The cable news network filed a lawsuit this morning in DC District Court against Trump and top aides, including White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine, as well as the Secret Service which took away Acosta’s hard pass that afternoon.
The cable news network demanded the return of its chief White House correspondent’s press pass. Read it here.
“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment right of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” CNN said in a statement.
“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.
“While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone,” CNN cautioned. “If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”
Trump’s morning-after-midterms presser devolved into a White House brawl when Acosta poked the presidential bear with his line of questioning about Trump’s Caravan Invasion rally rhetoric.
“That’s enough! Put down the mic!” Trump ordered Acosta. “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You should not be working for CNN.”
“The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. The way you treat other people is horrible!” Trump hissed.
It smacked of theater, given that Trump had picked Acosta from among the crowd of reporters, to ask a question. Almost as if Trump, worried about Democrat’s gaining control of the House and investigations likely to follow, was looking for the proverbial “dog” to kick.
“I’m not a big fan of yours either!” Trump spit back when NBC’s White House Correspondent Peter Alexander come to Acosta’s defense, telling Trump his comment was “unfair” and adding, Acosta is “a diligent reporter who busts his butt like the rest of us.”
Acosta jumped back up and, minus microphone, could be heard talking “pipe bombs” – three of which had been sent to CNN, allegedly by a rabid Donald Trump supporter in Florida.
“Just sit down!” Trump shouted at Acosta. “When you report Fake News, which CNN does, you are the Enemy of the People.”
CNN quickly issued a statement that day, decrying the White House move.
“This President’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far,” CNN said in a statement sent out on Twitter.
“They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American. While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere.”
The White House responded, saying it had yanked Acosta’s credentials because he put his hand on a White House intern who was sent to grab away his microphone.
Trump’s administration issued a doctored video in which Acosta’s arm could be seen making contact with the intern’s as she repeatedly grabbed at his hand. The White House sped up the video, Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway has acknowledged, at the moment of contact, to make it look like an act of aggression on Acosta’s part. The White House also deleted audio in which Acosta said “Pardon me ma’am” to the intern as she repeatedly grabbed at Acosta’s hand.