Kaine: 'You'll see Congress erupt' if Trump starts issuing pardons

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — McConnell, Kaine offer bill to raise tobacco buying age to 21 | Measles outbreak spreads to 24 states | Pro-ObamaCare group launches ad blitz to protect Dems McConnell, Kaine introduce bill to raise tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21 MORE (D-Va.) on Thursday cautioned President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE against using pardons for potential witnesses in investigations amid reports that an attorney for the president's former personal lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenCohen says Trump attorney told him to say Trump Tower talks ended earlier than they did Cohen told lawmakers that Trump lawyer Sekulow instructed him to lie about Moscow tower project: report Stormy Daniels reaches settlement with Michael Cohen, ex-lawyer  MORE raised the prospect of a pardon with Trump's lawyers last year.

"If you start to see this president use pardon power for people who are connected with this investigation, I think you’ll see Congress erupt," Kaine said in an appearance on CNN's "New Day."

The Virginia Democrat's comments came after Cohen's current attorney, Lanny Davis, told The Wall Street Journal that Cohen directed his former attorney last summer “to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump.”

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The Journal had previously reported that Cohen's former lawyer raised the possibility of a pardon with Giuliani and other Trump attorneys after an April FBI raid of Cohen's home and office.

Cohen, who worked for nearly a decade as the president's longtime attorney and "fixer," testified last week to lawmakers that he has "never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump."

Kaine indicated the comments from Cohen's attorney give reason to further inquire about Cohen's testimony.

"That’s what Michael Cohen says, and then a current lawyer says a former lawyer said something about what Cohen did another time," Kaine said. "That’s not the same thing as direct evidence that would suggest he’s not being truthful. It’s something I think you’d want to inquire into."

Cohen testified last week that Trump is a "racist" and a "cheat," and implicated the president in potential criminal activity. Cohen is set to begin a three-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to bank fraud, tax fraud, campaign finance law violations and lying to Congress.

Trump has accused Cohen of lying to prosecutors to secure a lighter prison sentence.