Monday , January 25 2021

CNN seeks court hearing after White House promises to revoke Acosta credentials again



CNN and White House’s main correspondent, Jim Acosta, appealed to a federal judge for an emergency hearing after the White House sent Acosta a letter stating that he plans to suspend the Acosta press again a few hours after the same judge ordered the White House to temporarily restore Acosta Accounts on Friday. If the judge does not renew this 14-day order, it will expire at the end of the month.

In light of the White House’s unexpected actions, the network’s lawyer demanded an expedited schedule that would allow the judge to enter a more robust preliminary injunction against the White House. The renewed confrontation is an unusual escalation in the legal battle between Trump, on the one hand, and CNN and Acosta, both with the regular targets of the angry president and informing him about his administration.

In a letter, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and Bill Sheenet, assistant president and deputy chief of staff for communications, told Acosta that his behavior at a press conference on November 7 “violated the basic standards governing [news conferences], and, in our preliminary opinion, is a sufficient factual basis for canceling your hard pass. ”

President Trump, the letter says, "recognizes this tentative decision and agrees."

On Monday morning, lawyers for CNN and Acosta asked US District Judge Timothy J. Kelly, appointed by Trump, to schedule an emergency hearing next week, considering that the White House made it clear that it intended to continue to prohibit Acosta as soon as Kelly expired.

Kelly’s decision to issue a 14-day temporary restraining order on Friday, when he believes that the case was essentially based primarily on the guarantee of the relevant fifth amendment process. Kelly said that the White House is obliged to give Acosta a proper process before he can cancel or suspend his access, and found that the decision-making process at the White House in this case was “so shrouded in mystery that the government could not tell me. , who made the decision. "

The CNN movement described the letter from Sanders and Shane as "an attempt to provide a retroactive process." CNN's lawyer, Ted Buturus, told lawyers of the Justice Department via e-mail that he considered the White House letter "a disappointing response to the court decision and our attempts to resolve the matter peacefully."

“More fundamentally,” he wrote in an email, “is another proof that your clients were delighted with Mr. Acosta based on his work as the main correspondent for the White House of CNN.”

Sanders and Shane gave Acosta the opportunity to challenge their "preliminary decision" to again suspend his press at 5 pm. Sunday. In response, Acosta’s lawyers challenged this decision, saying that despite the White House’s previous admission that there are no written rules for journalists participating in press conferences, Acosta is currently being punished “based on retroactive use of unwritten“ practices ” among the journalists covering the White House. "

This application “fuzzy, unrelated to the journalist’s access to the White House standard is not only different from your initial explanations, but is the same kind of violation of the due process hearing that led the district court to issue a temporary restraining order on Friday you "."

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that the White House would only “temporarily restore” Acosta’s authority in response to a court decision in his favor. Speaking at Fox News with her father, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R), who replaced Sean Hanniti, she later said that “we stated in a letter to CNN and their team that, in our opinion, some of the mistakes that their reporter did at the November 7 press conference. ”

Brian Stelter from Reliable Sources from CNN from Reliable Sources said Sunday that “White House officials sent a letter to Acosta stating that his pass would be suspended again after the ban on the expiration of the prohibition.”

Trump said Friday that “we are creating a certain standard that the court is requesting,” but no new rules have been published publicly. On that day, after a court order was issued, Sanders said that the White House “will develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future. There must be propriety in the White House.

"The White House continues to violate the first and fifth amendments to the Constitution," – said in a statement to CNN. “These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report on White House and President news. ”

CNN and Acosta, the main correspondent of the White House network, sued the White House and Sanders last week after they suspended their powers in the press after a minor altercation of Acosta with the Internet of the White House, who tried to pull the microphone out of his hands when he interrogated the president

Sanders accused Acosta of “laying hands on a young woman,” explaining why Acosta’s transition was suspended, but Kelly found that this statement was “probably wrong.”

Defending the White House’s decision to suspend pressing Acosta, the Justice Department’s lawyers argued that this was not a violation of the First Amendment, because there were many other White House reporters in CNN who “are more than able to cover the White House complex on behalf of CNN, practice your profession and report on the White House "- just not in the White House.

Kelly agreed that access to the grounds of the White House is not the right of the first amendment. But he also found that the reporter for the “First Amendment to Freedom of Speech in the Press in the White House” is also protected by the guarantees of due process of the Fifth Amendment, as previously reported by Eric Wamp of the Washington Post. In other words, the White House cannot simply recall a press reporter without a good reason.

Deciding that the Acosta ban was “irreparable harm,” the standard for providing temporary restraining orders, Kelly pointed to the case of journalist Robert Sherrill, who fought against the White House’s refusal of his press in 1977, and also got the right to a proper procedure and restore its passage. (although it has never really been used for it).

“The first amendment, which was recognized in Sherrill, did not apply only to publications or agencies; they were the freedoms of individual journalists themselves, ”said Kelly, as Wampl said. “For this reason, CNN may still send another journalist or journalists to the White House; it does no harm to Mr. Acosta to be just as irreparable. This is a harm that cannot be eliminated in retrospect. Thus, on this high, very unusual set of facts and interests, I found that the plaintiffs fulfilled their burden of establishing that irreparable harm has and will continue in the absence of [remedy]".

Butruus told Stelter about Reliable Sources that, in the absence of an agreement with the White House, they plan to seek a preliminary injunction blocking the White House from suspending Acosta’s powers for a much longer period of time as the case progresses.

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