Paul Manafort sentenced to 47 months in Prison. TRANSCRIPT: 3/7/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: The story not over. But by the standard of what
he was looking for and his team was looking for, quite a lenient sentence
for Paul Manafort coming out of Virginia tonight.
Thanks to my entire panel for our special coverage. This has been THE BEAT
with Ari Melber. Don`t go anywhere. MSNBC breaking coverage continues
right now with “HARDBALL.`
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Four years. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
We have breaking news tonight. Just moments ago a federal judge in
Virginia sentenced Paul Manafort to four years, 47 months all together.
That sentence that was just handed down was just moments in the eastern
district of Virginia just across the river from here where Manafort was
convicted of eight felony counts last summer.
Speaking in his own defence during this hearing today, Manafort addressed
the court quote “to say I have been humiliated and shamed would be a gross
understatement. I ask for your compassion,” well, he got it.
But it could be worst for him next week for his campaign manager - for
Trump`s campaign manager for 2016 because another judge is coming next
week. Today`s sentencing is just one of two cases against Manafort. He
will be instanced on two additional charges of conspiracy here in
Washington D.C. next Wednesday. That means that Manafort still face a
possible consecutive sentences up to ten more years on top of what he got
today. This marks a stunning fall from Grace, of course, for the
President`s 2016 campaign chairman who played a crucial role in winning
Trump the White House in 2016.
I`m joined by Glenn Kirschner and Paul Butler, both are former federal
prosecutors, Betsy Woodruff, a politics reporter with “the Daily Beast.”
But let`s see with NBC`s Ken Dilanian who is outside of the Virginia
courthouse where Paul Manafort was just sentenced.
Ken, I have to believe that this judge doesn`t much like the prosecutor,
Robert Mueller. He faced that this guy is squeezed, Manafort. He is being
charged and sentenced for something that wasn`t really about bank fraud.
It`s about his association with Donald Trump. That`s my thinking from the
outside. What do you think? What do you know?
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: I
completely agree with you, Chris. And I think that`s 100 percent clear.
It was clear before Manafort`s trial when judge Ellis basically said as
much in comments in pretrial hearings and the only reason he thought Paul
Manafort was in the court room is because he went to work for Donald Trump.
And he said to the prosecutions and Mueller`s team, you don`t care about
the bank fraud and tax fraud. You only care about whether you can squeeze
him to get the President.
Nevertheless, this result, a four year sentence, is a shocker because it is
so much lower than guidelines of 19 1/2 to 24 years. I mean, there were
predictions of potentially 12 years, eight years. I didn`t hear a single
prediction of four year in this case because, you know, not only was he
convicted of eight felonies here in this courthouse behind me, Chris, but
then he went on to commit other crimes after he was convicted. He reached
a plea deal with the special counsel and then lied and broke the plea deal.
And essentially what Judge Ellis just said is that conduct doesn`t amount
much to him. He is going to treat Manafort like any other white collar
offender and give what many people would perceive s a relatively light
Particularly Chris, because in the statement that Manafort made to this
court, truly before being sentenced, he did not apologize. He did not
express remorse. He essentially talked about how painful this had been for
his family and that he had been humiliated, that he had been in solitary
confinement but not one word about by his conduct and by his crimes.
It was so surprising that some people looked at him and said, well, this is
a man who expects to get a pardon or he is crippled by self-destructive
arrogance. But that`s what happened. Ellis did mention that he was
surprised that Manafort didn`t express regret but he didn`t reflect that in
the sentencing, whatsoever, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Ken Dilanian, we will be back to you later in this big hour
Anyway, the judge at Manafort sentencing right now said he disagree with
the 19 to 24 year guidelines the prosecutors wanted for Manafort, saying
these guidelines are quite high. I think this sentencing range is
excessive. That`s the judge talking today.
The judge also said at Manafort he has been a good friend to others, a
generous person. He has lived an otherwise blameless life. All in the
record today in giving him a lighter sentence.
I want to go to Glenn Kirschner right now. Shocking news.
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Shocking. And I tell you, as a
former prosecutor, I`m embarrassed. As an American, I`m upset. Because,
you know, what did we hear Paul Manafort say after he landed the position
as Trump`s campaign chairman? How do I use this to get hole with the
Russians? And then Judge Ellis will basically throw that out the window in
favour of giving him a sentence so far below the guidelines that it is an
And you know, just as proud as I was to be in the courtroom when Judge
Emmitt Sullivan called out Mike Flynn for being a traitor to the country
and for disrespecting everything the flag stands for, I`m just as
disappoint would judge Ellis who apparently knows better than the
guidelines sentencing commission who said for these crimes this man
deserves 19 to 24 and he said 47 months. It`s an outrage and it is
disrespectful of the American people.
MATTHEWS: So Paul, is it knocking off a convenience store? This looks
pretty light, it seems to me to for the majesty of what we`re talking about
PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: To be a rich white man in America, you
get a whole different kind of justice.
MATTHEWS: You think judge was (INAUDIBLE) because they thought he was a
regular or middle class, wealthy middle class guy.
BUTLER: Again, he got to keep two homes worth $4 million. He was found
guilty of $30 million he basically stole from the American people, what he
didn`t report bank fraud, tax fraud. A jury convicted him of eight counts
and then he admitted those counts of the jury didn`t convicted him of, I`m
actually guilty of those other counts as well. And then, sensing, he
presents himself as the victim. If his name was (INAUDIBLE) or Pedro, he
would be going up the river.
MATTHEWS: Well, a lot of people look at this maybe not on those terms
although we have a problem with equity in America. But this thing about a
guy who stonewalls the case, who doesn`t give any help. According to what
I read today in the sentencing, he gave no help to the prosecution. All
that 50 hours they sat in those rooms, nothing came out of it. All he fed
them was stuff he knew that Mueller already knew. He was playing the game
and he got - you think he would be punished by some way, he can still get
pardoned for his four years.
BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: There`s no way to
interpret this sentence in any other way than Judge Ellis delivering a
stunning criticism of the Mueller investigation. This is a federal judge
saying that Mueller and his team have been essentially misleading them,
mischaracterizing Manafort and running a prosecution that this judge
through this incredibly comparatively light sentence as you put that so
clearly that this judge is repudiating. That`s what this is.
MATTHEWS: What his –? What he has got to be he has spotted about
Mueller? Is that he really thinks it`s a miscarriage or he just doesn`t
like the Democrats climbing on or rolling up the square? What (INAUDIBLE)?
BUTLER: The concern he has expressed is that this case has nothing to do
with collusion or obstruction of justice which is Mueller`s mandate. But
when the - Mueller is investigating and he finds evidence that Paul
Manafort is a stone cold thug, what he supposed to do? Is he supposed to
ignore that? So he did what he should do, what other prosecutors would do
which is present the evidence to a jury.
MATTHEWS: Let`s not forget the language of the mandate says also beyond
the collusion any matters of crime that came up in the investigation to
BUTLER: Exactly. So Judge Amy Berman Jackson our nation turns its lonely
eyes to you. Next week in that sentencing, you have the power to correct
this tragic injustice.
MATTHEWS: Channelling Paul Simon. Thank you.
Let`s go to Ari Melber who has being held over here for this because of
this big news tonight.
You and I have been watching this case. We thought it was developing into
a story of massive sentencing. He was going to get a big sentencing
tonight of maybe 15 years, 18 years and on top of that, perhaps a
consecutive sentencing by the judge next week here in D.C. Now he starts
with four. Does that mean he ends up at 10, do you think like Glenn
suggesting or does it mean we are going to get more compassion next week?
MELBER: He could definitely get more years. You guys are ripping on Paul
Simon. I think the question about judge Ellis tonight is he a one-trick
pony who is constantly giving the prosecutors a hard time and there can be
prosecutorial overreach, Chris.
But look. If Americans have been going to law school throughout the
Mueller probe and learning all of these different things as we go, tonight
is one of those night where as your panel just hammered, we all remember
what we learn about our legal system in America. It does not operate with
equal force for anyone. And Paul Manafort got the special clubby (ph)
Washington elite, friendly treatment for individual who had stacks and
stacks and stacks of crimes. And the only reason he was convicted of
crimes in multiple places is because our system found him guilty of
felonies in multiple places.
MATTHEWS: My father worked for the court system in up here. He was the
dean of the court reporters for 37 years. And he always said to me if you
are guilty, get a jury because you can never forget a jury. He said get a
judge if you are innocent because might be able to get off on that because
the judge will look at the facts and there will be no emotion. But looks
like this guys has emotions.
KIRSCHNER: Yes, this guy had emotion and for all the wrong reasons. And I
agree with Paul. If this defendant was a young minority who robbed
somebody or burglar the house he would probably go away –.
MATTHEWS: What do they mean by otherwise blameless life? He has been a
lobbyist for the pro Russian people trying to kill the Ukrainian republic.
That`s what he`s been doing.
KIRSCHNER: And Chris, was he blameless when he caught his first felony
charged and then what did he do? He started tampering with witnesses.
That`s what got him step back by judge Amy Berman Jackson. Thank goodness
Judge Jackson, sitting in the federal court in Washington D.C. can now
clean this up unjust mess that Judge Ellis made.
MELBER: And Chris, I can imagine, people who are watching are wondering,
what are the point of guidelines if you get 19 to 24 and you come in at
around four years, what is the point of the guidelines, right? And this is
the larger debate. But the problem is yes, you could find an exemption
that someone who is really, really sorry and a first time offender and did
all the right things might be a candidate. But why would Paul Manafort
given everything that everyone knows and everything that has been displayed
and everything that he did post-conviction to continue to try to lie to
Mueller and upset the system and obstruct justice, why would he be a
candidate for this? It something is off here.
MATTHEWS: I will start with you because you can do politics and
everything, all right.
Let me ask you this. Trump is watching this in real time. He is having
dinner tonight. He is watching on TV, he watching on FOX. And he is
learning that his guy he though was going to face real bad time, maybe 15
to 18, whatever you said, more next week, he seems getting, you know, a
much better deal. You know, he is older man but still it is a pretty good
deal knowing that you are going to be out in four, at least as of this
week. Is he going to get a pardon now to wipe away the four years? Is he
more less likely to pardon him now?
MELBER: I don`t know if he`s more likely. I know that there were reports
that Rudy Giuliani is that White House now. There`s a lot of pardon talk.
I do think that as a public matter, the shorter the sentence, the more that
people will have the association or the idea that perhaps it wasn`t that
serious. Although, we have documented exactly how serious it was.
If he gets the maximum, Paul Manafort, next week in Washington full ten
years, that would put him at about 14 years and he would still be under the
guidelines for what normal people who are not viewed as friendly by a judge
would get tonight in Virginia.
But I think Chris, your are putting your heart on the matter where this
heads, which is, is this the kind of sentence, depending on what happens
next week that gives Manafort and other people who are on the wrong side of
Mueller, the idea, that even before they get to Trump they may have
sentences they can beat, sentences they can lived through get out in good
behavior and sill be alive at the end of it. So I do think this has real
precaution potentially for where this all heads.
MATTHEWS: You know, I have been watching this. So everybody who watch
this probably this trial, Paul. And the way these guys commute the
sentencing, I mean, Bill Cosby. He comes at his point, lowest point, I
don`t know. Then Manafort comes in with his wheelchair. Michael Cohen
brings his daughter in. Everybody is - I mean, the performance. The
clothing choices today by Manafort, the wheelchair, the jump suit or
whatever it was. Some white shirt underneath it. What is this? Is this
gamesmanship or what?
BUTLER: You can`t argue with success. It worked for Paul Manafort. He
got slap on the wrist.
BUTLER: In part, you know, we can think about collusion. One of the
things we know Paul Manafort is that when he was he campaign chair, he
handed private polling data to a Russian operative. And he –.
MATTHEWS: To help the Russians collude. To help the Russian interrupt our
BUTLER: Yes. And the judge in D.C. found out that he lied about that even
after he was convicted. This is a thug and he needs be put under the jail
and this judge did exactly the opposite.
MATTHEWS: Let me talk to you about the whole political things. The
headlines tomorrow in the paper. I still think of the paper the next day
what it`s going to be. Light sentence for Manafort, right?
WOODRUFF: No question.
MATTHEWS: The president says - with his crowd of 47 percent in this
country believed in him say, hey, must have been pretty innocent. Ten
percent of tea pipe, right? This is no big deal. Four years he knocked
off a candy store. What are we talking about here?
MATTHEWS: That`s the way he is going to ring out in the country.
WOODRUFF: The criticism of Mueller based on what this judge has ruled,
those criticism is right themselves. That said one thing I can tell you if
we have numerous conversations with people close to Manafort over the last
couple of days leading up to this is that one thing they are quite
concerned about is first off what judge Jackson is going to say. There is
still a high level of tension even after those sentences has come down.
That Manafort will end up spending the bulk of his life in prison.
And then in addition to that, they are very much wonders when it comes to
what state attorney general can do. We know that attorney generals in
several different states have potentially eyed against Manafort if he were
pardoned, illegally, that puts him in some kind –.
MATTHEWS: There`s a double jeopardy.
MATTHEWS: Let me go in to this whole question next week. The judge next
week can compensate for the leniency to put it lightly. Explain.
KIRSCHNER: Yes. And she will.
MATTHEWS: Consecutive sentences.
KIRSCHNER: And she will give him a consecutive sentence and he will punish
him appropriately for what he did. The crimes that he was convicted of,
the crimes that he admitted to and the witness tampering which strikes at
the very heart of the integrity of our criminal justice system. How Judge
Ellis said he has lived a blameless life when he tried to tamper with
witnesses and get them to lie even after he was charged with felony
offenses, I just I find that incomprehensible.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to Malcolm Nance, one of our great colleagues here who
wrote “the Plot to Destroy Democracy” is that grieve is what you heard
right now in the judge`s sentencing, this leniency?
Look. He has given about one in five years that the guidelines provide,
one in five. That is a deal for not talking, for stonewalling, for
tampering for witnesses, his reward is a real break. That is his reward
for going on the wrong stuff.
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM EXPERT (on the phone): Reward is an
excellent way of putting this because as you know the parameters of his
conviction are all of the activities that he did leading up to where he
became the campaign manager for Donald Trump. And this is working for
foreign dictators. This is working for the Kremlin government and Ukraine.
And for him to have stolen money from the people of the United States and
now gets to walk away, as Paul Butler said earlier, with two houses worth
millions of dollars and to walk away from this and put him in the ball park
of a pardon shows that this is a breach of justice.
Now the judge is about the exact same age as Paul Manafort. And maybe he
felt that sympathy. But this man does not have a blameless life. And
right now, this place is in jeopardy. People has trust in the system.
MATTHEWS: Great. Well, let me get back to the question here.
I can start with you on this, Malcolm. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
This judge doesn`t like Robert Mueller, doesn`t like the prosecution.
Doesn`t matter - used the way they have got that evidence so far and all
these prosecutions, all of these convictions so far. They had played
HARDBALL, this prosecutor. He has been hired to do the job, get the bad
guys, including crimes which have been unearthed as part of the
investigation, going after Manafort for that reason.
Why is he so sympathetic on Manafort? Is it his way of saying screw you to
Robert Mueller? Enemy of my enemy is my friend?
NANCE: I think it`s less - more of a screw you to Robert Mueller than
essentially that he feels the American system of government has a separate
rail and that this rail should apply to people like Paul Manafort. He
transmitted that punch by his blameless lies statement.
I`m not so sure if it`s all about Robert Mueller or the prosecution itself.
Because we really haven`t seen Mueller`s punch related to conspiracy and
other charges that could have been added on to this. This is about his
money laundering. And to certain extent that money laundering and this
theft of money from the people of the United States really don`t seem to
matter to the judge. And he is obligated the system that we came to trust.
MATTHEWS: Well, last month, the federal judge overseeing Manafort`s case
in Washington one coming up next week ruled that Manafort lied to
prosecutors about his communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business
associate with ties to Russian intelligence specifically Manafort liked
about sharing internal campaign polling data with Kilimnik. And discussing
a so-called peace plan for Ukraine that would benefit Russia. In other
words, to screws the Ukraine.
Among their contacts, there was a meeting at the grand Havana room, the
cigar lounge up in New York. I think it is in 6th Avenue on August of
2016. A meeting that included Rick Gates who is cooperating with
As Mueller`s prosecutor told the court that meeting and what happened on
that meeting was of significance to the special counsel of ruling that
Manafort lied about those context last month, the judge in that ruling and
the judge questioned his loyalty to the United States saying this is a
problematic attempt to shield his Russian conspirator from liability and it
gives rise to legitimate questions about where his loyalties lie.
Let`s bring in David Corn, the Washington bureau to “Mother Jones” and an
expert on this whole Russian thing, the whole escapade.
The facts they had that meeting. I think I went there one night with
somebody, someone who is at NBC. And I got to tell you something. It`s an
interesting setting. It is all sort of very comfortable chair. Mostly men
I think sitting there, smoking expensive stogie. They chose that setting,
to me, because they figured would be protected from public observation and
now to say nothing happened there. Tell me what it was about, David? Tell
me (INAUDIBLE) of that meeting that Manafort has never come clean on?
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Yes. And this is not
part of what Manafort was charged with. But it has come out in the
prosecution of this case. And as direct example of collusion as you would
Paul Manafort at the behest of a Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska who
is close to Putin`s regime was leading with Konstantin Kilimnik who is
alleged by FBI to have Russian intelligence contacts, and what are they
discussing? They are discussing a so-called peace plan for Ukraine, which
is really a pro-Putin, pro-Moscow peace plan that could lead to the lifting
of sanctions on Russia imposed by the U.S. and the European Union.
So, think about this. While Manafort is running the campaign for Donald
Trump, and – this is important – while Russia is attacking the election
to help Donald Trump, he`s sitting down with a Russian intermediary and
talking about a plan that could help Russia get rid of the sanctions.
If they`re not stating this out quid pro quo directly, it sure raises the
possibility that that`s what they`re all thinking about. And it`s a pity
that, in the Mueller filings, that we don`t have more details on this.
And I`m sure hoping that, if Mueller doesn`t get to the bottom of this with
any report, that Adam Schiff and others in Congress will tell us what went
on there and whether there was this grand deal between the Trump campaign,
or at least its manager, and people acting on behalf of the Kremlin.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back – thank you so much, David Corn.
Let me get back to Ari, my colleague.
Ari, it seems to me that all this does end up connected. We`re talking
about a judge giving a guy a light sentence and saying he has had an
otherwise shameless life, when, in fact, we know what his life was about
was selling U.S. influence, working on behalf of the bad guys in Russia,
the oligarchs, including Putin, against the – in this case the legitimate
Republic of Ukraine, which has tried to be independent, and Putin wants
back in the Soviet empire.
That`s how big this story is. He wants to rebuild the Soviet empire that
he misses dearly. And part of getting it back is hiring, well, people that
work for money, like this guy, and they – Manafort, Paul Manafort. He`s a
mercenary. They hire an American mercenary to use his influence in the
Congress and in the United States government to rebuild the Soviet empire.
I mean, this is something that`s damn serious. And it`s not just about a
judge having warm feelings about somebody his age.
MELBER: It`s as serious as a heart attack. And these are convicted
This is not one of those stories at the beginning where we talk about the
presumption of innocence on both sides. We`re at the end, convicted of, as
you just described, something with serious national security implications,
which is why this kind of trading is illegal, why you have to declare when
you are doing foreign lobbying, because we have laws that say, we don`t
want people running a campaign for president while working for foreigners
without everyone knowing about it.
There are good reasons for this, as you say, Chris. And so I think it`s
quite, quite serious to see that all laid out in open court, and then have
this sort of mind-set, whether you want to call it a certain elite Beltway
mind-set, or what some political folks call the swamp, the mind-set that
this should be dismissed, that this was OK, that this was business as
usual, that this was – quote, unquote – “blameless.”
It`s not blameless. That`s why there`s so many felonies. And if Paul
Manafort was, as he claimed before the court today, under penalty of
perjury, if he is so humiliated, as he said, when was he humiliated, Chris?
Was he humiliated when he first got caught and he kept fighting it? Was
humiliated when he lied to the prosecutors on the Mueller team and said he
would help them, and then lied to their face and committed new felonies,
which have been proven in court? Was he humiliated when he kept back-
channel conversations going, allegedly, with Donald Trump`s White House
team for whatever reason, trying to feed misinformation to the Mueller
probe on a matter of legal and national security?
When exactly did he have his change of heart? Judge Ellis spoke from the
bench tonight and said: I was surprised you didn`t express repentance.
But you get four years out of 20 anyway.
I mean, I think there`s a lot of surprises here. And the judge has this
power under our system. As we often say, if we don`t like certain
outcomes, you need to look back at the rules and why our system is so
tilted in ways that are racial…
MELBER: … in ways that are – have to do with class and money and race.
We know all that. We have covered all that.
But bottom line, to your point, Chris, these are serious crimes, and
they`re not getting a very serious punishment.
MATTHEWS: Excuse me, Ari.
Let`s listen to the lawyer for Manafort.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is absolutely no evidence that Paul Manafort was
involved with any collusion with any government official from Russia.
Thank you, everybody.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s all he had to say.
Go ahead, Ari.
MELBER: I think we were just listening, as you said, Chris, to Kevin
Downing, Paul Manafort`s longtime lawyer.
That message right there, that wasn`t for the judge. That certainly wasn`t
for next week, where he`s in trouble on other crimes. We just heard a
denial of something he`s not charged with, which goes back to your
organizing question earlier on the broadcast on HARDBALL, Chris.
Who`s the audience? Is this for a Trump pardon audience? Because they`re
out there denying collusion.
I will tell you this. And I`m not here to second-guess Mr. Downing. He
obviously got a good result today in court for his client. But I will tell
you this. They don`t need to deny collusion for next week`s hearing, which
is their only legal priority.
If they`re out on this front steps, as we just heard, denying collusion,
that`s for a different audience.
MATTHEWS: Well, look, he got four years for not telling the truth, four
years for basically stonewalling, four years for not apologizing. If he
had done any of that, he would have got a trip to Disneyland out of this
Anyway, thank you, Ari Melber.
MELBER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: You`re great on this stuff.
MELBER: Appreciate it, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I want to thank – bring in, by the way, Democratic Congressman
Mike Quigley of Illinois, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, you have been with us a lot of times on this conversation
about Russia, all the criminality involved that the special counsel is
looking at, the House Judiciary Committee is ultimately going to judge on
in terms of impeachment.
What happens when you see that the criminal courts give this guy this
break, one in five years?
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOIS: You know, my ears are still ringing with
the “lock her up, lock her up,” my Republican colleagues shouting in
Cleveland a little over two years ago. And now we`re at this point in
Look, the system is going to frustrate us. But we can`t give up. We
remember there`s still next week. And I do want to take the word collusion
out of our vocabulary for a while.
This isn`t collusion. This is a conspiracy. It was a conspiracy to attack
the democratic process of the United States. And those people closest to
the president of the United States were involved.
And, fundamental – I think it`s a point your guests were getting to – is,
it goes well beyond the criminal activities of those surrounding the
president. It goes to whether the president was involved in those criminal
activities and whether those activities influenced the policy of the United
States, between Flynn and the Saudis, Mr. Cohen and Trump Tower with the
Russians, and clearly now with Ukraine and Mr. Manafort.
Is the United States less safe because of this conspiracy?
MATTHEWS: You know, I look at this thing, it`s just like a criminal – or
a mystery story. But it`s not so mysterious, because, in Cleveland, which
you just mentioned, at the Republican National Convention, the – magically
– magically, the Republican platform that most people don`t pay much
attention to was rewritten by mysterious forces to advance the causes of
Vladimir Putin, against the legitimate government of Ukraine.
Why would something like that happen under the good offices of Paul
Manafort, who works for the pro-Russian forces against Ukraine`s forces? I
mean Ukraine`s interests. Doesn`t – don`t we get fingerprints? I mean,
it seems to me there`s – follow the signature.
Who changed that? And there was Manafort taking credit for all this. I`m
sure he took credit to his – to his clients. They know what he did. Are
we going to find out?
QUIGLEY: We are going to find that.
We have the gavels. And there`s nothing to block us from the truth. At
this point in time, it`s important that we reflect on just what you`re
talking about here.
The fact of the matter is, from day one, it was about this extraordinary
connection with Russia and Ukraine, an area that they were attempting and
have been attempting to dominate. And the fact the matter, it just – it
was changing the new world order in presidents` policies from – designed
after World War II.
The new world order is under attack by its – its primary architect. And
we have to address that.
Remember, Mr. Mueller and the Southern District of New York have different
responsibilities than the House Intel Committee and Judiciary and
Oversight. Mr. Mueller and others` job is to decide who to bring to
Our job is to find out who attacked the democratic process, who conspired
with them, and to educate and inform the American public.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about obstruction of justice right now today. It`s a
good time to do it, after this light sentencing of Paul Manafort, the
president`s campaign chair and his – and his convention chair. He ran the
convention for the president.
It seems to me that Donald Trump has made it clear from the beginning he
doesn`t want justice. He basically goes to the head of the FBI and says,
lay off my friend Michael Flynn because of these meetings he`s had with the
He had his picture taken over there with Putin. Lay off the guy. He`s a
good guy. Lay off of those meetings he had with Kislyak. Lay off him.
And when the – when the FBI director didn`t play ball with Trump, he fired
And then he goes and fires his attorney general because he dared to recuse
himself. Under Justice Department rules, he can`t be involved in
adjudicating a – or prosecuting a matter that he was personally involved
in, running Trump for president.
All along the line, he`s obstructed. What more do you guys need to
MATTHEWS: It seems to me we have got this broad daylight robbery of our
Constitution right in front of our faces and all the other stuff with
Russia, working for the other side. And they are the other side, the
All this stuff`s been going on in plain daylight. It`s all there. What
more do you guys want?
QUIGLEY: You forgot the dangling of pardons.
It was interesting to me when they were referencing whether or not someone
was seeking a pardon. I don`t think anyone needed to seek. I think the
president of the United States foretold, the pardons he gave the sheriff in
Arizona, in the same way he foretold and offered these promises of pardons
and dangling of pardons to people for some time now.
So, look, we take that very seriously. But if we had listened to those who
wanted to move forward with impeachment when they initially started, we
wouldn`t have had any of this information about Mr. Cohen, Mr. Manafort and
I do believe we are getting close to a point where we have enough
information. But, again, as a criminal defense attorney for 10 years, I
can`t say strongly enough, you don`t stop an investigation when you think
you have enough. You stop an investigation when you have found out exactly
what took place.
Just this last week, we learned a considerable amount from Mr. Cohen. And
I believe there will be key witnesses that follow that will give us an
extraordinary amount of information.
This isn`t just about deciding whether we have enough as well. It`s also
the court of public opinion, which I believe will drive our – any
opportunity we have toward this end in the United States Senate.
MATTHEWS: Well, nothing`s going to crack the Republican phalanx. Don`t
wait for that to happen, Congressman, because they`re at 88 percent, and
climbing. The more guilty Trump looks, the more they`re with him.
Anyway, thank you, U.S. Congressman Michael Quigley of Illinois.
QUIGLEY: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: By the way, last month, Robert Mueller`s prosecutors floated the
idea that Manafort lied because he hopes to be pardoned by the president.
Asked about that prospect last summer, Trump praised Manafort as a good
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Will you pardon Paul Manafort?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t talk about that. I
don`t talk about that.
I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad, when you look at what`s going
on there. I think it`s a very sad day for our country. He worked for me
for a very short period of time. But you know what? He happens to be a
very good person.
And I think it`s very sad what they have done to Paul Manafort. Thank you
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It wasn`t a short period of time. It was the entire time he was
running the campaign.
Anyway, Trump was more direct about a pardon late last year, telling “The
New York Post”: “I wouldn`t take it off the table. Why would I take it off
Anyway, Congressman Joaquin Castro, Democrat from Texas, joins us right now
on the phone. He`s on the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, you`re part of this whole effort to try to get to the justice
here. How did today help or hurt the cause of justice and truth?
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: Oh, well, I mean, I think it makes clear
that the president has been surrounding himself, and at the highest levels
of his organization and his campaign, with people who have lied, people
that have associated with Russian agents, folks that have engaged in
And I think this continues to be the tip of the iceberg. Even – I know
that Mike was just on. And he talked about the interview that we had with
Michael Cohen this week. And from what I heard, I believe that there will
still be more indictments to come.
I think that the information I heard leads me to believe that the president
– members of the president`s family could be in legal jeopardy. So, I
think that there`s still a good bit of investigation to do.
And I also think that we will probably see more prosecutions.
MATTHEWS: What do you think`s coming before we get a full report from
I mean, the defendant has had a good day today and in a Virginia court,
four years, instead of 18 or so, one in five years. But what do you make
of the fact we have been reading a lot about this, about Ivanka could be –
Ivanka could be in trouble, Jared more so, perhaps?
Are they facing prosecution?
CASTRO: I think so.
I think that there are folks that could be – could be prosecuted for lying
to Congress. There`s certainly testimony that I have heard now that
contradicts what was told to us by Donald Trump Jr., for example.
So, yes, I do think that there is – there is a legal jeopardy for some
members of President Trump`s family.
MATTHEWS: Is anything leaking out of the special counsel`s operation that
gives you more confidence that something like that is coming imminently,
prosecution of other individuals, including those in the president`s
CASTRO: That`s hard to say, Chris, because they have run a pretty tight
ship over there. And they have run an independent investigation, even from
the congressional investigations.
But, based on what I have heard, I think that – and I`m sure that the
special counsel knows everything that Congress knows at this point. I
think it would be hard for them, as prosecutors, to ignore what seems like
compelling evidence that some folks knew more than they admitted to when
they testified before Congress.
I was saying months ago that I thought eventually Roger Stone would be
indicted. And, I mean, that doesn`t seem like too big a surprise, but, for
a long time, it didn`t happen. And then, finally, it did happen.
And I think the same could be true about some members that are – that are
closer to President Trump.
MATTHEWS: Well, I think Roger Stone`s probably in the business of judge-
shopping right now, because, when you get deals like this today, you may
look for one of those for yourself.
He, by the way, is his old business partner of Manafort.
Congressman, thank you so much, Joaquin Castro of Texas, for coming on
CASTRO: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, sir.
Let me go – let me go to Glenn on this.
Let`s wrap this up. Where`s this heading now? We got the news. Headlines
tomorrow, this guy gets a soft treatment by the judge. Next week, he faces
another judge who has a different attitude.
KIRSCHNER: So, I`m a big believer in the judiciary, but what we just saw
was an unjust result.
However, Bob Mueller will get the last laugh. And here`s why. When David
Corn a few minutes ago talked about the Havana Room meeting…
MATTHEWS: The cigar bar.
KIRSCHNER: The cigar bar, where they`re meeting with Kilimnik, where
Manafort is giving over polling data, that is circumstantial evidence of a
conspiracy to defraud the United States, to undermine our free and fair
Everybody has confused Mueller`s silence on the conspiracy with a lack of
evidence on the conspiracy. He`s saving the best and the biggest and the
central charge for last.
And I agree with what`s been said. A conspiracy indictment is coming. And
don`t be surprised if we see Paul Manafort on the receiving end of the
unusual hat trick of federal cases, because he may get rolled into that.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Paul.
What would you need to prove this in court, that the president, as sort of
a RICO-type leader, a ringleader, he`s got people meeting with Russians,
and they`re talking about advancing the Russian cause in terms of Ukraine,
getting rid of sanctions, laying off them in terms of their territorial
ambitions, to put it lightly?
How much does he have to say, go do this, and how much does he just have to
say, just keep checking in with me on that stuff? What does he have to
know about it?
BUTLER: We know that Robert Mueller believes that Roger Stone communicated
information about the hacked e-mails to Donald Trump.
Now, I do think it`s not enough for Trump to just know about that. But if
he was involved in any way with how those e-mails were deployed, then he is
a co-conspirator with those Russians who stole it.
MATTHEWS: He`s advancing the conspiracy.
BUTLER: And, again, I think the next step will be Donald Trump Jr.
If there`s justice in America – again, Mueller has indicted Roger Stone
and Michael – Michael Cohen for lying to Congress. According to the
Democrats on the Hill, Donald Trump Jr. told those same lies.
What this verdict today means is that we`re not guaranteed equal justice
under the law in the United States.
BUTLER: If Mueller wants to prove that that`s not true, he needs to let
everybody know that Don Jr. isn`t getting a break because he`s the
If other people commit crimes, and Mueller indicts them, then he needs to
indict Don Jr.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Betsy on a political – larger question – I hate
to say larger than justice, but it`s politics – are the Democrats nervy
enough to go after the president`s kids?
Now, I even heard – heard that today they may be a little – a little
dodgy on this. Oh, my God if we go after the kid, he will explode. And on
the other hand, are some Democrats who are really political saying, we
don`t mind if he explodes, because these kids have done something wrong,
and we`re going after them? If he explodes, fine.
Which way are they?
WOODRUFF: The Democratic – the House Democratic Caucus is not a monolith.
There are some members who are very, very keen, especially to go after
Ivanka Trump, who wasn`t even listed on that 81-number list.
MATTHEWS: I think Elijah Cummings is looking at the family.
WOODRUFF: She`s very much someone who some members believe they aren`t
doing enough to scrutinize.
At the same time, a bunch of new Democrats in the House won in districts
that Republicans have traditionally held. They`re politically more
moderate. They`re worried about their reelections.
And if they – and if they believe that they can be accused of being part
of a family-focused witch-hunt, which is an allegation Republicans will
level, whether it`s valid or not – that`s something that`s coming.
WOODRUFF: They are weighing the political costs there.
So it`s certainly something that`s caused some tension and friction within
the Democratic Conference. How exactly do they handle this very
politically complex question of going after somebody`s kids?
I think the kids – I met them years ago, and they were very well-mannered
and well-brought-up and all. But they are so much a part of his operation
now. The nepotism doesn`t work.
WOODRUFF: Right. They aren`t just kids.
MATTHEWS: In most cases, it doesn`t work.
WOODRUFF: They aren`t just kids.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you so much, Betsy.
Anyway, thank you, Glenn Kirschner. Thank you for your passion about
justice here. And, Paul Butler, the same. You guys know your stuff. And
you also care. And that matters.
Betsy Woodruff, thank you so much for your reporting.
Ken Dilanian, my colleague, fabulous having you over there tonight for this
rock-`em, sock-`em bit of pathetic news.
Let`s bring in Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern
District of Michigan.
Barbara, you have been in there watching this thing. Tell me, were you
surprised by the appeal for compassion, the fact he wore the jumpsuit, he
comes in, in a wheelchair? I mean, this is sort of Edward Bennett Williams
sort of stuff. This is theater or the highest level here. Did it work?
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: It may have worked.
It seemed that Judge Ellis did take some time in considering what the
sentence ought to be, and imposed what I consider a really shockingly low
sentence of 47 months. I mean, it`s far lower than the 19 to 21 years that
he could have been facing.
Judge Ellis has a reputation for being somewhat lenient in white-collar
cases. And he sure proved that to be the case tonight.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you so much, Barbara McQuade, for that expertise we
We`re going to go right now to John Brennan, who joins us right now.
John Brennan, thank you…
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Good evening, Chris.
MATTHEWS: … the former director of intelligence, CIA.
What do you make this? Look, we got to, as we say in our business, segue
now. We have got to go – we can`t ignore what just happened tonight.
It`s not your bailiwick. It`s justice, though, and it`s America.
This justice apparently gave this guy a pretty good deal today.
BRENNAN: Yes, it`s an extraordinarily lenient sentence, in light of the
extent and scope of Mr. Manafort`s criminality.
It just shows that there`s a lot of power vested in the hands of judges. I
think this sentence says a lot more about Judge Ellis than it does about
MATTHEWS: What`s it say?
BRENNAN: It says that he has an attitude towards a person of Paul
Manafort`s ilk who has defrauded the government, as was demonstrated.
MATTHEWS: Does he know what a mercenary is, this judge? I mean, the guy
who`s basically take on a career to make a lot of money defending the bad
guys in Central Europe. You`re basically taking people who are – you`re
working for somebody who wants to crush the independence of Ukraine on
behalf of a tyrant, Putin.
BRENNAN: Well, that`s what the guidelines, you know, calling for many more
years. Guidelines are used for a reason. But obviously, Judge Ellis felt
that he could just decide unilaterally on this one.
MATTHEWS: He said he`s had an otherwise blameless life except for jury
BRENNAN: Well, that is just mind-boggling, you know, why he would say that
Paul Manafort has an otherwise blameless life. I mean, Paul Manafort has
demonstrated track record of criminal, unethical, unprincipled behavior.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about the way these things work together. The
way in which the Russian probe, which continues, as it well stated by
(INAUDIBLE), it`s really about a conspiracy that was advanced by Americans.
Begun by Russians, advanced by Americans, co-worked on this stuff.
BRENNAN: Yes, it was –
MATTHEWS: I mean, selling out your country
BRENNAN: Yes, a number of U.S. persons still work with the Russians in one
form or another, I think it`s been demonstrated now that there was this
active engagement. And I`m hoping and I believe that Bob Mueller and his
team were going to uncover a lot more that is unknown.
I think as got mentioned, there is a lot that special counsel`s office has
been involved –
MATTHEWS: What do you smell coming between now and the final report from
BRENNAN: I smell more indictments.
MATTHEWS: Family members?
BRENNAN: Well, I believe that if there are going to be family members
indicted by the special counsel, it would be the final raft of indictments,
because I think Bob Mueller and his team know that if they indict somebody
of the Trump family, that Donald Trump would not allow Bob Mueller to
So, I think on the conspiracy side –
MATTHEWS: You think he`d fire the guy?
BRENNAN: Oh, yes, absolutely. I think criminal conspiracy and family
MATTHEWS: This gets to the heart of the whole thing the connecting rods of
the whole thing. You`ve got presidential offspring and in-laws, basically
the son-in-law, who were refused FBI clearances. I mean, everybody gets in
the Peace Corps gets – maybe not for the highest level, a top security.
But what was it? People have speculated his relationship with the crown
prince in Saudi Arabia, too tight with Netanyahu, too tight with the
Emirates. Was it business dealings? The fact that the president`s own
daughter couldn`t get a top security.
What does that smell like to you? Why would that happen?
BRENNAN: I don`t and I think we have to be careful about speculating too
much here, because Ivanka –
MATTHEWS: Chief of staff to the president and his lawyer both went along
with the FBI said, don`t give these people clearances.
BRENNAN: Right, there was something clearly that could not be resolved by
the investigators. But yet, Donald Trump decided to overrule that
component, whether it was the FBI or somebody else, as well as his chief of
staff and the White House counsel, decide to overrule it for nepotism
purposes, to give those clearances. So, I think it again says a lot about
Donald Trump and how he just totally tramples the system and process and
whatever integrity the system has.
So, again, I don`t know what it is, that Jared Kushner or Ivanka had in
their past or their concerns about. Financial entanglements with foreign
entities is something the investigators will look very carefully at because
they don`t want individuals with this nation`s secrets to be in any
situation that could be compromised because of those relationships that
MATTHEWS: Do you see him – it`s always hard to make references in history
who Trump is. I mean, I think of him as someone who`s come in to our
system, trashed NATO, trashed our alliances, made friends – publicly
flirting with people like North Korea`s Kim Jong-un, publicly flirting to
his family with MLB, or whatever his name, over in Saudi Arabia, a killer
of an American journalist. Flaunt all of the rules of what we thought of
ourselves as a good guys of the world, and we hung around with other good
guys, and we fought bad guys, either through diplomacy or war, whatever it
took, or containment, we always knew what side we`re on.
It`s like Trump has jumped the balance, jumped the tracks and he`s just
joining the other side. What do you make of that?
BRENNAN: Well, I think he has no sense or knowledge of history, of the
Constitution, of law, of system of checks and balances, but more ominously,
he doesn`t care. He only cares about himself, and that`s why over the last
two-plus years, it`s been –
MATTHEWS: When did you come to that conclusion this is a show up, showing
BRENNAN: Pretty early on in this presidency. I was very skeptical that he
was going to be able to rise to the occasion. I thought he was going to
continue to carry out his duties and work the way he has many years which
is by skirting the law, by skirting ethics and principles and just pursuing
a very unilateral agenda.
And that`s why I think –
MATTHEWS: What happened to our belief, because you`re – we`re the same
age roughly. And I got to tell you, when you grow up with the idea that
the office would change a man – that maybe not in Nixon`s case because he
was a mixed bag and a bad guy in many ways, but actually a mixed bag, but
Harry Truman taught us, you know, a guy of limited ability, maybe has
patriotism will come in and do a good job and make the right decision.
That`s always been our sort of populist notion of democracy. You don`t
have to be a PhD in political science or whatever else, Ivy League or
anything because if you have the right instincts, you`ll make a great
MATTHEWS: It doesn`t work lat with him.
BRENNAN: Well, it shows if you`re a master charlatan, a snake oil
salesman, and that you can snooker so many people, you can get away with a
lot. And that has happened with Donald Trump. But the people I blame most
are those people who know better, our senators, congressmen of the
MATTHEWS: Mitch McConnell.
BRENNAN: Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, how they`ve sold out their
principles in this country, how they`ve held their nose over what Donald
Trump is doing. I think history is going to treat them very, very
accurately which is they really sold themselves because of Donald Trump.
MATTHEWS: Because it was George Marshall, Truman and Eisenhower, and all
those – Kennedy and all, they really did build this world order that made
sense and we won the Cold War because of it.
BRENNAN: Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and the icons of both parties
over so many years. Donald Trump is nothing like any of those people. He
is his own person. But, unfortunately, he has been able to get a lot of
people to just unfortunately kowtow to him.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about North Korea, could it have been worse? He
could have given away the 38th parallel? Just giving it away, we`re
pulling our troops out.
BRENNAN: Yes, some people claimed it`s a success because he walked away.
Well, no, he put this thing together and it is collapsing unfortunately,
and we see now that there`s additional work that is being done in North
So, I guess it could have been worse, but the fact he continues to suspend
the military exercises, the ones that the U.S. military relies on in order
to insure the interoperability and coordination between not just the United
States and South Korea but also our regional partners and allies. This is
really hurting our national security interest.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to it could have been worse, because I like –
there`s hope now. If he cut a deal with Kim Jong-un and said, OK, if you
get rid of all your weapons, you get rid of your production facilities,
fusion, everything else, you get rid of all of it, we`ll pull our troops
out of the 38th Parallel and leave the door open for invasion, that would
have been worse, wouldn`t it?
BRENNAN: Well, yes, and there are a lot of worse things. But I do think
what perturbed the North Koreans was the apparent misrepresentation of
Donald Trump of what the North Koreans were asking for. Donald Trump`s
claim that they wanted total sanction relief and the North Koreans came out
publicly and said no, we don`t want that.
I still think they were asking for too much, but you need to be able to see
some type of accommodation to move down the path of denuclearization. It`s
not going to happen overnight, but we need to continue to engage. So, I`m
hoping that the experts on our side are still working with –
MATTHEWS: They did finally get him to Vietnam, didn`t it? Just kidding.
Anyway, thank you, John Brennan. You`re an expert and a patriot.
Much more ahead in the breaking news tonight. The big news, President
Trump`s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort sentenced in months, just 47
months in prison. They thought he`d get 18 years for tax and bank fraud.
Much ahead. Stick with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back.
We`re continuing to follow the breaking news tonight out of Virginia, just
across the Virginia here, across the Potomac. President Trump`s former
campaign chair Paul Manafort was sentenced to nearly four years, 47 months,
for eight charges he was convicted of last summer. Well, after the
sentencing, Manafort`s lawyer Kevin Downing made some brief remarks. Let`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN DOWNING, PAUL MANAFORT`S LAWYER: As you heard in court today Mr.
Manafort finally got to speak for himself and made clear he accepts
responsibility for his conduct, and I think most importantly what you saw
today is the same thing that we had said from day one. There is absolutely
no evidence that Paul Manafort was involved in any collusion with any
government official from Russia. Thank you, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Any government official. Wasn`t that clever, David Corn?
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Barbara McQuade is also joining us. Malcolm Nance
joined me, MSNBC investigative reporter.
But you first, David, the place where it`s so obvious. Go ahead.
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: You caught it. He
didn`t collude with any Russian government official. And submitted by his
own attorneys and Robert Mueller`s team, we have this meeting in the cigar
bar that you and I have discussed, in which Paul Manafort appears to have
colluded with a former business partner, Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI
says was an associate of Russian intelligence and the meeting was happening
because of what a Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska was and a quid pro
quo between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
So, yes, nothing we`ve seen has him talking to a Russian government
official. But notice he didn`t say there was no colluding with any Russian
interests. He did not say that. Why? Because it`s probably not true.
MATTHEWS: And also, the issue in trade craft of this kind of dealings,
international under table dealings, you deal with cutouts. You know, Putin
doesn`t meet at the cigar bar. Doesn`t show up there on Sixth Avenue with
a big stogie and say, let`s deal. He sends people then he can deny later.
Let me go to Barbara McQuade on this.
You were there today at the hearing. Tell me about the feeling of the jump
suit and the wheelchair and call for compassion. There was all that
theatrics, well, schmaltz – does it have an impact on the judge?
BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR (via telephone): So, I wasn`t in
the courtroom, Chris. Bu I think judges can see beyond that. I think
judges sometimes fall for that sort of thing because they are not in
courtrooms frequently enough to know those kinds of things.
MCQUADE: But I don`t know that had an impact on the judge. It is a low
sentence and, you know, the sentencing guidelines are not something the
prosecutor made up out of whole cloth. The U.S. Sentencing Commissions
creates those numbers based on real data of real cases around the country.
The purpose is to have uniformity in sentencing around the country, so that
if you`re sentenced in Washington or Virginia or New York or Texas, you`re
likely to get the same sentence.
So when the judge says I think these guidelines are too high, he`s
substituting his judgment for the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The judge is
allowed to vary, but only he can articulate a reason why the guidelines
overstate the conduct in this particular case, and I didn`t hear him say
MATTHEWS: Tom, what are you – joining us right now– Tom, it seems to
this judge talk gives sentences like he`s a sequestered juror, like he
doesn`t know this whole matter we`re talking about. He doesn`t seem to
understand the business – the business that Manafort`s been in all of
these years. He`s workings as a mercenary for Putin`s people. He acts
like a blameless life, what`s he talking about?
TOM WINTER, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Chris, you raised the exact
point I was going to make, that this is not in a vacuum. The sentencing is
not in a vacuum and you really can`t consider some of the things that David
Corn and you have been speaking about, and others have been talking about
as it relates because it wasn`t charged in this case, his interactions with
Konstantin Kilimnik or anything involving Russia.
What he needs to consider and what he was told about because it was entered
into the docket, because we watch it every single day, was the lies he told
to special counsel as part of his cooperation. It was his behaviors, his
lies to the grand jury, what a judge is counterpart in Washington, D.C.
determined that he lied on three separate occasions to the special counsel
after he`s pleaded guilty, that he was involved with witness tampering
because he was notified of the charges that were brought in Washington,
So, the judge can`t look at this in a vacuum, and just I`m frankly very
surprised and I don`t use those words lightly, that he didn`t look at the
totality of the behavior of him in court filings, the totally of the
behavior that he`s been charged with, that he was notified of. So, if he
wants to look at it from purely a bank and tax fraud perspective and what
other people have been found guilty of before and sentenced to before, I
can see the kind of the downward move from the sentencing guidelines, but
that`s not case here, Chris.
And I think another thing that we really need to consider with respect to
the judge and Barbara McQuade, is unsurprisingly, perfectly accurate when
she says that he has a reputation for being light on white collar crime.
He does. What the judge is not kind of understanding here, Chris, and what
I think is surprising is that when you look at his conduct and you look at
now time served being added to this, there`s not much difference between
Michael Cohen`s sentence of three years and what is now essentially just
barely above three years for Paul Manafort.
WINTER: And you look at the tax and bank fraud differences between those
two people, and the gulf is enormous. Now, granted Michael Cohen`s also
being sentenced for the campaign finance crimes. But when you look at the
– when you look at the totality of the behavior here, it`s really very
Malcolm, how are they viewing this in Moscow, do you think today? As Putin
saying my buddy got off pretty easy. What do they think of our justice
system that a guy who was facing up to 20 years got four, less than four?
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR (via telephone): I think the Kremlin
believes that they now have managed to engineer the U.S. justice system by
putting their man in the White House and through his influence and through
his stature, he has managed to get someone who was really an agent of the
Kremlin, someone who has been paid by Moscow for almost two decades now to
carry out their operations in the Ukraine and other parts of the world.
You know, if I was Robert Mueller, I think now is the time to throw a
secret haymaker. I would bring him up on Espionage Act charges for his
contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, or something along the lines of
conspiracy to defraud the United States. I wouldn`t let this stand and I
would make it clear that there are more tricks in the bag of the special
MATTHEWS: Well, Malcolm, so much of this case has been about his relations
with Russia, the obstruction of justice matters, which I`d deal with the
next several months, I expect. For example getting – going to Comey, the
head of the FBI, the top police force, investigative unit and saying layoff
my director of national security because he was dealing with Putin and
dealing with Kislyak and lay off of him, and then he fires the FBI director
because he wouldn`t lay off, then he fires his attorney general because he
won`t – because he recused himself and wouldn`t help Trump in this matter.
Over and over the president has not only done stuff but doubled down in
obstructing justice against himself and today, he must be having dessert at
the White House. Your thoughts on that, Malcolm?
NANCE: Well, absolutely. And again this shows the puppet strings go from
Moscow to the White House and now into the U.S. judiciary. Whether the
judge had any influence at all, that doesn`t matter. It`s the fact the
lawyer came out and said there was nothing to do with Moscow, that shows
where the influence really lies.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much.
David Corn tonight, as always, sir. Barbara McQuade, as always. Malcolm,
as always. Tom Winter as well.
Thank you all.
That`s HARDBALL for now.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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