CNN Sues Trump to Restore James Acosta's Press Credentials

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on November 14, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

President Donald Trump relationship with the media has been less than cordial. And his relationship with CNN has varied somewhere between icy and cold war. At a press conference in England this past summer, he told CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, "CNN is fake news, I don't take questions from CNN."

But Trump did take a question from CNN last week, from Acosta in fact, and again refused to answer, choosing the nuclear option. Hours later, the Trump administration revoked Acosta's "hard pass," which gave him access to the White House and presidential press briefings. And now CNN is suing Trump, as well as his chief of staff and press secretary, claiming pulling Acosta's press pass is unconstitutional. You can see that lawsuit below.

Hard Questions and a Hard Pass

Last Wednesday, when Acosta attempted to ask Trump about his comments on a migrant caravan from Central America, Trump brushed him aside: "You know what? I think you should ... I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN. And if you did it well, your ratings would be much better." (Trump had actually selected Acosta to ask the first question when he opened the press conference up for questions.) Acosta attempted to ask a follow-up question, Trump again refused to take it, and a White House staffer attempted to grab a microphone from the reporter.

"The staffer reached all the way across Acosta's body, successfully latched onto the microphone, and physically attempted to remove it from Acosta's right hand," according to CNN's lawsuit. "Acosta held onto the microphone, stated 'Pardon me, ma'am,' and continued to ask his question."

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders characterized that exchange as "absolutely unacceptable," accused Acosta of "placing his hands" on the staffer, and stated "[w]e will not tolerate this inappropriate behavior." Acosta's hard pass was revoked, and he was denied access to the White House.

Unacceptable to Unconstitutional

CNN is claiming that revocation violated the First Amendment's freedom of press protections, and are asking the court for an "[i]mmediate restoration of Acosta's press credentials and hard pass." Here is the full lawsuit:

CNN Complaint v Trump by FindLaw on Scribd

Copied to clipboard