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Published On: Wed, Nov 14th, 2018

CNN sues White House over Jim Acosta’s press pass, violates First Amendment and due process

CNN has filed a lawsuit against The White House, specifically President Donald J. Trump, Trump’s chief of staff John F. Kelly, Trump’s comms director William (Bill) Shine, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and the United States Secret Service, Secret Service director Randolph Alles, and Secret Service agent John Doe, saying the Trump administration has “violated CNN and Jim Acosta‘s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and Fifth Amendment rights to due process.”

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“We have been advised that CNN has filed a complaint challenging the suspension of Jim Acosta’s hard pass,” Sanders said in a statement. “This is just more grandstanding from CNN, and we will vigorously defend against the lawsuit.”

Of the White House’s decision to suspend Acosta’s access, the plaintiffs argued in the suit: “This severe and unprecedented punishment is the culmination of years of hostility by President Trump against CNN and Acosta based on the contents of their reporting—an unabashed attempt to censor the press and exclude reporters from The White House who challenge and dispute the President’s point of view.”

Sanders claimed last week that Acosta’s pass was revoked due to the reporter “placing his hands on a young woman,” but any contact appeared incidental. CNN is arguing in its suit that the pass was pulled as retaliation for aggressive coverage of the president.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on Stuart Varney‘s Fox Business program Tuesday morning, and said that Acosta and CNN actually have “a very good case” in their lawsuit against the Trump White House.

“The only grounds for revoking the pass are, ‘Is the person a danger to the physical security of the president or his family?’ And obviously, Acosta may have been an irritant to the president, but he was hardly a danger to him!” Napolitano said emphatically. “So I think CNN’s got a very good case. I think this will be resolved quickly.”

The analyst predicted that the case will likely be settled before it ever makes it to a jury trial. As Napolitano praised the language in the lawsuit about the value of a free press to help Americans “make free choices in the electoral process,” Varney shot back, “Yeah, but not the freedom to make a circus out of something.”

“Apart from taking his credentials away, couldn’t they have just said, ‘You, out, you’re not coming in’?” Varney asked later, taking the administration’s side.

Napolitano suggested that Trump and his team take a page out of President George W. Bush’s playbook and just not call on Acosta for a few days to let things calm down.

“You know, it’s part of the rough and tumble of the First Amendment,” he said. “Remember Jefferson: ‘I would rather have newspapers without government than a government without newspapers.’ A bit hyperbolic but you can understand the value of the free press to the Founders.”

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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