Former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) asked former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen about a comment he made about the "real weaponization" that happened under the Justice Department when Attorney General Bill Barr was in charge.
Republicans have started their own House committee against the "weaponization of the federal government" alleging that under Joe Biden the Justice Department has gone after Republicans.
Cohen defended District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who had previously said that he wasn't open to prosecuting Trump for the crimes that were previously outlined by DA Cy Vance's time in office.
Former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal said that it was honorable for Cohen to give Bragg the benefit of the doubt, but that he feels like "no one here looks good."
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"There are three basic characters. One is this district attorney Bragg who looks really timid, and some of it is not entirely his fault," said Katyal. "Prosecutor after prosecutor has flinched and wilted in the face of Donald Trump's attacks on them. And they melt under pressure. So, Bragg has been inheriting some of that. So, some of that is not his fault. Michael is saying it would be unfair to judge him. He needed time to study it. It seems that Bragg did more than saying, 'I need some time.' It seemed like he mostly closed the investigation and signaled he wasn't going to indict. It feels like it was something more than just a bid for more time."
He explained that it was why Mark Pomerantz was so furious, quit his job with the DANY and brought top investigator Carey Dunn along with him in a very public attack on Bragg and his decision not to go after Trump.
It was when Jolly noted that Bragg is an elected official and he has to run for reelection. While that race isn't for some time, he will always be remembered for letting Trump off the hook. He asked Cohen about the allegations of weaponization of government and whether it was happening when he was working with Trump.
It's not "about while I was with Donald Trump," explained Cohen. "It was while I was out and when I was the subject of the weaponization, meaning Bill Barr, meaning Donald Trump, the Department of Justice, Southern District of New York and all the prosecutors including the judge."
What Cohen was referring to is that during his time in prison, he was told he could be released on house arrest due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was then told that the only way he could be released is if he signed a nondisclosure agreement committing not to talk about Trump, speak to cable news or write a book about Trump. Cohen refused and he was sent back to prison. He sued claiming it was a violation of his First Amendment rights and he was being singled out by it.
“I have never heard of such a spectacularly overbroad restriction on speech as a condition of probation or supervised release," said ACLU director of the National Prison Project David C. Fathi at the time.
He went on to agree to tell Jolly that what happened then was "actionable" and he wishes he could talk to the Biden DOJ about it.
"Not only that, I think it's extremely important for Democrats to be able to expose the signatures of the weaponization by the Trump administration because if we allow someone like Donald Trump to do what he did, now that they have the playbook, I talk about that in my book Revenge. If we allow them to get away with it, now that they have the playbook."
Cohen and others have requested the documents around that request by the Bureau of Prisons and the DOJ only to be stonewalled at every go. Two members of Congress, the former House Judiciary Chairman and multiple lawsuits have all asked for the documents about the DOJ's demand of Cohen's NDA. No one can get ahold of it.
Cohen thinks that's about to change, however.
Nicolle Wallace said that there's more than enough evidence already that the DOJ was weaponized under Barr in John Durham's probe with at least two people who complained of corruption.
"Why hasn't Bill Barr not been brought in to testify?" asked Cohen. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said that he intends to look into the weaponization of the Durham probe.
Katyal asked Cohen, "I'd love your view on what you think changed for District Attorney Bragg? He came into office and poured water on this investigation that you and so many other people brought receipts and made it pretty ironclad, at least to us lay people on the outside. So is Bragg just engaged in a PR offensive? Is this real? Is it just a reaction to Mark Pomeranz's book? What do you think is going on?"
Cohen thinks time was the greatest help to Bragg's resistance to the case.
Katyal said that if it was just "time" why Bragg began his term in office shutting it all down instead of telling people "I need more time to review this."
"I don't think he wanted to lose coming in as the very first case that he may be working on," Cohen said.
See the full discussions in the videos below or at this link.
Cohen Bragg part 1 www.youtube.com
Cohen Bragg 2 www.youtube.com