CNN is suing President Donald Trump and several of his aides in order to get their chief White House correspondent’s press pass reinstated. Jim Acosta’s access was revoked last week after a particularly fraught back and forth between him and the president. However, the White House tried to blame it on Acosta laying his hands on a female intern, an event that never happened.
The lawsuit alleges that taking away Acosta’s Secret Service “hard pass” violated both CNN’s and Jim Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights. The defendants named in the case are Trump, press secretary Sarah Sanders, chief of staff John Kelly, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, Secret Service director Randolph Alles, and the Secret Service officer who actually physically took Acosta’s hard pass away (listed as John Doe).
On Tuesday morning, CNN issued a statement saying that it’s seeking a preliminary injunction so that Acosta can start reporting from the White House again right away.
This morning, CNN filed a lawsuit against @realDonaldTrump and top aides. The White House has violated CNN and @Acosta‘s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and Fifth Amendment rights to due process. Complaint: https://t.co/43oX6L8xA7 pic.twitter.com/RvJ0Cgh6oi
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) November 13, 2018
The end of CNN’s statement reads, “While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone. If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.” You can read all of CNN’s lawsuit here.
In an internal memo to staff, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker wrote, “This is not a step we have taken lightly.”
In response, the White House accused CNN of “grandstanding,” and claimed that the administration will “vigorously defend” itself. It also points out that CNN has “nearly 50 additional hard pass holders,” but clearly, that is not the point.
Also, the White House seems to have changed its story on just why Acosta’s pass was revoked in the first place. The statement reads, “After Mr. Acosta asked the President two questions—each of which the President answered—he physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions. This was not the first time this reporter has inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters.”
The ACLU backed CNN, saying “it is un-American and unlawful for the president to expel a reporter from the WH briefing room for doing his job. It shouldn’t take a lawsuit from CNN to remind the president of the First Amendment.”
h/t The Daily Dot