(NEW YORK) — Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said repeatedly that President Donald Trump pardoning former campaign chairman Paul Manafort would be a “terrible mistake,” and that doing so could possibly “trigger a debate about whether the pardon powers should be amended.”
“I think that would be a terrible mistake” if Trump pardoned Manafort, Rubio said on This Week Sunday. “I really do. I believe it’d be a terrible mistake. Pardons should be used judiciously. They’re used for cases with extraordinary circumstances.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller has accused Manafort of lying about his contacts with administration officials in 2018 and at least four other details related to his probe of Russian election meddling during the 2016 campaign.
As ABC News confirmed, Manafort’s legal team had been sharing information about his interactions with the special counsel with the president’s legal team — a story that was first reported by The New York Times.
This reignited speculation that Manafort could be angling for a pardon from Trump.
Trump last week told the New York Post that though a pardon for Manafort had never been discussed, he “wouldn’t take it off the table.”
“I don’t believe that any pardons should be used with relation to these particular cases, frankly,” Rubio told This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz. “Not only does it not pass the smell test, I just think it undermines the reason why we have presidential pardons in the first place. And I think, in fact, that if something like that were to happen, it could trigger a debate about whether the pardon powers should be amended given these circumstances, so I hope that they don’t do that. It would be a terrible mistake if they did.”
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