MSNBC's Rachel Maddow explained Wednesday how the latest figure cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller should cause Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and others Trumpworld members charged in the Russia probe to sweat.
Maddow first explained the circumstances surrounding the indictment and guilty plea of Richard Pinedo, an American who ran "an illicit business online where he bought and sold bank account information and helped people set up PayPal accounts using that stolen information."
"The Russians involved in the online propaganda effort to tilt the 2016 election to Donald Trump, they used accounts they said up with his help to buy online ads and to pay for other stuff related to their part of the election interference scheme," the host added. "Today, Richard Pinedo got sentenced for that."
Pinedo's guilty plea, Maddow added, came down the same day in February that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups.
The host proceeded to read a curious exchange in the transcript of Pinedo's sentencing in which the defendant's role in the special counsel's probe made the job of the judge in his identity theft trial that much harder.
During a back-and-forth exchange between the judge and one of Mueller's prosecutors, the judge attempted to learn "how much Richard Pinedo helped them as a cooperator because, of course, the judge needs to factor that in when deciding on the sentence."
The special counsel's prosecutors, Maddow noted, had to "pussyfoot around this issue because of cases that haven't been charged yet" gleaned from Pinedo's cooperation. Those cases, she added, would have been brought after the information was referred to other U.S. attorneys' offices because it fell outside the purview of Mueller's Russia probe.
Ultimately, Pinedo was sentenced to six months in federal prison, six months house arrest and two years probation — the lowest end of the sentencing guidelines for his crimes and "the longest sentence yet in the Mueller investigation."
"As such, it probably means something to these guys who are all awaiting their own sentences in the Russia scandal," Maddow said. "Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Mike Flynn, Michael Cohen — all awaiting federal sentencing right now."
"It has to land with a thud that the other cooperator with a guilty plea in this case, the one nobody who has ever heard of, the bit player — today he got six months in federal prison," she added.
Watch below via MSNBC: