UPDATE 2 — 11/19, 3:58 p.m. EST: On Friday, a Trump-appointed federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., Timothy Kelly, ordered the temporary restoration of CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press pass citing the First and Fifth amendments.
Despite threats to revoke access once the court order expired, the White House told Acosta in a letter Monday he will again be allowed to cover the Trump administration as an accredited media member.
The White House has also laid-out new rules governing media conduct at press conferences, including limiting journalists to one question each.
UPDATE — 11/14, 12:29 p.m. EST: The Justice Department filed a court document Wednesday in response to a CNN lawsuit arguing the White House has the legal right to discriminate against specific members of the media.
“The President and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists (and other members of the public) that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews, or which journalists they acknowledge at press conferences,” the filing read.
On Tuesday, CNN sued President Trump and six top White House staffers for the revocation of Jim Acosta’s press pass last week in violation of the First and Fifth Amendment.
The White House said Wednesday evening it had revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials following a heated exchange with President Trump during a post-election press conference.
This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question. President Trump has given the press more access than any President in history.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
The rationale for the action taken was Mr. Acosta had placed his hands on a White House employee attempting to remove a microphone from Acosta’s hands.
A measure which revokes the commentator’s “hard pass,” Acosta will not be allowed on White House grounds until the ban is lifted.
The controversy brewing over Acosta’s press credentials began 25 minutes into a Wednesday press conference in which Mr. Trump accepted a question from CNN’s White House correspondent.
Acosta, who was sitting directly in front of Trump as he presided over the news conference, rose and began his query saying he intended to “challenge” the president’s description of a migrant caravan traveling through Mexico destined for the U.S. as an “invasion.”
Disputing Acosta’s characterization of the caravan as a “group of migrants,” Trump abruptly interjected, saying the two disagreed and held differing opinions.
Acosta then asked if the president was “demonizing” immigrants, to which Trump responded “no,” and continued to say he wished for legal immigration practices.
Acosta then continued with a third question, inquiring over a campaign advertisement depicting immigrants overcoming walls, Trump, clearly agitated, abruptly sought to end the exchange.
Persisting, Acosta attempted to ask a question concerning Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, Trump repeatedly said: “That’s enough.”
As Acosta continued, a White House aide attempted to retrieve the microphone from Acosta, to which Acosta refused to relinquish.
When the White House aide persisted in her attempt to Acosta again raised his arm and retreated, backing away to avoid turning over the microphone to another reporter.
When Acosta pushed his question over any White House fear of indictments, Trump denounced the investigation as a “hoax,” walked away from the podium, returning to reprimand Acosta for his behavior and his mistreatment of Secretary Sanders.
Rebuking Acosta, Trump Said:
“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. You’re a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee Sanders is horrible. And the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
Defenders of the president say Acosta’s actions amounted to grandstanding and more hostility from an anti-Trump reporter.
Supporters of Acosta responded swiftly, accusing the White House of threatening America’s free press for banning a reporter.
Following Acosta’s White House access being pulled, the White House Correspondents’ Association issued a statement reading:
“The White House Correspondents’ Association strongly objects to the Trump Administration’s decision to use U.S. Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship.”
Despite his White House privileges being revoked, Acosta traveled to Paris, France, on Friday to cover Trump’s visit commemorating Armistice Day.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 9, 2018
[AP] [CNBC] [CNN] [Photo courtesy JIM WATSON, AFP/Getty Images via SFGate]