Rubio to Trump: Pardoning Manafort ‘would be a huge political mistake’

WASHINGTON — On Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) implored President Trump not to pardon former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

“It would be a mistake. And I would strongly counsel against it,” Rubio told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

The Florida Republican explained that he didn’t believe the presidential pardon power was created to use for these types of purposes.

“I think it would be the wrong thing to do and I think it would be a huge political mistake as well,” Rubio said on “State of the Union.” “I hope that doesn’t happen.”

In an Oval Office sit-down with The Post late last month, the president said a pardon for Manafort was “not off the table.”

“It was never discussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?” Trump said.

Manafort has been jailed since June and in August was convicted of eight felonies, including bank and tax fraud. He escaped a second trial by filing a guilty plea in September. But on Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office accused Manafort of violating that plea deal by lying to federal prosecutors about his contacts with the Trump administration.

Mueller also accused Manafort of lying about his contact with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former employee who’s suspected of having Russian intelligence ties.

Speaking to ABC’s Martha Raddatz on “This Week,” Rubio also suggested that if the president were to pardon Manafort “it could trigger a debate about whether the pardon power should be amended, given these circumstances.”

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