Nothing highlights the injustice of America's War on Drugs better than the sentencing of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, according to New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D), who used the case of President Trump's former campaign manager to highlight how the rich and powerful get away with horrendous crimes in the United States while poor citizens often see their lives ruined by convictions for nonviolent drug offenses.
Manafort, who was found guilty of eight financial crimes including tax fraud, was given a mere 47 months in prison instead of the 19-25 years recommended based on the severity of his crimes. That discrepancy outraged critics of America's criminal justice system like Senator Booker.
"I'm really ticked off about this," Booker told Stephen Colbert yesterday on 'The Late Show.' He added that the Manafort sentence offers an ugly picture of America to the rest of the world.
"You can tell a lot about a country based on who they incarcerate. In Russia, they incarcerate political opposition. In Turkey, they're actually incarcerating the media....In our country, we prey upon the most vulnerable citizens in our country: poor folks, mentally ill folks, addicted folks and overwhelmingly black and brown folks."
But as angry as Booker was with the lenient sentencing, he can't say he was surprised to see Manafort get off so easily.
"This criminal justice system can't surprise me anymore," he said before telling the story of a man that he helped get released from a life sentence in prison for a nonviolent drug offence that seems trivial compared to Manafort's misdeeds. "I had a guy who went to the State of the Union with me...who was in jail for life from being in possession of crack cocaine that weighed less than a baseball....And here's a guy who betrayed our nation...and he's getting out with a slap on the wrist. What does that say to people in communities like mine [Newark, New Jersey] that have been disproportionately targeted by a drug war that's not a War on Drugs, it's a war on people."
Check out his full remarks on Manafort and the War on Drugs in the clip below.