Saturday, November 17, 2018

US Judge orders White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press pass

The judge also found that Mr Acosta suffered "irreparable harm", as he dismissed the government's argument that CNN could send other reporters to cover the White House in his stead.



The White House has been ordered to return the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta with immediate effect. 
A judge made the ruling on Friday afternoon that his credentials must be returned.

US District Judge Timothy Kelly, who is hearing CNN's lawsuit challenging the revocation, said there should be a due process in place for limiting a journalist's access to the White House.


The White House had set out reasons for the ban in a tweet from press secretary Sarah Sanders and in a statement after CNN filed its lawsuit but the judge said those "belated efforts were hardly sufficient to satisfy due process".


Spat: Donald Trump at the press conference where Jim Acosta, right, was accused of placing his hands on the intern, pictured (AP)
With that in mind, he ordered the White House restore Mr Acosta's pass while the case is pending.
Mr Acosta thanked the judge and fellow journalists who supported him outside the court.
He said: "Let's go back to work!"
The judge also found that Mr Acosta suffered "irreparable harm", as he dismissed the government's argument that CNN could send other reporters to cover the White House in his stead.



Jim Acosta is CNN's chief White House correspondent (AP)

The suit by CNN alleges that Mr Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated by the suspension of his hard pass.
Though the judge did not rule on the underlying case he signalled CNN was likely to prevail in its claims and told attorneys to file additional court papers in the case by Monday.
The journalist, who is CNN's chief White House correspondent, was barred after an acrimonious press conference spat with President Donald Trump after the US midterm elections. 
Mr Trump called him a "rude, terrible person" before an intern tried to take the microphone from Mr Acosta, adding further to the controversy.



Trump and Jim Acosta's furious press conference showdown

Mr Trump’s press secretary Sarah Sanders said Mr Acosta had been barred for “placing his hands on a young woman” after that altercation. 
The judge determined this to be "likely untrue and at least partly based on evidence that was of questionable accuracy."
The incident was further complicated when there was discussions over the footage of the incident the Press Secretary shared, which people stated not to be the original and some accused of being doctored. 
CNN had previously hit back at the “fraudulent” allegations against Mr Acosta which subsequently led to the lawsuit against the Trump Administration being filed in DC District Court. 




White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders wrote about the incident in the aftermath (AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Ms Sanders also accused Mr Acosta of being unprofessional for what she deemed as an attempt to dominate the press conference. 
As well as the rulings he made, the judge stated he could not state who made the decision to take the pass and said : "Whatever process occurred within the government is still so shrouded in mystery that the government at oral argument could not tell me who made the initial decision to revoke Mr. Acosta's press pass."
Responding to the judge's ruling, CNN and Mr Acosta released a statement which said: "We are gratified with this result and we look forward to a full resolution in the coming days.
"Our sincere thanks to all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American press.”
The argument between the pair began when Mr Acosta questioned Mr Trump's reference to the caravan as an invasion and Mr Trump defended the term.
"You should let me run the country," Mr Trump said. "You run CNN and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better."
Statement from CNN and on today’s ruling: “We are gratified with this result and we look forward to a full resolution in the coming days. Our sincere thanks to all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American press.”
After this, Mr Acosta asked about the investigation of Russia's involvement in the 2016 election.
At this point Mr Trump tried to turn to another reporter but Mr Acosta continued to ask questions.
"CNN should be ashamed of itself having you work for them," the president said to Mr Acosta.
"You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN. The way you treat Sarah Sanders is horrible.
“The way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn't treat people that way."
In the immediate aftermath, NBC's Peter Alexander defended Mr Acosta and said: "I've travelled with him and watched him.



Jim Acosta and Peter Alexander following the incident (Reuters)

"He's a diligent reporter who busts his butt like the rest of us."
Replying to Mr Alexander, Mr Trump said: "I'm not a big fan of yours, either.”
Mr Trump has often made his dislike of CNN known.
This has been from before he took office and continuing into his presidency, throughout which he has described the network as "fake news".--Credit: Standard.co.uk



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