White House again threatens CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press credentials

20 November, 2018, 01:26 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Jamaica Gleaner

In court, US government lawyers said there was no First Amendment right of access to the White House and that Acosta was penalized for acting rudely at the news conference and not for his criticism of the president. Acosta was stripped of his credentials, without warning, when he returned to the White House, where he works daily, after a heated exchange between Trump and Acosta at a press conference on November 7. He contends Judge Kelly was intentionally careful in his ruling. He did not rule on CNN's argument that the revocation of Acosta's press pass was a violation of his and the network's First Amendment rights. It was signed by two of the defendants in the suit, press secretary Sarah Sanders and deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine. The White House made its point, and reporters may think twice before pressing Ms Sanders, or the president, quite as hard with their questions.

These include allowing only a single question from each journalist. "We'll have rules of decorum, you know you can't keep asking questions", Trump said. You can't give notice after taking official action, though; due process typically requires giving the person being targeted a chance to make his case before the government acts.

One of the reasons the judge reinstated the press pass is because the White House didn't seem to give an explanation for their decision or offer due process.

CNN's lawyers had signaled a willingness to settle after prevailing in court on Friday.

"This is a high-risk confrontation for both sides", Mike Allen of Axios wrote in a Monday item about Trump's new targeting of Acosta.


All of this was detailed by CNN in a progress report filed in court on Monday.

They are seeking a hearing "for the week of November 26, 2018, or as soon thereafter as possible", according to the court filing. The White House had considered only restoring the pass temporarily for the time required by the judge, but it caved and issued a full restoration Monday.

The White House opposed the request for an emergency hearing, writing in response to the court: "Not only is there no "emergency" right now, it is impossible to know at this point whether next steps are necessary, much less what those steps should be".

If the White House were to seek again to pull the hard pass, it would have required the administration to first ask a federal judge to lift a court order. Several prominent U.S. media outlets, including Fox News, CBS, and ABC, have supported CNN's suit. The White House reminded the reporter that he would be stripped of his pass again when the injunction expires.

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