Donald Trump on Tuesday took exception to ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl, publicly dismissing his query as a “stupid question” before moving on, Fox News is reporting.
At a White House press conference with French president Emmanuel Macron, Karl asked the 45th president if he would be opening to pardoning his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Trump was apparently not impressed with that question.
“Stupid question. Anybody else, please?”
Last week, the FBI raided the New York home, office, and hotel room of Trump’s attorney, seizing documents and emails in the process. As of this writing, the reason for the raid remains unclear. But according to an April 9 Business Insider report, Cohen’s $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair between herself and Trump, may have violated campaign finance law. Further, according to Fox News, investigators are looking into possible bank fraud.
As of this writing, Cohen has not been charged with any crimes.
Karl, for his part, doesn’t seem to have come out any worse for wear after being publicly chastised by the president, according to a tweet later Tuesday afternoon.
“I also asked the President if he is considering pardoning Michael Cohen. He pointed at me and said ‘Stupid question.'”
— FoxNewsInsider (@FoxNewsInsider) April 24, 2018
Karl is getting no sympathy over at Fox News. According to a companion Fox News Insider report, at least one journalist — Campus Reform editor-in-chief Lawrence Jones — has had enough of Karl, and other reporters, providing “biased” coverage of the president.
“I’m so sick of this. It is ticking me off. I don’t know how you can still call yourself a journalist.”
Karl notes that, since Cohen has not been accused of, or charged with, any crimes, any talk of a presidential pardon “makes no sense” right now.
Similarly, at least one Democrat thinks that Karl could have at least chosen a better time to ask about Cohen. Democrat Jessica Tarlov believes that a joint press conference with a foreign leader was definitely not the right time.
“When you have [Macron’s] state visit going on and you’re talking about North Korea, Syria, the Paris accords…. Maybe today is the day to ask Sarah Sanders about Michael Cohen, not the President of the United States.”
As to whether or not Trump could preemptively pardon Cohen, the answer is an unqualified “yes,” according to Forbes. He can pardon anyone for any reason, regardless of whether they’ve even been charged with a crime. In fact, other presidents have done just that — that is, issuing a preemptive pardon towards a person who hasn’t even been charged with a crime. Perhaps the most famous case comes from the early 70’s, when Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, who had not been charged with any crimes.