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CNN sues Donald Trump and 5 White House aides demanding return of Jim Acosta's press credentials

CNN is suing the Donald Trump administration, demanding that its correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials to cover the White House be returned. The administration revoked Acosta's credentials last week following Trump's contentious news conference, where Acosta refused to give up a microphone when the president said he didn't want to hear anything more from him. This happened barely  24 hours after the midterm elections ended and Trump, visibly wound up and bristling, snapped repeatedly at Acosta and others. Trump reserved special ire for Acosta, ripping into his capabilities as a reporter and then went on to gut punch CNN too, which he routinely accuses of attacking him without reason and disparages as "Fake News!".

CNN's full complaint is linked here. CNN is reporting that its leadership reached out to Trump's chief of staff John Kelly before deciding to sue. Acosta's pass was suspended last Wednesday, 7 November. The following day, according to the suit, CNN president Jeff Zucker wrote to chief of staff John Kelly and requested that it be reinstated.

A White House staff member reaches for the microphone held by CNN's Jim Acosta as he questions Donald Trump. Reuters

A White House staff member reaches for the microphone held by CNN's Jim Acosta as he questions Donald Trump. Reuters

The lawsuit against the Trump White House was filed Tuesday in a Washington, D.C., District Court. CNN claims the revocation of Acosta's press pass violates the constitutional rights to freedom on the press and due process. CNN is asking for an immediate restraining order to return Acosta to the White House.

On Trump's trip in Paris over the weekend, the White House and the Secret Service continued to deny Acosta access to press events - including at a ceremony that he had acquired separate credentials to cover from the French government – according to the legal suit.

There was no immediate comment from the administration which is dealing with a bunch of post-midterm crises. After losing the House to the Democrats, the Republicans are staring down a not-so-great performance in the Senate too, as late results continue to trickle in and narrow the Republicans' lead in the Senate which Trump called a "tremendous success". Turns out, the numbers are coming back to almost where they were before the midterms. There's also increasing talk about soldiers who Trump ordered to guard the border being miffed at being used for a political stunt.

And now this.

Both CNN and Acosta are plaintiffs in the new lawsuit and there are six defendants: Trump, chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, Secret Service director Joseph Clancy, and the Secret Service officer who took Acosta's hard pass away last Wednesday. The officer is identified as John Doe in the suit, pending his identification. CNN reports that the six defendants are all named because of their roles in enforcing and announcing Acosta's suspension.

Last Wednesday, shortly after Acosta was denied entry to the White House grounds, Sanders defended the unprecedented step by claiming that he had behaved inappropriately at a presidential news conference. CNN and numerous journalism advocacy groups rejected that assertion and said his pass should be reinstated.
On Friday, CNN sent a letter to the White House formally requesting the immediate reinstatement of Acosta's pass and warning of a possible lawsuit, the network confirmed.

The White House Correspondents' Association said it "strongly supports CNN's goal of seeing their correspondent regain a US Secret Service security credential that the White House should not have taken away in the first place."

Trump's rant against Acosta is by no means an isolated case in this week's political circus. Trump went after another CNN reporter too - Abby Philip, when she asked about the Mueller probe. "What a stupid question you asked," Trump replied. "What a stupid question and I watch you a lot and you ask a lot of stupid questions."


Updated Date: Nov 14, 2018 02:47 AM

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