Longtime journalist Dan Rather on Thursday harshly criticized “the lightness” of former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ releases new tranche of Mueller witness documents Treasury adviser pleads guilty to making unauthorized disclosures in case involving Manafort DOJ argues Democrats no longer need Mueller documents after impeachment vote MORE's 47-month prison sentence, saying “black kids in the projects routinely get worse sentences.”

“Look, this sentence is a straight up rebuke to [special counsel] Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE and his team,” Rather said during an appearance on MSNBC. “It’s an in-your-face, shame on you statement from the judge to Mueller.”


Earlier on Thursday, federal Judge T.S. Ellis III sentenced Manafort to 47 months in prison after he was convicted in August of eight criminal charges of bank and tax fraud uncovered in Mueller's Russia probe.

The sentence was well below the amount recommended by sentencing guidelines.

Rather said the sentence amounted to a “slap on the wrist.”

“And the sentence is just a slap on the wrist to, you know, a big-time criminal,” Rather continued, railing against what he called a “minor sentence for another elite, well-connected Washington big-shot."

“I will say, a lot of black kids in the projects routinely get worse sentences than Manafort has gotten,” the veteran journalist added.

The president’s former campaign chairman will also be allowed to receive time served for the sentence, which means he will spend another three years and two months in prison. Manafort has also been ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and up to $24 million in restitution.

Manafort's sentence was criticized by many pundits as too lenient. They pointed to the 19.5 to 24 years previously suggested under federal sentencing guidelines. But Ellis argued that the former campaign manager had lived an otherwise “blameless” life.

Though Manafort never apologized for his crimes on Thursday, he did say he felt “humiliated and ashamed.” 

He is scheduled to face a sentencing hearing in Washington, D.C., next week over conspiracy charges related to his lobbying on behalf of the Ukrainian government.