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INSIDE POLITICS

Manafort Sentencing Hearing; Manafort Sentenced for Additional Three and a Half Years; Manafort Sentence Total of Seven and a Half Years. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired March 13, 2019 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:00:12] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King.

The big, breaking news this hour, you see it right there on your screen, Judge Amy Berman Jackson inside that courthouse about to sentence Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman. Manafort, today, for the first time saying in court he is sorry for what he has done. But the top lawyer for the special counsel, Andrew Weissmann, saying Manafort's continued lawbreaking indicates little remorse. Weissmann go on to detail how Manafort spent a decade telling lies, keeping secrets, concealing who he worked for and hiding millions of dollars from the government.

CNN's Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz outside of the courthouse in Washington, D.C.

As we await, Pam and Shimon, listening to the things the judge has said to Paul Manafort, if I'm Paul Manafort, I'm pretty nervous right now.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the judge has had some very strong words for Paul Manafort. She is still speaking. And we're about to learn his sentence. It seems like we're really on the cusp of it.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, we're very close.

BROWN: But here's one of the lines she said to Paul Manafort today. She said, saying I'm sorry I got caught is not an inspiring plea for leniency, because earlier today, in the courtroom for the first time, Paul Manafort did say I'm sorry for what I did. He took full responsibility. But the judge, just speaking moments ago, is basically saying that she doesn't buy his apology. That he committed these crimes knowingly, willfully. He knew exactly what he was doing. And now, essentially, he is only saying "I'm sorry" because he got caught.

And she also says she believes he's playing two games. At one point she said, were you spinning the facts then to get a better deal or spinning the facts now to get a better deal? And so, you're right, John, if you're Paul Manafort, you're very nervous right now because it appears that the judge really isn't expressing much sympathy toward Paul Manafort. And we'll just have to wait and see, any moment now, about what she does, what his fate will be ultimately.

PROKUPECZ: She is handing down the sentencing now. She's going through it. So we'll have that for you momentarily.

But certainly this judge, through this process, John, has not really been that sympathetic towards Paul Manafort. She has felt that he's been calculated in his response, what he's done in court filings, what he's done publicly. She's raised this issue about solitary confinement and the fact that he's in a private wing of a jail or that he's out not in general population. Somehow he's trying to use that for sympathy purposes. She's addressed the fact that, you know, while he came in here and said he's sorry, it may have been a little too late. He did plead guilty, but then he lied to the special counsel's office. He lied to the grand jurors.

So she was taking all of that into account, going through piece by piece, really, of his character, of his conduct since he pleaded guilty in this investigation. And, quite frankly, not very pleased with him.

BROWN: Not very pleased with him and not very pleased with his attorneys, John. She brought up that in one of the filings to the court, the attorneys made the case that there was no Russian collusion. And she brought up, look, that's a non-sequitur. Why would you even raise that in the court filings? Of course, Manafort's attorneys have been making this argument that the case should be thrown out because it has nothing to do with Robert Mueller's main mission and looking at Russian collusion. But she said that the crimes before her today have nothing to do with that. That is what she is focused on. So she was none too pleased with Manafort and with his attorneys it seems.

Again, any moment now we will be learning exactly what his sentence is.

PROKUPECZ: Yes, we're going through -- she's handing it down. She's essentially going over the numbers and we're going over that now.

Obviously, there's a question of whether or not he's going to serve this time simultaneously or will she be adding time to the nearly four years he has already received out of the Virginia case last week.

BROWN: Right.

PROKUPECZ: So that is what's going on apparently (ph).

BROWN: Yes, normally in these cases the sentencing is concurrent, meaning that they would serve it simultaneously. But there is always the possibility that she could stack on extra years on top of the four years he's already been sentenced too. So that's really what we're going to be looking for really any moment now.

KING: And to the point, Shimon and Pam -- PROKUPECZ: Yes, John, so that's what we're waiting for now.

KING: To the point you're making about, this is a legal proceeding, obviously. It's Paul Manafort's second sentencing.

BROWN: Yes.

KING: The judge has to focus on the sentencing guidelines. The charges before her, which were two (ph) conspiracy. But she also seems acutely aware of the political environment in which this is playing out where Manafort's lawyers have repeatedly come out of court and said, no Russian collusion, no Russian collusion, which has been seen very publicly as a clear play to the president, a, for the president's favor, b, for the possibility of a pardon or commutation.

[12:05:01] Tell us -- just explain to our viewers a little bit more about this particular judge and how she has handled the politics of this very big legal case.

PROKUPECZ: So, I think she's been very good at keeping a lot of that out of the courtroom. You know, she said that facts still matters in her courtroom and that, to her, is what's been important.

She does feel -- and she said that, you know, a lot of what Paul Manafort, what his attorneys were doing was perhaps for some kind of public sympathy. Obviously there's always this talk that, is Paul Manafort talking to an audience of one, are his attorneys trying to talk to the president, you know, this audience of one idea? And that's what we've seen a lot throughout this case.

She was not happy with the attorneys bringing up Russian collusion, the fact that this case has nothing to do with it. She essentially said, I'm not even considering that. It's a non-sequitur.

BROWN: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: It's not something for me to even consider. I don't know why you brought this up. But we know why he brought it up.

BROWN: It's political points.

PROKUPECZ: It's political points. It's public. The whole issue of solitary confinement, that was as a way to try and seek public sympathy. She didn't feel that that was a fair representation of what his conditions are like in jail. So, she's very cognizant of it.

Look, she also knows more about this case than probably almost any judge in this country, than probably anybody. She knows as much about this case, probably, as the special counsel's office.

BROWN: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: She's seen a lot of the documents, a lot of them filed under seal. She's also overseeing the Roger Stone case, so she has eyes into a lot of that. But she has made a point, she's very thorough. She has stuck to the evidence. She has stuck to what has occurred court and keeping everything that has happened outside of court just out of her judgment.

BROWN: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: Sort of not even considering what's been going on outside of court.

BROWN: Yes, she made the point today that we heard from Judge Ellis in Virginia last week that collusion isn't being considered today because that is not what is before her. She is not saying, unlike what the president tweeted last week after Judge Ellis said it, that there is no collusion. She is just saying that that is not resolved in today's sentencing hearing. That is not before the court.

And then, again, just emphasizing, she was none too pleased that because it's not before the court that the attorneys would bring that up, that there is no collusion. Of course, as we said, the subtext of that is a political point, speaking to an audience of one, and that would be the president. I think we could all agree that Manafort and his teams want to see a pardon for President Trump, and so that is why they bring up this idea that there is no Russian collusion.

PROKUPECZ: And also the president, recently even, has given credit to Paul Manafort for not cooperating. You know, we always -- we've heard the president word -- use these words like "rat" and certainly towards Michael Cohen and recently even the president just last week after Paul Manafort was sentenced in Virginia, shown sympathy --

BROWN: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: Saying what he's been through is unfair. So, look, you know, they clearly know what they're doing here. We'll probably hear from Paul Manafort's attorneys once they walk out here momentarily.

BROWN: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: Now that the sentences has been handed down. And so we will see what they have to say.

BROWN: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: What do they say towards that audience of one today (ph)?

BROWN: And there's a lot happening inside right now. We're just waiting to get the final update of when we can tell you what exactly the sentencing is for Paul Manafort.

Again, high stakes for both Paul Manafort and the special counsel's team. Think about it here, John, this is the most high-profile investigation under the Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It's an investigation that's been nearly two years. The first filed charges in this -- the first charges filed, I should say, in this case was against Paul Manafort. And here we are today. This is the dramatic culmination of all of that in this final sentencing.

This is a dramatic downfall of the man who used to be the chairman of Donald Trump's campaign. And so we are just awaiting any moment now to report to you what exactly this sentencing is.

PROKUPECZ: Yes. And we're waiting on those numbers from our folks inside the court, John.

KING: And as we wait, Paul Manafort, 69 years old. He was sentenced to just shy of four years on the first set of charges in Virginia. A lot of people thought that was a lenient sentence, but still he's 69 years old, just shy of four years in prison there, could get additional time here, which is why I found it so interesting that this person today, just today, and the judge clearly said too little too late, standing up in court saying, my previous elocution, I told Judge Ellis, I was ashamed of my conduct, apparently it was not at that time clear what was in my heart. I am sorry for what I've done and for all the activities that have gotten us here today.

But, Pam and Shimon, again, Paul Manafort, for the first time saying, I am sorry, taking personal accountability here, saying it's his conduct that has him in there, not a witch hunt, not a hoax, his conduct has him in court today. But the judge was not terribly impressed, it seems.

[12:10:00] BROWN: Yes. The judge basically said that she doesn't buy his apology fully. I mean he did start off today saying, look, I'm sorry for what I've done. I accept responsibility. He knew that he made a mistake last week when he didn't say I'm sorry and the judge called him out for that saying he didn't show remorse. He said even though he had it in his heart that that wasn't fully apparent.

PROKUPECZ: Well --

BROWN: So he tried to convey that today or change his tune.

PROKUPECZ: She didn't like the fact that he waited until today to say I'm sorry.

BROWN: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: She wasn't buying it. She brought up the fact that he never wrote a letter to her. The fact that he waited until today to say I'm sorry. And then what weighed heavily on her is his conduct after he pleaded guilty. That seemed to have weighed heavily on her and what he did.

And I think just his -- the way he's performed, the way he's acted throughout this investigation, the things he did after, the witness tampering charges, very significant charges, and just how he behaved. She kept bringing up just -- I think she has felt that he's very calculated in his approach in all of this, John.

BROWN: Yes.

KING: And so -- guy, I'm sorry -- I'm hearing from our producers in the courtroom, the judge has imposed a sentence of an additional 43 months in prison for Paul Manafort. An additional 43 months. So clearly there, if you add the nearly four years put in place by this judge in Virginia, now an additional 43 months here. Again, you're three-plus years there. What does that tell you about Judge Jackson and how she decided to weigh, whether to let Paul Manafort serve these consecutively or concurrently?

BROWN: Well, we're just looking at the update now, John, and it says he was sentenced in total to 73 months, 30 of those months will be served concurrently along with the Virginia sentence. So basically what that means is it will happen simultaneously, but then there's the additional 43 months that he will serve consecutively. So after he serves the nearly four years in prison under the Virginia sentence, he then will serve 43 months in prison.

PROKUPECZ: So it's seven and a half years total prison time for Paul Manafort.

BROWN: Yes.

KING: Right.

PROKUPECZ: So it's an additional three and a half years or so to the Virginia case, John.

KING: So essentially she gave him a six-year prison, but she decided that some of it would be served concurrently with the Virginia charges. The rest of it continue to add in.

Just as you guys keep -- continue to go through your notes, I want to bring into the conversation, Michael Zeldin, who was Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the Justice Department, a former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Elie, let me start with you.

As Pam and Shimon go through their notes from our producers inside the courtroom, take that balance there. Essentially six years, but 43 months of it to be served after the Virginia term. So Paul Manafort, 69 years old, likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Maybe, John. Let me break down the numbers here. So he had 47 months on the sentence from Virginia. The judge just now added -- effectively added 43 months on top of that. So that brings us -- I'm doing math here, but I'm doing my best -- 90 months total. Now, in the federal system, there's no parole, but prisoners can get 15 percent off for good time, good conduct in prison. So, if you take that away, that will put him at about 77 months. But also, remember, Manafort has been in jail for nine months. He gets credit for that. So that brings us down to 68 months. And, again, if I'm doing the math and the calendar correct, that means he would get out in November of 2024.

KING: November of 2024.

Michael Zeldin, is that about what you would have expected from -- again, you've got two different cases, two judges handling similar set of facts, but additional charges here, is that the way you would have predicted it to come out? MICHAEL ZELDIN, ROBERT MUELLER'S FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT AT DOJ: Yes,

in this way, John. What we saw in count one of this indictment -- there were two counts here that he pleaded guilty to. Count one had a substantial overlap with some of the facts in the Virginia case. The failure to file foreign registration, the tax fraud. But count two principally was obstruction of justice. So I think what she did was to give him the concurrent credit for that which overlapped in Virginia and gave him consecutive time for the wholly different crime of lying to the DOJ, which is the end count one, and obstruction of justice in count two.

We also have to remember that she signed a forfeiture order -- an $11 million forfeiture order. They are going to divest him of $11 million worth of property for real property, three bank accounts, a life insurance, a brokerage account. So when he gets out in 68 months' time, he is going to be a much poorer man. And my experience as a white-collar crime prosecutor is that oftentimes the jail time is more acceptable than the loss of all of your life's income, even though it was derived from crime in large measures. So I think with the forfeiture and the consecutive time that this is a substantial penalty for his bad behavior.

[12:15:02] KING: And inside the courtroom, as all this played out, was our CNN's Kara Scannell. She's now outside of the courthouse.

Kara, take us inside what had to be a dramatic few hours.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Yes, it certainly was, John. I mean Manafort's legal team had put forward their same argument that, you know, but for there being the special counsel's office, Paul Manafort never would have been in trouble. He would have just had a small regulatory filing. And the judge decidedly shut that down. She said that was -- that had no merit. That he's offered this up repeatedly. She even was quoting from various sentencing memorandum and just knocking it down saying that that had zero merit.

She also made the point that Judge Ellis said last week that this case was not about collusion. Her judgment today had nothing to do with the questions of either the culpability of anyone or the existence of the special counsel. She said it was not an endorsement or an indictment of them. So she made it very clear she was sentencing Paul Manafort on the merits of the case. In this case that was the conspiracy to defraud the U.S. of that foreign lobbying and also the witness tampering.

And she made a lot of point there on the witness tampering. She said, you know, that this was a serious crime, that this was something that he needed to be held to account for. You know, and when she came back, she took about a 20 minute, 30-minute break, came back, kind of came out strong against Manafort, saying that, you know, while she knows that his tone had changed from his sentencing of last week, she said she really heard no acceptance of responsibility. She said there was no evidence of his acceptance of responsibility in both his statements in court of what -- you know, what he had just kind of run through the motions as she sort of described it of what he was, you know, feeling sorry for, that he was admitting that he did commit these crimes, but she didn't really seem to buy that argument from him.

You know, she did acknowledge Paul Manafort when he spoke. He addressed the court for about ten minutes. And he did say that he was -- I'm just going to look for my notes here because there were some good lines from Manafort. I mean -- you know he said that he was sorry for what he has done. He acknowledged that last week in the hearing, after that hearing that Judge Ellis said that he wasn't sure that Manafort had accepted responsibility, Manafort said today, let me be clear, I accept responsibility for the actions that caused me to be here. He also said he wanted to apologize. He apologized several times. And he really emphasized the impact that this would have on his wife. He said he's her sole supporter. She is 66. He is 70 next month. He said, she needs me. I need her. And he also said, though, that he would have nothing really left after this. He said, they took my properties, my cash, my insurance and the trust funds for his kids and his grandkids. He said, please let my wife and I be together. And he asked for no more than the 47 months.

But the judge saw it differently. She, as I explained, kind of went through these various points saying what she disagreed with the defense argument. She also said that Paul Manafort was not public enemy number one as the prosecution had -- she suggested made it out to be. So she tried to find the right balance here. But she said that Paul Manafort's crimes were serious crimes and that he was deceitful, continuing throughout this process, continuing throughout her -- the process before the court where she found that not only did he engage in witness tampering while he was under court supervision, but that he also then lied to the grand jury and to the FBI.

So she played out her rationales for this sentence and, you know, finding that she would find 30 months of this, 60 months of this she was giving him for count one would run concurrent with the sentence that he received in Virginia and then tacked on another 13 months for the witness tampering statute that she said would run consecutively. So that gets us to about seven and a half years, John.

KING: A humbling day at a minimum for the former Trump campaign chairman.

Kara, stay at the courthouse. Continue the reporting. We'll go back there.

Our lawyers are still with us as well.

We're waiting to see if any of the attorneys in the case come out and speak.

With me here in studio to share their reporting and their insights, Catherine Lucey with "The Associated Press, CNN's Phil Mattingly, Seung Min Kim with "The Washington Post," and CNN's Sara Murray.

It's a huge fall from grace if that's the right word for Paul Manafort. I met Paul 30 years ago when I came to Washington. If you remember him from the 2016 convention and the campaign, a big man, swagger. Now humbled today by a federal judge who's sending him to prison for quite some time. To be clear, none of these charges have anything to do with the president of the United States. And that is the argument the Trump legal team will make.

You could flip the coin and say, if you judge a man by the company he keeps, Paul Manafort's going to prison, Michael Flynn, convicted, Rick Gates, convicted, Michael Cohen going to prison, you can look at it that way.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, we went from, you know, I hire all of the best people, to, all of the best people I hired are now on their way to jail cells. So, you know, it's a little bit of a different tune.

I think that today is, you know, it's a mixed bag. Paul Manafort, obviously, you know, he's 69 years old. He's going to be going to jail for a long time for that age and for, you know, he has taken a huge hit to obviously his wealth. You know, he talked about how he's lost his trust funds for his children. Make no mistake, he's lost all of this because he was defrauding banks, because he wasn't paying taxes. This wasn't a punishment, this is restitution to these institutions that he has defrauded, including the U.S. government.

[12:20:05] But for the prosecution, which was looking at, you know, potentially getting Manafort 25 years in Virginia and a maximum of ten years in D.C., this is a very small sentence compared to what they could have gotten. You are going to see everyone who was a defender of the president out there saying the prosecution didn't get nearly as much as they wanted and, by the way, there was still no evidence of collusion. That's not what Manafort was on trial here to. And, you know, that's a perfectly reasonable talking point for them to be out there trotting today.

KING: And so we look through the legal impacts of this and the judge making the point to Paul Manafort, stop, when he was trying to make the case, this is only because of a special counsel investigation. And let's remember, some of these investigations were underway before the special counsel was appointed and they just decided the Justice Department, it makes sense for you to take this on since it overlaps with Paul Manafort's conduct in the campaign.

So the Manafort's argument there was weak. If you are the special counsel, or you could flip it and say, if you're the Trump legal team, what are the burdens on you now that we're at this moment where you have Manafort going to prison, some of these other cases winding down. The special counsel can make the case, my job is to find crime. When I found it, I prosecuted it. If you're on team Trump, you can make the case, I thought this was about Russian collusion. Where's your evidence?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But I think the reality is that this isn't the end. This was certainly the most high profile case and the most high profile case that's come to an end, but I think there's still an investigation ongoing, there's still a report ongoing and there still is -- Sara has covered ad nauseam for the better part of the last couple of years things moving through the courtroom.

I think what's interesting, you made a point that I think always sticks out to me, regardless of the fact that this didn't have anything to do with Russian collusion, per se, which the judge made very clear was a quote/unquote non-sequitur to the actual points of this case, is the idea of having a campaign chairman who we dealt with a lot during the campaign and dealt with in Cleveland during the convention. He was just convicted again -- or had been convicted, was just sentenced for a second time to more than seven and a half years in prison.

And so, to Sara's point, which I think is a good one, each side has their talking points here, but the reality remains, one, one of the most high-profile people on the campaign, closest people to the president, is now going to jail, along with a number of others. And, two, this investigation is ongoing and will only be, I think, added to by what's going to happen on Capitol Hill as well.

CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "ASSOCIATED PRESS": I think the Trump folks have really tried to make two arguments throughout this. One is, this is a political witch hunt. This is persecution. There's nothing to see here.

The other one, though, is they've come back again and again to, they haven't proven collusion. And you saw the president make that point again last week. And I think we've seen this sort of back and forth with Trump and Manafort team, which I think then is also the next thing to look for, which is, you know, is there going to be talk of a pardon, which is not in any way clear. But the fact that the president last week says, you know, he was a good man and he felt sorry for him suggests that he has -- still has some sympathy for him.

KING: And the fact that the president keeps saying he's a good man is interesting in the sense that -- it makes sense from a political argument if you're talking to the Trump base to keep saying no collusion, no collusion, no collusion, because you're talking to your base, you're trying to keep the people there.

But how do you say a good man who now two federal judges have sent to prison for swampy crimes, keeping millions of dollars from the United States government. And, to your point, yes, his kids will suffer, but his kids will suffer not because of two federal judges or the special counsel. The kids will suffer because of the conduct of their father.

SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": But this is something that the president has consistently said about Paul Manafort. You know, he's distanced himself at times and said, he didn't work for me for that long. He hasn't -- you know, I don't know him all too well, but regardless, he is a good man. And I think the pardon question is just going to come into such sharper -- just sharper perspective now with the second sentence.

And to Catherine's point, I thought what Sara Sanders said at the briefing earlier this week was interesting as well when she said the president will, quote, make his decision on the Manafort pardon, quote, when he is ready, which seems to suggest that there is a little bit more of an opening of the door there.

KING: Right. That is a fascinating statement in the sense that maybe she just was trying to fill the time, which sometimes she has to do given the boss she works for.

KIM: Sure.

KING: Given the boss she works for, who pulls out the rug from under her all the time. You have some sympathy.

However, read that quote and it sounds like it's on the table. There's actually -- there's been a discussion. It's an open question. It's an active issue as opposed to, we don't talk about that.

KIM: Especially after the president has said recently that, oh, I'm not talking about a pardon. It's only you guys in the media who are talking about a pardon.

MURRAY: Right. If that's true, it's easy to rule it out.

KIM: Yes.

MURRAY: I mean the great irony of this is that Donald Trump didn't particularly like Paul Manafort when he had Paul Manafort on his payroll. He did like Michael Cohen, but now, you know, he hates Michael Cohen and -- because Paul Manafort, you know, is out there essentially not cooperating and insisting there is no collusion, and this case has nothing to do with collusion. All of a sudden he does like Paul Manafort. And it's striking that some of the things that Manafort's team said in court could have been word for word out of Donald Trump's mouth.

KING: Right.

MURRAY: The idea that Manafort was only being prosecuted because there's a special counsel investigation, because he did this work on the campaign. That is something that Donald Trump has said publicly. It's also something he has said privately about why he feels so badly for Paul Manafort, because Donald Trump, the president, feels like this was just a political prosecution. They were just out to get anyone who helped him get elected.

KING: Michael Zeldin, as someone who has worked with Robert Mueller, forgive me, but I'm going to ask you to try to climb into his thinking on this a little bit. This is your high-profile prosecution. You have now gotten Paul Manafort sent to prison for a considerable period of time. But you also know, as you wind down with -- as you're gearing up for the Roger Stone case, but you're winding down with the Michael Flynn case, you're winding down with the Rick Gates case and other -- and you're preparing a final report. What is Robert Mueller thinking right now? Does he think on this question and the politics of this what the president will say, Paul Manafort's going to prison but it has nothing to do with me. What is the political pressure on Robert Mueller as he prepares a report?

[12:25:30] ZELDIN: I don't believe that Mueller really feels a lot of political pressure here. I think Mueller's big decision is -- KING: Is that possible? Is that humanly possible? I understand. I -- you know, I remember when he was U.S. attorney in Boston. He was the FBI director. He was in a position of great strength for the American people after 9/11. I get, you know, a Vietnam hero. But feels no political pressure? Is he that good?

ZELDIN: No, I'm not saying no political pressure. I think that the pressure that Mueller has to feel is, what will the contents of his report look like? That is the regulations under which he is operating can allow him to write a very skeletal report, an essential, internal DOJ memo saying, I decline to prosecute people, or he could do a more fulsome report to say what his -- what this case was really about. I think the big pressure point for Bob is, what is he going say in that report? I think the sentence he got from Manafort is adequate. The forfeiture is telling. I think we'll hear on Thursday what his intentions are with Flynn and with Gates. So I think he -- I think he has to be satisfied with the way the case is moving along in respective indictments and guilty pleas and sentences. It's just a question of this report and what does he say and what sort of blowback will he get if he isn't really fully fulsome with the American people, assuming we get to see the report, about what it is that he found. I think that's the pressure point for him more than anything else, John.

KING: And so, Elie, come back into the conversation, in the sense that this is -- we're closing a chapter today. Paul Manafort has now been sentenced twice. He is done and he's going to go off to prison and serve his time. And, again, if you're team Trump, you're going to come out and say, this was the highest profile prosecution, they've proved no collusion. As a former SDNY prosecutor, remind our viewers that, yes, we're closing one chapter, but there are still many open questions about the president, and not just the conduct of people he hired, but his conduct before federal investigators?

HONIG: Yes, I think we're just opening up a next chapter here with the Southern District of New York. Having worked there for eight years, you can see what's coming. You can see they've already subpoenaed the Trump Organization. They've subpoenaed the inauguration. They're digging in. They're digging in deep. I expect a lot more to come out of that in the next few years.

And I thought it was also really interesting to see what Judge Jackson did today in going out of her way to stress this case had nothing to do with collusion because I think she did not want to have her words twisted in the way the president twisted Judge Ellis' words, because there's a big difference between this case had nothing to do with collusion and this proves there was no collusion. And I think she was very aware of the sort of political landscape out there and did not want to be used as a mouthpiece or have her words twisted.

KING: Did not want to have her words twisted.

I just want to read you a little bit from our correspondents and producers in the courthouse. Very little emotion from Manafort and his family throughout today's hearing. In the first part of the hearing, where Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann described Manafort's extensive criminal conspiracy and why it deserved a strong sentence, Manafort was not watching -- that's interesting -- didn't watch the prosecutor. Weissmann spoke for 20 to 30 minutes. Manafort had his back to the podium for most of the time. Maybe not wanting to hear?

MURRAY: Yes, I mean I think that he had already gotten a pretty strong dressing down from the judge. I think that this is -- you know, this is -- even if you are Paul Manafort, even if you have spent, you know, a very long time sort of getting away from -- getting away with these kind of crimes, this is someone who has now been sitting in a jail cell for months, has had some time to think about what he's done, the position it's put himself in, the position it's put his family in. And I think that even if you are a criminal, such as he now is, you can't escape the sort of magnitude of that moment, of knowing that, you know, you don't know what's going to happen in essentially sort of the next ten years of your life. You don't know how -- where you're leaving your wife. You don't know where you're leaving your children. I think the gravity of the would sit with anyone in that situation.

KING: And we're waiting to see -- obviously the sentencing is over. Paul Manafort will be processed again in this court. He has been in prison, so he's going to stay in prison. But we do expect his attorneys to come out and they have, in the past, emerged from the courthouse in these other events, they have spoken to the cameras. And as we discussed earlier, when they have done so, they have clearly been speaking, not just to the cameras, but directly to the president of the United States by trying to make the case here.

Shimon and Pam are still standing by at the courthouse.

In that sense, given -- given this moment, do we look to these attorneys for their -- their comments to be any different, perhaps more remorseful, or will we get some of that defiance, as we've heard in the past?

[12:29:55] BROWN: I really wouldn't be surprised if there was just more defiance now that this is all over. He's been sentenced. He has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison between these two cases. I would look to hear more of the same from them.