Ex-federal prosecutor: I would have recommended 15 to 20 years for Manafort

A former federal prosecutor told Hill.TV on Friday that he would have recommended former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrial of ex-Obama White House counsel suddenly postponed Top Mueller probe prosecutor to join Georgetown Law as lecturer DOJ releases notes from official Bruce Ohr's Russia probe interviews MORE be sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison as opposed to the 7 1/2 years he ended up getting in total from two separate cases.

"I would have recommended 15 to 20 years because you've got to send a message to cooperators that if you come on our team, you can't be leaving the office and having your attorneys call the White House and divulge what's happening in the meeting with the prosecutor," Gene Rossi told co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising."

Rossi noted that Manafort pleaded guilty to some of the crimes he was charged with, conditioned on his cooperation with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE's team. A judge later determined that Manafort lied to prosecutors.

"I would have hammered him," Rossi said. "He lied, he lied, he lied."

Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison by a federal judge in Virginia last week for charges connected to his foreign lobbying efforts that were uncovered in the course of Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Federal sentencing guidelines for those crimes advised between 19 1/2 and 24 years.

He was sentenced to an additional 43 months by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for conspiracy charges.

Rossi went on to criticize Mueller's team for not requesting a specific prison term for Manafort.

"They did not specifically ask for a sentence in either the D.C. case or in Virginia. A mistake," he said. "I would have stood up, owned it, and said 'Judge [T.S.] Ellis, Judge [Amy Berman] Jackson, the United States recommends 15 years for the following reasons.'"

— Julia Manchester