Live updates: Moulton, Ryan and Swalwell CNN town halls

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Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton said Sunday that the United States has a “problem with racism” that denied Democrat Stacey Abrams the Georgia governor’s race last year.

“If this country wasn’t racist, Stacey Abrams would be governor,” the 2020 Democratic presidential contender said in a CNN town hall in Atlanta. “Because people of color are being systemically denied the most basic right in a democracy, which is the right to vote.”

Moulton’s comment came after a question about combating systemic racism. He said the United States needs a “new Voting Rights Act” — a reference to Democratic objections to measures imposed by GOP-led states that have limited early voting, imposed strict voter ID laws and more.

Moulton also called for changes to the criminal justice system, including the legalization of marijuana.

“I smoked weed when I was younger. I didn’t get caught, but if I had, I would’ve been fine. Because I’m a white guy,” he said.

He contrasted himself to a man in Louisiana who Moulton said was sentenced to life in prison last year for selling $20 of marijuana.

“Let’s not ignore the fact that when the man in the Oval Office is a racist — and yes, I did just say that, I don’t think that’s inappropriate … it’s going to affect everyone in this country,” he said.

Moulton said if he is elected, he would ensure that there are “not two sets of laws — one for black, one for white; one for rich, one for poor — but that everyone in America is subject to the same laws. The President talks about law and order — that’s real law and order.”

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