Sen. Manchin on Manning Commute: 'Dead Wrong, Absolutely Dead Wrong'

January 17, 2017

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) told MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Tuesday that President Obama's decision to commute 28 years of Chelsea Manning's sentence for treason and espionage was "absolutely dead wrong."

"The decision by President Obama to commute Chelsea Manning's sentence, it's not a full pardon, it is shortening of the sentence," Todd said. "Your reaction and how do you think the intel community will react?"

Manchin was not happy with the decision by the Democratic administration.

"I think it's dead wrong," he said. "Absolutely dead wrong."

He went on to say that Manning deserved to stay and finish the full 35 year sentence for stealing and releasing military secrets.

"This is treason," he said. "Espionage at the highest level ... What Chelsea did, [she was] absolutely found guilty, 35 year sentence ... [She] should basically serve that sentence out."

Manchin said Obama's commutation sends the wrong message to future leakers and spies wishing to do harm to the United States.

"We're going to give a green light to people basically with all the hacking going on now and the cyber attacks we've got going on," he said. "My goodness, you got Snowden out there, you got Assange, you've got all these people, it's just wrong."

Manchin said he would not support pardons or commutations of criminals who jeopardized the security of the United States.

"I for one, am not going to be supportive of these types of commutes whatsoever or pardons," he said. "I think they're wrong."

Almost all of Manning's sentence was commuted on Tuesday. Manning will serve five more months in the Ft. Leavenworth military prison before being released.