On Thursday night, the liberal media had to grapple with the surprising prison sentence of 47 months for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort by Judge T.S. Ellis. And for MSNBC’s Hardball, the “shocking” and racist decision was characterized as a “breach of justice” by Ellis that’s placed trust in American government “in jeopardy” in favor of allowing his “puppet strings” to be pulled by Moscow.

NBC intelligence and national security reporter Ken Dilanian set the table by calling it “a shocker” since 47 months was far lower than the suggested “19 to 24-and-a-half years” and host Chris Matthews agreed that it’s “shocking news.”



MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner then spouted off (click “expand”):

Matthews joked that 47 months sounded like a sentence for “knocking off a convenience store” and legal analyst Paul Butler replied that, well, Ellis was racist for giving Manafort (who’s white) a shorter sentence: “To be a rich white man in America, you get a whole different kind of justice….If his name was Kwame or Pedro, he would be going up the river.”

The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff was more straightforward, asserting that “[t]here’s no way to interpret this sentence as anything other than Judge Ellis delivering a stunning criticism of the Mueller investigation.”

“What’s he got [sic] the bee in his bonnet about Mueller? Is it that he really thinks it’s a miscarriage, Paul? He really thinks it’s a miscarriage or he doesn’t like the Democrats — what — climbing on or rolling up the score? What is that it’s bugging him,” Matthews replied.

Showing how melodramatic cable news types have become regarding Russia, Butler declared: “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.”

Eye roll.

Along with Kirschner, The Beat’s Ari Melber went along with Butler’s race-based take, opining that “our legal system….does not operate with equal force from everyone and Paul Manafort got the special, clubby, Washington, elite-friendly treatment.”

Just when one thought there was enough crazy to go around, MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance upped the ante, declaring that Ellis’s decision has both “abdicated” and “place[d] in jeopardy people’s trust in the system” by endorsing a belief “that the America system of government has a separate rail and that this rail should apply to people like Paul Manafort.”

Matthews must have decided that everyone else was having too much fun aboard the crazy train, so he hopped on with this rant to Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL):

What more do you guys need to impeach? It seems to me we have the 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 Russians. All this stuff has been going on in plain daylight. It’s all there.. What more do you guys want?

Later in the hour, Kirschner opined that he’s “a big believer in the judiciary, but what we just saw was an unjust result” and “Bob Mueller will get the last laugh” because “a conspiracy indictment is coming” and the Mueller team could try to charge Manafort again. Talk about scary stuff.

To close out the show, Matthews and Nance went back-and-forth suggesting Judge Ellis was fixed with “puppet strings” with Manafort and Trump to do the bidding of Moscow, hoping that Mueller gets even by “throw[ing] a secret haymaker” (click “expand”):

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball, click “expand.”