White House Calls Lawsuit 'More Grandstanding From CNN'

14 November, 2018, 06:08 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • CNN's Acosta denied entry to White House following aggressive Trump press-conference

"Mr. Acosta's press credentials must be restored so that all members of the press know they will remain free to ask tough questions, challenge government officials and report the business of the nation to the American people", said Theodore Olson, former USA solicitor general and one of CNN's lawyers on the case. This is just more grandstanding from CNN, and we will vigorously defend against this lawsuit.

Gibson Dunn global litigation co-chair Ted Boutrous and Washington D.C. partner Ted Olson are advising on the lawsuit that aims to restore Acosta's White House press pass, where he has covered the Trump administration for CNN.

The row on live national television and Acosta's resulting banishment triggered a wave of accusations that Trump is stifling the free press, and marked a sharp escalation in tensions between the president and CNN, a frequent target of his ire.

The network filed a lawsuit Tuesday, after the White House revoked correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials following an incident in which Acosta refused to surrender the microphone and physically touched a White House aide attempting to take it away from him at a press conference last Wednesday. "The White House can not run an orderly and fair press conference when a reporter acts this way, which is neither appropriate nor professional".

"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", CNN said, warning that Acosta's credential suspension could set a precedent for future attacks on other outlets. The White House Press Office then forwards the application to the Secret Service for a security check, including a background investigation conducted by the FBI. But that rationale disappeared after witnesses backed Acosta's account that he was just trying to keep the mic, and Sanders distributed a doctored video that made it appear Acosta was more aggressive than he actually was. While presidents have squared off against individual reporters in the past, media credentials are rarely revoked for a working reporter who regularly covers the White House.

"The government can not exclude reporters from [the White House] due to their views", said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. But lower court judges cited both First and Fifth Amendment grounds in ruling for reporters and against the Secret Service.

"CNN's argument is very straightforward", the lawyer told the USA network. Additionally, the individual also needs to reside in the Washington, D.C. area, and report from the White House on a regular basis.

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"That is what happened". The First Amendment protects journalists against arbitrary restrictions by government officials.

In addition to requesting the return of the journalist's pass, the network is seeking "a declaration that the revocation of Acosta's press was unconstitutional", according to the filing. CNN CEO Jeff Zucker, in a letter to White House chief of staff John Kelly, called Trump's attitude toward CNN a "pattern of targeted harassment".

"The president of the United States should not be in the business of arbitrarily picking the men and women who cover him", Knox said.

U.S. news channel CNN has sued President Donald Trump days after the White House suspended the credentials of one of its reporters for grilling the American President.

There doesn't seem to be a constitutional violation here, so what is CNN suing for, other than attention?

"It would be awful for the public, and for our democracy, if reporters questioning the president had to operate under an ever-present threat of this kind of retaliation", said the institute's executive director Jameel Jaffer.


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