CNN has called for an emergency hearing following the White House’s threat to pull Jim Acosta’s press credentials again.
After a federal judge ordered a temporary restoration of the White House correspondent’s press pass, which was temporarily suspended after Acosta’s tense press conference exchange with President Trump, CNN’s Brian Stelter revealed that White House officials told Acosta he would again be denied access to press briefings after the temporary injunction runs out.
“After CNN won a temporary restraining order on Friday, forcing the White House to restore his press pass for 14 days, White House officials sent Acosta a letter stating that his pass is set to be suspended again once the restraining order expires,” Stelter reported on Sunday in a newsletter.
“From the looks of the letter, the W.H. is trying to establish a paper trail that will empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month,” the CNN senior media correspondent said.
Friday’s court ruling means that a temporary restraining order is in effect for 14 days. But W.H. officials sent @Acosta a letter stating that his press pass is set to be suspended again once the restraining order expires… https://t.co/yML7r7ymmM
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 19, 2018
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and White House deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine had reportedly signed the letter, which said the “preliminary decision” to revoke Acosta’s press pass would be “final” soon.
“The White House is continuing to violate the First and 5th Amendments of the Constitution,” the network said in a statement Sunday. “These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and the President.”
CNN on Monday requested an emergency hearing in U.S. District Court with lawyers calling the letter an “attempt to provide retroactive due process.”
“To say the least, the letter is a disappointing response to the court’s decision and our attempts to resolve the matter amicably,” Acosta’s attorney wrote in response. “More fundamentally, though, it is further evidence of your clients’ animus towards Mr. Acosta based on his work as CNN’s chief White House correspondent.”
Acosta’s legal team “will seek expedited discovery, including depositions, from all defendants on their intentions and their conduct,” the response read.
CNN has called for a hearing on a preliminary injunction during “the week of November 26, 2018, or as soon thereafter as possible.”
U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly ruled last week that the White House should have given Acosta due process before taking away his “hard pass” and that the reporter had already suffered harm. The Trump-appointed judge then ruled that Acosta’s pass be temporarily restored.
CNN attorney Ted Boutrous indicated after Friday’s decision that the network would welcome “a resolution that makes the most sense so everyone can get out of court and get back to their work.” But the new court filing on Monday contends that the defendants “did not respond to this offer to cooperate,” CNN reported.
“Far from constituting an ’emergency,’ the White House’s initiation of a process to consider suspending Mr. Acosta’s hard pass is something this Court’s Order anticipated,” government lawyers said, calling the CNN motion a “self-styled ’emergency.'”
Trump told Fox News’ Chris Wallace in an interview Sunday that the administration is putting new rules in place following the judge’s decision last week.
“Yeah, it’s fine, I mean it’s not a big deal,” Trump said. “What they said, though, is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, et cetera, et cetera. We’re doing that, we’re going to write them up right now.”
The president added a thought about what will happen if Acosta “misbehaves” again.
“It’s not a big deal and if he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference,” Trump said.
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