McCabe says he was 'shocked' by Manafort sentencing, but does not think Trump's comments had influence

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said that he was “shocked” by the light sentence handed out to President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort last week after he was found guilty of various financial crimes.

"I was really surprised by the sentence he was given. I think it’s an incredibly lenient sentence in light not just of the offenses he was convicted for, but the additional offenses that he has pled guilty to in D.C.," McCabe said during an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"Like most people, I was shocked by how lenient the sentence was,” he added.


Manafort was sentenced last week to nearly four years in prison for tax and bank fraud related to his work advising Ukrainian politicians – a sentence much less than what was called for under sentencing guidelines.

Manafort has been jailed since June, so he will receive credit for the nine months he has already served. He still faces the possibility of additional time from his sentencing in a separate case in the District of Columbia.

The sentence drew widespread criticism and opened up a conversation about whether the justice system treats different crimes and criminals fairly.

Judge T.S. Ellis III's comment that Paul Manafort had lived an "otherwise blameless life" was particularly galling to those who pointed out that Manafort's past included work for people such as Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos and Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

Sen. Cory Booker, a Democratic presidential candidate, told "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Thursday night that the criminal justice system "treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent" and preys upon the most vulnerable such as "poor folks, mentally ill folks, addicted folks and overwhelmingly black and brown folks."

Asked if he was shocked, Booker replied, "No, this criminal justice system can't surprise me anymore."


Many observers raised the case of Crystal Mason, a black woman from Texas who was sentenced in state court last year to five years in prison for voting illegally in 2016, while she was on supervised release from a federal conviction. Mason said she didn't know she wasn't allowed to vote.

Her lawyer, Alison Grinter, said Friday that the judge's comment about Manafort being "blameless" was infuriating, especially considering that he is awaiting sentencing on a different case in Washington, where he faces up to 10 more years. The Washington judge who will sentence him next week has the option to impose that sentence either concurrently or consecutively.

McCabe added during his interview on Sunday that there’s “no question” Manafort will get additional time when he’s sentenced by a D.C. court judge this week, but made clear that it is not Judge Amy Berman Jackson's duty to take into account the Virginia sentencing.


McCabe, who was fired from his post with the FBI last year after an internal report revealed he was not forthcoming with investigators, criticized Trump’s frequent attacks on the justice system in the country and his defense of Manafort. The former FBI deputy director, however, said that he does not believe that Trump’s comments influenced Manafort's sentencing last week.

"But the point that I try to make in [McCabe’s new book “The Threat] is to try to highlight how incredibly irresponsible and indeed corrosive statements like that from the chief executive are on the process and on the public's perception of the fairness and the effectiveness of the process."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.