Tuesday morning, cable network CNN sued the Trump administration over the revocation of press credentials for their White House reporter Jim Acosta. Trump had banned the veteran journalist after an exchange last week where he began asking questions the President didn’t like, and Trump sent over an aide to physically remove Acosta’s microphone with him.
During her effort to do so, their arms became tangled in a way that the White House claimed was Acosta “putting his hands on” a young female intern. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out a video shortly after of the dust-up, but it was soon discovered that the footage had been altered to make Acosta’s arm movement look more aggressive than it actually was. This is the exchange they used as the justification for banning Acosta from future events.
Trump’s senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, later admitted on Fox News that the video had been sped up, erroneously claiming that “they do it all the time in sports,” and claiming that instant replays to see if a team got a touchdown do the same thing (they actually do the opposite).
It was already known that a lawsuit was possible — CNN host Brian Stelter had on a First Amendment lawyer on his own show after the event who told their audience that CNN’s case was likely pretty solid as far as constitutionality was concerned.
CNN released a statement as they filed the suit:
While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone. If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”
The suit requests a restraining order to require the administration to return Acosta’s “hard pass” — the physical badge that allows him access to press events.
CNN named Trump, Sanders, Chief of Staff John Kelly, Director of Communications Bill Shine, and the actual Secret Service as defendants in the suit, due to the involvement of each of them in every step of confirming that the pass was actually revoked, which came finally when Acosta was turned away from press events involving Trump over the weekend in Paris, despite being granted a press pass by the French government.
Featured image via screen capture