Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

CNN Sues Trump Administration for Barring Jim Acosta From White House

CNN sued the Trump administration on Tuesday in an effort to reinstate the press credentials of its chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, escalating a dispute that has highlighted the increasingly tense dynamic between President Trump and the news media.

In a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court, the network argued that the removal of Mr. Acosta’s White House press pass constituted a violation of his First Amendment rights to freely report on the government. CNN also alleged that the administration had violated Mr. Acosta’s due process rights by revoking his credentials without warning.

Mr. Acosta, who has clashed with Mr. Trump on several occasions, angered Mr. Trump at a formal news conference on Wednesday with questions about immigration and the special counsel’s investigation. The CNN correspondent would not relinquish the microphone after Mr. Trump attempted to move onto another reporter.

Hours later, the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, announced that the administration had removed Mr. Acosta’s credentials, which allowed him access to the White House grounds. The administration claimed falsely that Mr. Acosta had placed his hands on a White House intern who had tried to take his microphone away during the news conference.

Complaint filed by CNN and Jim Acosta against President Trump and top White House aides

On Tuesday, the network and Mr. Acosta, a White House correspondent, sued over the revocation of his credentials.

“While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone,” CNN said in a statement on Tuesday. “If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”

Ms. Sanders is named as a defendant in the suit, along with Mr. Trump; his chief of staff, John Kelly; the head of White House communications strategy, Bill Shine; and the Secret Service.

The law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is representing CNN. The legal team includes Theodore B. Olson, who served as solicitor general under former President George W. Bush.

The White House Correspondents’ Association issued a statement on Tuesday in support of CNN and Mr. Acosta.

“Revoking access to the White House complex amounted to disproportionate reaction to the events of last Wednesday,” the group’s president, Olivier Knox, wrote. “The president of the United States should not be in the business of arbitrarily picking the men and women who cover him.”

The White House did not immediately response to a request for comment.

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