CNN sues White House for revoking Acosta’s credentials
CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta has been denied entry into the White House since an incident last week in which he wouldn’t return the microphone to an intern.
“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press,” a statement from CNN reads.
“If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”
WATCH: Trump says Jim Acosta needs to respect the office of the President
At the time, White House officials cited the encounter with the intern last Wednesday as the official reason for removing Acosta’s press credentials.
The encounter started when Acosta was asking Trump a question during a post-midterm election press conference.
The staffer can be seen reaching for Acosta’s hand and trying to pull the microphone from him. Acosta can be seen trying to fend off the staffer — at one point he appears to nudge her arm away from him.
Trump and Acosta continued a verbal sparring during the incident, with Acosta pressing Trump on how he used the topic of the migrant caravan in Mexico and Trump calling Acosta a “rude” and “terrible person.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman.” Both Acosta and CNN officials called that statement a “lie.”
To justify her response, Sanders shared a video of the incident on Twitter – but the video was reportedly edited to speed up Acosta’s movements, making it look more aggressive.
CNN says Sanders is also named in the lawsuit, along with White House chief of staff John Kelly, deputy chief of staff for communications, the director of the secret service, and the secret service agent who physically took Acosta’s pass.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway defended the edited video, saying speeding up a video doesn’t mean it’s altered.
“That’s not altered. That’s sped up. They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or a touchdown,” she told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday.
WATCH: Video of Jim Acosta incident posted by White House Press Secretary contains extra frames
CNN lawyer Theodore Boutrous Jr. said it was clear the White House was punishing Acosta and CNN for their reporting, which violates their First Amendment rights and their right to due process.
White House Correspondents’ Association president Olivier Knox threw his support behind CNN.
“Revoking access to the White House complex amounted to disproportionate reaction to the events of last Wednesday,” he wrote in a statement.
“The president of the United States should not be in the business of arbitrarily picking the men and women who cover him.”
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