campaign was focused on getting Donald Trump. That’s why he’s coming under scrutiny, because this is political, not actually about following the law.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: TRUMP CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISING OFF GUILTY VERDICT]

And I go back to not identifying a crime. The FEC looked at this. They said there’s nothing to see here. They are the arbiters of what is a campaign finance violation. So, for Alvin Bragg to go out there now and say, well, this is interfering with the 2016 election, he’s a state level prosecutor. It’s not even his jurisdiction. How can he make that claim when the FEC said there is nothing to see here and the U.S. attorney’s office said there’s nothing to see here?

COATES: Clearly, this will be an issue on appeal, as is the different theories that the jury was able to look at. The judge did hear the concerns from the Defense Council about allowing the jury to have that very notion, and he did offer to have the campaign expert actually testify.

But you’re right, it would not have been a substantive testimony. I wonder what the appellate court will ultimately see. But I have concerns, congressmen, more broadly about our system, not just of justice, but in terms of our democracy. When there is this perception or there is a narrative to suggest that our legal system or our courts or a jury trial is somehow so rigged and unfair, people ultimately lose faith in the entire system. And I’ve sat through enough trials and heard enough verdicts as has our nation to know that you can’t pick and choose whether the system is fair based on the particular outcome of somebody you’re aligned with.

Do you have concerns that by talking about this through the lens you are, that you are undermining people’s confidence overall in our system?

DONALDS: No, I don’t. I don’t have those concerns at all. I think that’s been undermined by Alvin Bragg, by Judge Merchan who, frankly, has been very clear about his support for Joe Biden. He should have recused himself based upon that if he was concerned about our institutions. He was not. Now, I’m looking at this through the lens of an American citizen and a member of Congress who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: DONALD TRUM GUILTY ON ALL 34 FELONY CHARGES]

I’ve watched the Biden administration spy on the American people and suppress their First Amendment rights. I’ve watched the Biden administration ignore Supreme Court ruling when it comes to student loan bailouts, which is unconstitutional, a violation of separation of powers. I’ve watched the Biden administration ignore people’s personal health and make them take vaccines against their own will because they wanted to eradicate COVID-19, another violation of federal law.

(…)

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