The Trump administration suffered a setback Friday when a federal judge ordered The White House to immediately reinstate CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press credentials. The decision is being heralded as a victory for CNN and all of the other news outlets, including Fox, that were supporting Acosta and his desire to have his credentials reinstated.
“U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly, who was appointed by President Donald Trump last year, said CNN’s attorneys were likely to prevail in their argument that the White House had violated Acosta’s and the network’s First and Fifth Amendment rights,” The Huffington Post writes.
Kelly noted that The White House’s process for revoking Acosta’s press pass was “shrouded in mystery.”
“We are gratified with this result and we look forward to a full resolution in the coming days,” CNN responded in their statement. “Our sincere thanks to all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American press.”
The White was quick to respond. White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said the administration would reinstate Mr. Acosta’s pass but noted that the Trump team would “develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future.”
The President echoed this in a press conference moments later.
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) November 16, 2018
The matter of Jim Acosta’s press pass came after the reporter got into a verbal altercation with President Trump during a press conference on November 7th. The reporter wanted to challenge Trump’s assertions about the migrant caravan. The White House then suspended Acosta’s press pass.
President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern…
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration,” she said. “We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”
“White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced in a statement that Acosta would be stripped of what’s known as a ‘hard pass,’ which gives him access to the White House grounds,” CNN writes. The reason, as it was related by Sanders, is that he put his hands on a White House intern who tried to take the mic from Acosta during the heated exchange.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) November 8, 2018
CNN released a statement claiming the suspension “was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today’s press conference.”
“In an explanation, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders lied. She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened. This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support.”
I’ve just been denied entrance to the WH. Secret Service just informed me I cannot enter the WH grounds for my 8pm hit
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 8, 2018
Acosta found out about the suspension when he was reporting to a live broadcast of “Anderson Cooper 360” that was featuring Acosta’s reporting from The White House.
“I’ve just been denied entrance to the WH,” Acosta tweeted. “Secret Service just informed me I cannot enter the WH grounds for my 8pm hit.”
The US Secret Service just asked for my credential to enter the WH. As I told the officer, I don’t blame him. I know he’s just doing his job. (Sorry this video is not rightside up) pic.twitter.com/juQeuj3B9R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 8, 2018
“I was just told to do it,” the officer said on the recording.
“I am now giving my hard pass to the Secret Service,” Acosta said.
I was seated next to @Acosta at today’s press conference and did not witness him “placing his hands” on the young intern, as the White House alleges. He held on to the microphone as she reached for it. The @Reuters pictures below depict what happened accurately. pic.twitter.com/nO68Hf4eQM
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) November 8, 2018
Here is the full text of the official White House explanation:
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. 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. Contrary to CNN’s assertions, there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today. Only they would attack the President for not being supportive of a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters over the course of an hour and a half — including several from the reporter in question.”
“The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it is an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration. As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.”