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Reporter Trolls Trump After Judge Orders White House To Reinstate His Press Pass ‘Immediately’

Brian Karem

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the White House’s decision to revoke the press pass of reporter Brian Karem over a Rose Garden showdown in July with former White House aide Sebastian Gorka.

U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras issued a decision Tuesday evening granting a preliminary injunction restoring Karem’s so-called “hard pass” on the grounds that the reporter had no clear notice of the rules governing press behavior at events like the presidential appearance that preceded the heated exchange.

At the Rose Garden event in July, Karem and Gorka traded insults, which were caught on video and quickly went viral. Karem was heard saying, “This is a group of people who are eager for demonic possession.” In turn, Gorka was heard saying: “You’re not a journalist — you’re a punk!”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Karem’s behavior had violated standards of “professionalism” and “decorum” as a reason to suspend Karem’s press pass. She also argued that the White House made those standards clear last November following an incident involving an effort by CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta to hang on to a microphone as a press aide sought to take it away.

However, Contreras said a four-decade-old federal appeals court precedent regarding White House press credentials requires that such rules be clear and that they be laid out in advance. He said it wasn’t clear that Grisham’s letter about Acosta applied at events others than formal press conferences — nor was it evident how one would apply the vague principles Grisham touted.

“’White House events’ appear to vary greatly in character. Thus, without any contextual guideposts, ‘professionalism,’ standing alone, remains too murky to provide fair notice here,” Contreras wrote in a 24-page opinion. “What is deemed ‘professional’ behavior in the context of a state dinner may be very different from what is considered ‘professional’ behavior during a performance by James Brown.”

Karem expressed joy on Twitter.

“God bless the Constitution, free speech, due process and ⁦@BoutrousTed⁩ and his great legal team,“ he tweeted, referring to attorney Ted Boutrous.

He also took a jab at Donald Trump.

His sentiments were echoed by Jonathan Karl, president of the White House Correspondents‘ Association: “The WHCA is gratified the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia acted to uphold the due process rights of one of our members.”


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