Trump ally’s trainwreck TV interview
A Republican Congressman considered Donald Trump's "golden boy" has backflipped on claims of unconstitutional actions during the presidential election, conceding it "was not fraudulent".
The 25-year-old was among 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the electoral college votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania - a process interrupted when a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on January 6.
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Prior to the certification of the results, Mr Cawthorn had urged the conservative crowd at a Turning Point USA event on December 21 to "lightly threaten" politicians.
"Call your congressman and feel free, you can lightly threaten them and say, you know what, if you don't start supporting election integrity, I'm coming after you, Madison Cawthorn is coming after you, everybody's coming after you," he told the crowd, according to the Charlotte Observer.
At the Save America rally before the Capitol riot, he referred to Congress as "cowards".
"There is a new Republican Party on the rise that will represent this country, that will go and fight in Washington D.C." he said.
'YOU MUST HAVE SOME CONCRETE EVIDENCE'
Brown, in her first night as weekend anchor, asked Mr Cawthorn for specific examples of election fraud given his "bold" and "audacious" decision to decertify the 2020 results.
"You must have some concrete evidence," she said.
He replied: "The thing I was objecting for is things like in the state of Wisconsin, particularly in the town of Madison, there was an appointed official in that town who actually went against the will of the state legislature and created ballot drop boxes which is basically ballot harvesting."
Throughout his campaign, Mr Trump regularly latched on to ballot harvesting, a process of collection for mail-in votes as being "rampant with fraud".
Mr Cawthorn was reminded by Brown that Mr Trump's legal team had repeatedly reached dead ends with dozens of pre- and post-election lawsuits, proving such claims to be baseless.
"In Wisconsin, that (case) was never heard because they dismissed it because of standing. I don't believe that is a concrete enough of a way to dismiss it," he said.
"The actions of January 6 do not change what happened in the November election and I believe what happened in Wisconsin was unconstitutional."
Standing is the right or capacity of a party to bring a lawsuit in court.
'THE ELECTION WAS NOT FRAUDULENT'
Mr Cawthorn did not provide any examples on CNN Newsroom regarding Arizona or Pennsylvania despite formally objecting to the votes in those states.
He disagreed with the host that his intent by contesting had been to "throw out millions of votes".
"My intent was to hold up the Constitution, and setting up ballot drop boxes - which is essentially ballot harvesting in Wisconsin - is unconstitutional because the state legislature said they didn't want that," Mr Cawthorn said.
He also said he believed the election in his home state of North Carolina was "very safe and very secure".
He credited Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and the "second to none" election board for their actions after a midterm election fraud scandal in 2018.
Mr Cawthorn was among 17 new House Republicans who signed a letter to President Joe Biden last week committing to leaders "from both sides of the aisle" working together.
"We hope that we can rise above the partisan fray to negotiate meaningful change for Americans across the nation and maintain the United States' standing as the best country in the world," it reads.
Brown on Saturday night asked: "Can you now say that the election was not stolen? That it was not a fraudulent election?"
"Yes, I think I would say that the election was not fraudulent," Mr Cawthorn replied.
"The Constitution allowed for us to be able to push back as much as we could and I did that to the amount of constitutional limits that I had at my disposal. So now I would say that Joseph R. Biden is our President."
The host asked: "And you have no regrets?"
"No, I do not have any regrets," he said.
Brown received praise on social media for her unrelenting questioning of Mr Cawthorn's election fraud claims.
Vox journalist Aaron Rupar said: "He had nothing."
Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, who cornered Donald Trump on the coronavirus crisis, described Brown's interviewing as "outstanding".
Brian Caskey, Mayor Pro Tem in Mills River, North Carolina, said the Republican Congressman was "probably still trying to figure out what hit him".
CNN's Pamela Brown challenged Madison Cawthorn to cite evidence of election fraud to back up his vote against certifying the election results. He had nothing. pic.twitter.com/irBADDOciU— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 24, 2021
My goodness, Pamela Brown calmly and thoroughly filleted Madison Cawthorn on national television over his attempt to overturn the Electoral College results.— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) January 24, 2021
Pamela Brown just *worked* Madison Cawthorn *over* in an interview on CNN. Captain Homeschool is probably still trying to figure out what hit him. @PamelaBrownCNN @CawthornforNC Maybe next time she should ask about the offensive merchandise that he sells on his campaign website.— Brian Caskey (@BrianCaskeyNC) January 23, 2021
Originally published as Trump ally's trainwreck TV interview