White House Reinstates Jim Acosta's Press Pass, CNN Dropping Lawsuit

Jamaica Gleaner

In a preliminary ruling on Friday, a Washington DC judge said the administration had not provided sufficient justification for the revocation, and Acosta's constitutional rights outweighed the White House's right to have an orderly news conference.

The conflict between CNN and the White House began after the latter revoked Jim Acosta's press pass over a breach of protocol when he refused to let go of the microphone during a press conference with President Donald Trump.

On Friday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly - a Trump appointee - said he was giving Acosta his "hard pass" back while a lawsuit is winding its way through the courts because the White House didn't give the CNN reporter due process.

In a statement about the letter on Sunday, CNN said: "The White House is continuing to violate the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution". You can't give notice after taking official action, though; due process typically requires giving the person being targeted a chance to make his case before the government acts.

The letter signaled that the Trump administration wants to continue fighting Acosta, despite the round one setback in court, rather than seeking an out-of-court settlement. "President Trump believes strongly in the First Amendment, and a free press and is the most accessible President in modern history".

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"Today the @WhiteHouse fully restored @Acosta's press pass", the CNN public relations account wrote. Late Friday, top officials named as defendants in the suit from CNN and Acosta suggested that the "preliminary" decision to revoke Acosta's pass earlier this month could be final if he doesn't submit materials to argue his case by November 18, for a final decision November 19.

All of this was detailed by CNN in a progress report filed in court on Monday.

A preliminary injunction could be in effect for much longer than the temporary restraining order, thereby protecting Acosta's access to the White House.

A federal judge on Friday forced the White House to return Acosta's credentials.

Trump has called for more "decorum" at the White House and has said staff is "writing up rules and regulations" for reporters. The November 7 quarrel between the journalist and the President of the United States now has the WH planning to draw up rules of conduct it hopes will discourage others in the press room from following Acosta's lead. Kelly would have found, I think, that Acosta's habit of talking over people at a press conference simply isn't a "compelling" enough reason to ban him from the grounds entirely.

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