CNN Seeks Hearing After White House Again Vows to Yank Reporter's Access

Tuesday, 20 Nov, 2018

CNN said on Monday it asked for a new emergency hearing to allow its reporter Jim Acosta to remain at the White House, saying officials are threatening to again revoke his press pass.

"Having received a formal reply from your counsel to our letter of November 16, we have made a final determination in this process: your hard pass is restored", the White House said in a new letter to Acosta. CNN argued that it violated the network and Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights.

Since the judge criticized the government for not following due process before banning Acosta on November 7, the new letter looks like an effort to establish a paper trail that could empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month. The letter from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Communications Director Bill Shine, says that the president is "aware of this preliminary decision and concurs". But the White House wasted no time informing Acosta of a "preliminary decision" to suspend his pass after that period is up. "President Trump believes strongly in the First Amendment, and a free press and is the most accessible President in modern history".

One of the reasons the judge reinstated the press pass is because the White House didn't seem to give an explanation for their decision or offer due process. Lawyers for CNN responded Monday by filing for an emergency hearing the week after Thanksgiving, "or as soon thereafter as possible".

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The White House said Acosta would continue to hold his credentials while the 14-day judge's order was in effect. Ted Boutrous, an attorney representing CNN and Acosta, said they would welcome "a resolution that makes the most sense so everyone can get out of court and get back to their work". On Friday, Trump said that "rules and regulations" were being drafted to govern news conferences, where the president or his representatives often accuse journalists - Acosta in particular - of being overly hostile.

Mr Trump erupted into anger during a news conference when Acosta questioned him about the so-called migrant caravan travelling through Mexico and about an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists;(2) At the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor;(3) "Yielding the floor" includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner.