White House pulls press pass from CNN contributor, he vows to fight

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CNN and Playboy contributor Brian Karem has been barred from the White House, his press pass suspended for a month. It’s unclear what prompted the penalty, although Karem had a high-profile run-in with an ex-Trump aide before.

Karem announced his 30-day suspension on Twitter on Friday. The journalist said that it was communicated to him in an email sent by the White House shortly before 5pm. The suspension is effective as of Monday. In a follow-up tweet, the reporter indicated that he does not plan to simply wait out his suspension, and instead intends to appeal the move.

It’s unclear what prompted the White House to sanction Karem, with neither US President Donald Trump’s administration, nor the journalist himself providing any detail.

As can be seen from his Twitter feed, Karem was present at Trump’s most recent chat with the press on the White House lawn, several hours before he was told he was being suspended.

Karem posted two videos of himself grilling Trump on potential bailouts for US farmers suffering from the effects of the raging US-China trade war, as well as about who would be his next pick for Director of National Intelligence (DNI) after Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) withdrew from consideration, with Trump blaming “slander” and “libel” by the “lamestream” media. Trump appeared to have dodged or ignored both questions.

Both interactions appeared innocuous, and it’s unclear what could have triggered the White House. However, Karem did cause a stir about a month ago when his verbal back-and-forth with Trump’s former deputy assistant Dr Sebastian Gorka almost came to physical blows, with Gorka calling him “a punk” in the process.

Karem’s suspension is not the first for a CNN-linked journalist covering the White House. In November last year, the Trump administration pulled CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass, accusing him of “placing his hands” on a female White House intern who tried to wrestle a microphone away from him as he was haranguing Trump.

Acosta denied the accusations, while CNN argued that the suspension was nothing more than a push-back against “challenging questions” asked by their reporter. Acosta’s pass was subsequently reinstated by a federal court.