Obama: Justice served on Manning commutation

President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaProgressives say go big and make life hard for GOP Biden giving stiff-arm to press interviews Jill Biden campaigns for McAuliffe in Virginia MORE defended his decision to reduce the prison sentence for Chelsea Manning, saying that "justice was served" with Tuesday's commutation.

Obama said the former Army private had served a "disproportionate" prison sentence for leaking military secrets.

"It has been my view given that she went to trial, that due process was carried out, that she took responsibility for her crime, that the sentence that she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received and that she had served a significant amount of time, that it made sense to commute and not pardon her sentence," Obama said Wednesday during his last press conference as president.

"I feel very comfortable that justice has been served," he added.

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Manning has already served seven years of a 35-year prison sentence for violating the Espionage Act. Obama said her time in prison served its purpose of deterring other leakers.

"Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence," he said. "So the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think that is goes unpunished I don’t think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served." 

The decision has come under fierce criticism from Republican lawmakers and a number of Democrats.