CNN filed suit Tuesday against the Trump administration after the White House yanked the ‘hard pass’ credential for White House correspondent Jim Acosta after he clashed with President Donald Trump.
The networks’s suit, filed by former George W. Bush lawyer Ted Olson, demands Acosta’s credentials immediately be returned.
Acosta, who got in a heated clash with the president during a televised press conference last week, lost access to the building Wednesday night.
The administration revoked the credential last week following President Trump’s contentious news conference, where Acosta refused to give up a microphone when the president said he didn’t want to hear anything more from him.
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Acosta saw his press credentials rescinded Wednesday after he clashed with an intern over a press conference microphone
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C., District Court.
CNN claims the revocation of Acosta’s press pass violates the constitutional rights to freedom on the press and due process. CNN is asking for an immediate restraining order to return Acosta to the White House.
‘CNN filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration this morning in DC District Court,’ according to the network’s statement.
‘It demands the return of the White House credentials of CNN’s Chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process.,’ the suit adds.
‘We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process.’
The suit names as defendants Trump, chief of staff John Kelly, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications and former Fox News executive Bill Shine, the Secret Service director and the agent who took away his credentials.
The network is seeking a preliminary injunction, having already written the White House demanding the return of Acosta’s credentials.
The White House Correspondents’ Association, which represents various media outlets, in a statement said it ‘strongly supports CNN’s goal of seeing their correspondent regain a US Secret Service security credential that the White House should not have taken away in the first place.’
There was no immediate comment from the administration.
Acosta was banned from the White House last week after a heated exchange with President Trump during a press conference in which an intern tried to take his microphone away
Acosta, who has frequently clashed with President Trump during persistent questioning, lost access to the White House on Wednesday night
CNN’s lawyers say Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment constitutional rights were violated
Floyd Abrams, a veteran lawyer and expert in First Amendment law, told CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday that the network had a strong case after Acosta’s press access was revoked last week.
‘I think it’s a really strong lawsuit,’ Abrams said.
‘I can understand CNN being reluctant to sue because the president keeps saying CNN is the enemy of me, and CNN might have reluctance to have a lawsuit titled ‘CNN vs. Donald Trump.’ That said, yes, I think they should sue,’ he said.
Former ABC News reporter and anchor Sam Donaldson also appeared on the program and revealed he had been asked to help prepare an affidavit to support CNN’s case.
He described the decision to ban Acosta as ‘not only wrong and unfair’ but also ‘dangerous for the press as a whole’.
Even as he had lost his access to the White House, Acosta tweeted a defiant message to Trump from Paris Friday, saying he intended to cover the president’s trip there despite being stripped of his press credentials.
The reporter tweeted a view of the Eiffel Tower and said: ‘Greetings from Paris where we are on the ground for Trump’s trip to France. #1A’
The hashtag was a reference to the first amendment, which guarantees freedom of the press.
Sanders went after Acosta in a White House statement immediately after the incident, and tweeted video of the encounter that it soon emerged contained sped-up footage that accentuated the minor physical contact and made it look as if Acosta delivered a karate chop to the staffer the White House identified as an intern.
A video expert claimed it was doctored to make Acosta’s conduct appear more aggressive.
A frame-by-frame comparison with the original clip appeared to show that the one tweeted by Sanders was altered to speed up Acosta’s arm movement as he pulled the mic away from her.
The edit was spotted by Abba Shapiro, an independent video producer who examined the footage. Shapiro noticed that frames in the tweeted video didn’t match those in the original.
The tweeted video also does not have any audio, which Shapiro said would make it easier to doctor.
‘We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video,’ Sanders tweeted from her official ‘@PressSec’ account last week.
In her statement announcing Acosta’s suspension, Sanders said the White House won’t tolerate ‘a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job.’
While the origin of the manipulated video is unclear, its distribution marked a new low for an administration that has been criticized for its willingness to mislead.
The White House News Photographers Association decried the sharing of the footage.
‘As visual journalists, we know that manipulating images is manipulating truth,’ said Whitney Shefte, the association’s president.
‘It’s deceptive, dangerous and unethical. Knowingly sharing manipulated images is equally problematic, particularly when the person sharing them is a representative of our country’s highest office with vast influence over public opinion.’
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted the clip to justify the White House’s decision to revoke Acosta’s press pass