White House again threatens Acosta's pass

Jamaica Gleaner

The White House won't try to revoke a "hard pass" press credential for CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, Fox News reported Monday.

In a filing on Monday, CNN and Acosta asked for an expedited hearing next week after top White House communications officials told Acosta in a letter late on Friday that it had already made a decision to suspend his pass once the two-week restraining order expires.

President Donald Trump watches as a White House aide reaches to take away a microphone from CNN journalist Jim Acosta during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

The statement from the cable news channel came just three days after a federal judge ordered the White House to allow Acosta's return citing a lack of "due process" - without ruling on CNN's argument that the ejection violated constitutional free press guarantees.

CNN has filed a suit against the Trump administration, claiming that by their actions they had violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the US Constitution.

A judge last week issued a ruling of a "limited nature" that restored Acosta's credentials temporarily while a CNN lawsuit against the administration proceeds.

Since the judge criticized the government for not following due process before banning Acosta on November 7, the new letter looks like an effort to establish a paper trail that could empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month.

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"This is a high-risk confrontation for both sides", Mike Allen of Axios wrote in a Monday item about Trump's new targeting of Acosta.

It said the White House expected to make its final decision on Acosta's credentials by 3pm local time on Friday. He did not address any alleged First Amendment violations. Lawyers for CNN responded Monday by filing for an emergency hearing the week after Thanksgiving, "or as soon thereafter as possible". His hard pass was revoked later that day.

As it stands, Acosta is guaranteed use of his press pass to the White House through the end of the month.

The report says that CNN had meant to "resolve this dispute amicably" by working with the White House and the White House Correspondents' Association "to establish protocols" for press conferences "on a going forward basis".

Such move would likely spark more litigation against the White House.

For his part, Trump has said the issue is "not a big deal."

Mr Trump erupted into anger during a news conference when Acosta questioned him about the so-called migrant caravan travelling through Mexico and about an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

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