If former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is being held accountable for the laws he has broken, he’s got plenty of company in Washington, D.C., Real Clear Politics founder Tom Bevan argued Wednesday evening.
Manafort is now facing more than seven years in prison for crimes he committed before joining Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as well as for crimes he committed during the Russia investigation. His legal troubles are far from over as he has now been indicted on an additional 16 counts in New York state.
During Thursday's "Special Report" All-Star panel, Bevan — along with national security analyst Morgan Ortagus and Georgetown Institute of Politic executive director Mo Elleithee — weighed in on the Manafort sentencing as well as the latest developments from former FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s congressional testimony.
Bevan began by making it clear that “nobody is going to shed a tear” for a “corrupt guy” like Manafort. That being said, he insisted that if Manafort was being punished for his crimes, then plenty of others should be as well.
“If the standard is now, ‘We’re going to prosecute for FERA violations and we’re going to drain the swamp,’ let’s do it because there are another fifty or a hundred Paul Manaforts doing the exact same thing. So if that’s the standard, let’s go ahead and drain the swamp,” Bevan told the panel.
Elleithee warned about the consequences of President Trump possibly pardoning Manafort, saying that at minimum the “optics look bad” and noting that Trump cannot shield Manafort from the state-level charges against him.
Meanwhile, Ortagus noted Lisa Page’s significant role in revealing what happened in the Department of Justice during its handling of the Clinton email investigation as well as the early stages of the Russia probe. Testimony shared by the House Judiciary Committee shows that Page confirmed to lawmakers that the Justice Department instructed the FBI not to pursue charges of “gross negligence” against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“When the story, the history is written about all of this, Lisa Page is going to be such a fascinating and integral character in this,” Ortagus said. “I mean, look at all the number of people — Comey, McCabe, Strzok — all of these people she’s given congressional testimony to counter them, to contradict them and they are all in trouble, multiple times over. … So pay attention to Lisa Page. She’s taking down some of the biggest names in the FBI.”