US judge orders White House to lift CNN Jim Acosta's press ban

Chris Parsons
News Editor

A federal judge today told Donald Trump to temporarily lift the White House press ban on CNN’s Jim Acosta.

US District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of Trump, announced his decision after a hearing in Washington, saying Mr Acosta’s credentials would be returned immediately and reactivated to allow him access to the White House.

CNN had asked the judge to force the White House to immediately hand back Acosta’s credentials after an explosive press briefing last week where the President branded the reporter a ‘terrible person’.

Trump accused Acosta of being a ‘terrible person’ during the explosive press conference. (AP Foto/Evan Vucci)
‘Let’s get back to work’: Acosta gives a brief statement after the Friday hearing. (EFE)

CNN asked for his credentials to be restored while a lawsuit over their revocation goes forward.

The White House pulled his credentials after he and the president tangled during a press conference on November 7.

The judge said the government could not say who initially decided to revoke Mr Acosta’s pass.

The White House had spelled out its reasons for revoking his credentials in a tweet from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and in a statement after CNN filed its lawsuit, but the judge said those ‘belated efforts were hardly sufficient to satisfy due process’.

The judge also found that Mr Acosta suffered ‘irreparable harm’, dismissing the government’s argument that CNN could send other reporters to cover the White House in his place.

Judge Kelly told lawyers to file additional court papers in the case by Monday.

Mr Trump has made his dislike of CNN clear since before he took office and continuing into his presidency. He has described the network as ‘fake news’.

At last week’s press conference, which followed the midterm elections, he was taking questions from reporters and called on Mr Acosta, who asked about Mr Trump’s statements about a caravan of migrants making its way to the US-Mexico border.

Trump argues with Acosta during the explosive press conference earlier this month. (Yahoo)
CNN’s Jim Acosta walks out of the U.S. District Courthouse with a smile, after the Friday hearing. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

After a terse exchange, Mr Trump told him, ‘That’s enough’, several times while calling on another reporter.

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

Mr Trump responded by saying he was not concerned about the investigation, calling it a ‘hoax’, and then criticised Mr Acosta, calling him a ‘rude, terrible person’.

The White House pulled his credentials hours later.



The White House’s explanation for why it seized his credentials have shifted over the last week.

Ms Sanders initially explained the decision by accusing Mr Acosta of making improper physical contact with the intern seeking to grab the microphone.

But that rationale disappeared after witnesses backed Mr Acosta’s account that he was just trying to keep the microphone, and Ms Sanders distributed a doctored video that made it appear he was more aggressive than he actually was.

On Tuesday, she accused Mr Acosta of being unprofessional by trying to dominate questioning at the news conference.

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