Judge orders White House to restore CNN reporter's access

Trump seeks to land blow against media in court fight with CNN

Trump-appointed judge forces White House to reinstate press pass of CNN’s Jim Acosta

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly upheld CNN's claim that the White House had violated Acosta's Fifth Amendment right to due process after Trump arbitrarily revoked his press credentials. Trump responded to Acosta by saying he wasn't concerned about the investigation, calling it a "hoax", and then criticized Acosta, calling him a "rude, bad person".

"Let's go back to work", Acosta told reporters after the hearing. "Our honest thanks to all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American press".

In his decision, Kelly ruled that Acosta's First Amendment rights overruled the White House's right to have orderly news conferences. They further argued that there was no such First Amendment concern, as Acosta was still free to report from outside the White House, and CNN still had dozens of other reporters with hard passes. The White House suspended Acosta's credentials hours after the press conference, citing his behavior toward Trump and the intern.

On Friday afternoon (overnight NZT), more than 50 members of the White House press corps greeted Acosta as he strode through the northwest gate of the presidential compound.

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But in a statement, she also appeared to view the temporary ruling as a victory: "Today, the court made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House".

"Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized", Wallace said. Videos of the encounter show Acosta pulling back as the staffer moved to take the microphone at the press conference. President Trump has given the press more access than any President in history. You were there, you understand and you understand we want total freedom of the press.

Acosta attempted to ask another question about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation and initially declined to give up a hand-held microphone to a White House intern.

"We thank all of the news outlets and individual reporters who stood up in recent days for the vital role a free and independent news media plays in our republic", he said.

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This claim did not originate with a news report, a press release, or someone with firsthand knowledge of the incident; rather it was based exclusively on the observation that the woman who took the mic from Acosta bore a passing resemblance to Walters. In the meantime, however, Acosta will be able to continue reporting from inside the White House.

"Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter's press credential", the network's president, Jay Wallace, said in a statement earlier this week. The judge didn't squarely reach the First Amendment issue of whether a reporter can be excluded on the president's order, although it's safe to say that he's on CNN's side of that given the precedent he used in making his decision. When the White House intern came by to do her job by retrieving the mic, Acosta refused to give it up and lightly pushed her arm down.

From the podium, Trump called Acosta - a frequent target of his ire - a "rude, bad person". "I write the answers", he said.

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