Rubio: It would be a 'terrible mistake' for Trump to pardon Manafort

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game GOP eager to exploit Dem court-packing fight Rubio's pragmatic thinking on China MORE (R-Fla.) said Sunday that it would be a "terrible mistake" for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE to pardon former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortCollege admissions scandal underscores importance of attorney ethics in America Five things to watch for as White House readies for Mueller report As Russia collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges MORE.

“I think it would be a terrible mistake if he did that," Rubio told ABC's "This Week" when asked about Trump's comments that he would not take a pardon for Manafort off the table, saying it could "trigger a debate as to whether pardon powers should be amended.” 

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"Pardons should be used judiciously," Rubio said. "They're used for cases of extraordinary circumstances and I just haven't heard that the White House is thinking about doing it."

"I know he hasn’t ruled it out, but I haven't heard anyone say, we're thinking about doing it."

"I don't believe that any pardons should be used with a relation to these particular cases, frankly," Rubio added.

"Not only does it not pass the smell test, I think it undermines the reason that we have presidential pardons in the first place," he said.

Rubio made similar comments on CNN the same morning, calling it a "huge political mistake."

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's office said in a heavily redacted filing Friday that Manafort lied to prosecutors about his contacts with the White House and an associate with suspected ties to Russian intelligence after signing a plea agreement with Mueller's office.

The filing emerged more than a week after prosecutors accused Manafort of "committing federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the special counsel’s office on a variety of subject matters” in breach of his plea agreement.