This is unquestionably Judge Ellis' way of showing his utter disrespect for Team Mueller, everyone behind Team Mueller, and everything they stand for--especially their degradation of the criminal justice system. He had no choice but to sentence Manafort but he did it in a way that would be a rebuke to the prosecution. And in a way that will reflect as poorly as possible on Judge Amy Jackson Berman. I hope Judge Sullivan (who will be sentencing General Flynn shortly) pays attention to this.
There's a lot swirling around this and I may well be updating this initial post. For example, Undercover Huber is reminding us that, in response to Manafort's Brady request (Brady disclosure rules require the prosecution to produce exculpatory or impeaching evidence to the defense), Team Mueller admitted that it had NO "surveillance intercepts" of Manafort--"surveillance intercepts" means electronic surveillance or, if you prefer, FISA intercepts. IOW, the US counterintelligence efforts--read: the FBI--never picked Manafort up talking to Russians. This despite "leaks" to the media, like this one to the NYT: Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence. Here's how it begins:
WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.
This was a lie, a total fabrication.
Note the date: February 14, 2017--less than a month after Trump was inaugurated and months before Team Mueller was constituted. If this wasn't a solo FBI effort, then it had to have been coordinated with the FBI at the highest levels, because this is FBI turf: counterintelligence. Comey was Director. Sally Yates had already been fired as acting AG and Dana Boente was in her place. Rosenstein didn't come on board till April, but wouldn't you, in his position, want to know as a top priority the truth of such stories--especially when McCabe came to you asking for a Special Counsel, or for your help in removing the POTUS? I know I would have. Any more questions?