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Judge Rules In Favor Of CNN, Temporarily Restores Correspondent’s Credential

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CNN attorney Ted Boutrous delivers remarks outside U.S. District Court following a hearing Wednesday on CNN’s case against the White House for stripping a reporter of his press pass.

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CNN attorney Ted Boutrous delivers remarks outside U.S. District Court following a hearing Wednesday on CNN’s case against the White House for stripping a reporter of his press pass.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Update 10:57 a.m. ET

A federal judge in Washington ruled Friday in favor of CNN in a decision that represents the first legal blows between Trump and the news media.

Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, ordered the White House to restore correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials.

“Each day he [Acosta] is deprived … suffers a harm that cannot be remedied in retrospect,” Kelly said.

This is not the end of the road in this fight. The judge told attorneys for the Trump administration that the White House has to establish standardized rules to justify taking away a pass to cover the White House and wants to hear from both sides again Tuesday.

This was also granted on a limited basis and was not on First Amendment ground, but the Fifth Amendment’s right to due process. The judge said the White House denied Acosta’s right to due process under the law.

Whatever process occurred is “shrouded in mystery,” Kelly said.

“I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported us this week,” Acosta said outside the DC courthouse. He thanked the judge for the decision he made. “Let’s get back to work.”

CNN attorney Ted Boutrous called it a “great day for the First Amendment and for journalism” (although the First Amendment was not applied here).

It’s very possible the White House drops the case and instead comes up with some level of varying standards that could again be challenged by the press in court. The next steps remain to be seen.

The lawsuit follows the Trump administration’s decision last week to withdraw White House press credentials from Acosta after he and President Trump had a testy exchange during a news conference on Nov. 7. The suit sought the immediate restoration of Acosta’s press pass, arguing on First Amendment grounds that the White House action was aimed at silencing the journalist.

CNN was joined by other news media organizations, who saw high stakes in the case that could cede a degree of editorial control to the White House and threaten the ability of a free press to be a check on presidential power.

The Trump administration argued that the president has broad discretion to strip any reporter of White House press credentials if he wishes. It argued that the standard should be whether the reporter was “disorderly,” “rude” or “grandstanding.”

Decision Delayed To Friday In CNN Suit Over White House Revoking Acosta's Press Pass

CNN’s lawyers argued that sometimes democracy is “unpleasant” but having a free press is one of the ways democracies hold governments accountable.

Under questioning from the judge in arguments Wednesday, Deputy Assistant Attorney General James Burnham, who made the case for the administration, conceded that he knew of no other case in which a president had revoked a reporter’s White House credentials.

Kelly noted that there have been plenty of contentious, unrelenting journalists covering presidents through the years — and none had ever been stripped of their ability to cover the White House.

The judge also pressed CNN’s attorneys, noting that there were plenty of other CNN journalists covering the White House.

A Trump supporter wears a shirt reading, “CNN sucks” during a Trump rally in Billings, Montana Sept. 6.

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A Trump supporter wears a shirt reading, “CNN sucks” during a Trump rally in Billings, Montana Sept. 6.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Boutrous argued that the Trump administration’s views on the First Amendment are “warped,” and that there’s no First Amendment doctrine that says, “Because there are lots of other reporters you can ban one.”

President Trump has gone so far as to call journalists the “enemy of the people” and, at his rallies, crowds frequently break into chants of “CNN Sucks” as he routinely brands as “fake news” any coverage he deems unflattering.

In particular, he has been enraged at the media for not giving him more positive coverage after winning the 2016 presidential election.

“The press treats me terribly,” he told Lesley Stahl on CBS’s 60 Minutes. “I thought very strongly that, you know, the one great thing will happen is the press will start treating me great [once he won the presidency]. Lesley, they treat me worse. They got worse instead of better. Very dishonest. … I regret that the press treats me so badly.”

Will Conlon

Article source: https://www.npr.org/2018/11/16/668359711/judge-rules-in-favor-of-cnn-temporarily-restores-correspondents-credential?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news



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