Ex-FBI official McCabe says he was 'shocked' by Manafort's sentence

Image: Andrew McCabe
Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington in May 2017. Copyright Jacquelyn Martin AP file
By Allan Smith with NBC News Politics
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"I think it was an incredibly lenient sentence," the former acting FBI director told CBS's "Face the Nation."


Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he was stunned by the "incredibly lenient sentence" a judge delivered to ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort late last week.

On Thursday, Judge T.S. Ellis, a federal judge in Virginia, sentenced Manafort to just under four years in prison for tax and bank fraud — far below what the sentencing guidelines called for. Manafort was convicted in August on eight federal felony counts — five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to report foreign bank and financial accounts. Ellis had declared a mistrial on the 10 other charges he faced.

"Well, I was really surprised by the sentence he was given," McCabe told "Face the Nation." "I think it was an incredibly lenient sentence."

"Like most people, I was shocked," he added.

Manafort now faces another sentencing hearing in Washington, D.C., federal court on Wednesday on two conspiracy counts. McCabe told CBS News that "there's no question he's going to get additional time from D.C.," but it's not necessarily the job of that court to "rectify" the Virginia sentencing.

Reacting to Manafort's sentencing on Friday, Trump said he felt "very badly" for Manafort, whose charges stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Trump added that he was "very honored" by comments the judge made, but misstated Ellis' remarks, claiming the judge said his campaign did not collude with Russia in an effort to influence the 2016 election.

What Ellis actually said is that Manafort's crimes were not connected to Russian election interference and the question of whether Trump campaign officials colluded in that effort.

Democrats thought Manafort's sentence showed the imbalance of the justice system in how it treats the wealthy compared to everyone else.

McCabe, who recently authored a memoir, "The Threat," detailing his time at the FBI under Trump, has become a favorite target of the president's. McCabe was ousted from the bureau last March, just prior to a planned retirement, following a Justice Department inspector general's report that said he had misled investigators regarding a leak about the FBI's investigation of the Clinton Foundation, which he denies. The inspector general referred its findings to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia last year for possible prosecution, and prosecutors reportedly have convened a grand juryon the matter.

McCabe has said he believes he was ousted because he further probed Trump. He also has said the inspector general's report "was not like anything I have ever read before," saying it disagreed with its conclusions and planned to sue the Justice Department over it.

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