CNN files lawsuit against Trump administration over Jim Acosta's White House credentials

Pauline Gross
November 13, 2018

Did the White House share a doctored video of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's encounter with an intern during a testy exchange with President Trump?

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning.

Mr Acosta has had his White House media credentials withdrawn following a fiery row with Trump during a Presidential press conference yesterday.

On Friday, CNN sent a letter to the White House formally requesting the immediate reinstatement of Acosta's pass and warning of a possible lawsuit, the network confirmed. The First Amendment protects journalists against arbitrary restrictions by government officials.

Trump has regularly besmirched CNN as "fake news" and the "enemy of the people," haranguing its reporters during press conferences and media availabilities over what he perceives to be the network's unfavorable coverage of him. Trump responded in a vicious tone, "What a stupid question".

And they come just days after Trump's post-election press conference in which he attacked PBS News Hour's Yamiche Alcindor, another woman reporter of color, calling her perfectly reasonable question about Trump and white nationalists "racist".

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In a statement, the White House Correspondents Association said it "strongly supports" the suit.

The lawsuit argues, "This severe and unprecedented punishment is the culmination of years of hostility by President Trump against CNN and Acosta based on the contents of their reporting - an unabashed attempt to censor the press and exclude reporters from the White House who challenge and dispute the President's point of view". CNN Communications (CNN's PR Twitter account) released a statement on Twitter that read, "This President's ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far".

CNN also asserted that other news organizations could have been targeted by the Trump administration this way, and could be in the future.

Acosta, meanwhile, is in Paris, where Trump will be landing later on Friday. "If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a unsafe chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials", CNN said in a statement. "When you are in the White House, this is a very sacred place to me, a very special place". Acosta then tried to pose a question about "pipe bombs" before he was again interrupted by another outburst.

"Otherwise, what's the criterion for pulling someone's press credentials?"

The site, InfoWars, has been a longtime supporter of Donald Trump's, and Trump has reciprocated the admiration with an interview when he was running for president. He reportedly added that people weren't "treating the office of the president with respect".

Other reports by GizPress

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