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

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin Health care moves to center stage in Democratic primary fight Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress MORE (D-Va.) on Thursday cautioned President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE against using pardons for potential witnesses in investigations amid reports that an attorney for the president's former personal lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenJudiciary chair demands Hope Hicks clarify closed-door testimony Court filings show Trump, Cohen contacts amid hush money payments Judge says probe tied to Trump hush-money payments is over 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.