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

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Senators press FDA tobacco chief on status of vaping ban Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (D-Va.) on Thursday cautioned President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE against using pardons for potential witnesses in investigations amid reports that an attorney for the president's former personal lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenDC bars to open early for impeachment mania Ex-Trump campaign official testifies Stone gave updates on WikiLeaks email dumps Broadcast, cable news networks to preempt regular programming for Trump impeachment coverage 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.