Rubio: Trump pardoning Manafort would be a 'terrible mistake'

Sen. Marco Rubio warned President Trump on Sunday that it would be a bad idea to pardon Paul Manafort.

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Rubio, R-Fla., said it would be a mistake for Trump to issue a pardon for his former campaign chairman after Special Counsel Robert Mueller accused Manafort of lying about his contacts with administration officials in 2018 and at least four other details related to the investigation into Russian election meddling during the 2016 campaign.

“I haven’t heard that the White House is thinking about doing it,” Rubio said. “I advise strongly against it. It would be terrible mistake."

Rubio added: “I don’t believe any pardon should be used in these cases. It doesn’t pass the smell test.”

In a filing released Friday evening, prosecutors said Manafort lied about his contacts with a Russian associate and Trump administration officials, including in 2018.

The court papers say Manafort initially told prosecutors he didn't have contact with any people while they were in the Trump administration. But prosecutors say they recovered "electronic documents" showing contacts with multiple administration officials not identified in the filings.

Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to several counts, violated his plea agreement by telling "multiple discernible lies" to prosecutors, they said.

Manafort resigned from his job on the Trump campaign as questions swirled about his lobbying work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.

Trump last month told the New York Post that while he has never discussed a pardon for Manafort, it’s “not off the table.”

“It was never discussed, but I wouldn’t take it off the table,” Trump said. “Why would I take it off the table?” the president said during an Oval Office interview.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.