Judge orders White House to restore press pass to reporter

CNN correspondent Jim Acosta speaking to reporters outside the US district courthouse after his press pass was restored.
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta speaking to reporters outside the US district courthouse after his press pass was restored.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

WASHINGTON • A US judge has ordered the White House to temporarily restore CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's press pass, which was revoked after a contentious news conference two weeks ago with President Donald Trump.

The White House withdrew Mr Acosta's credentials on Nov 7 in an escalation of the Republican president's attacks on news organisations, which he has called enemies of the people.

US District Judge Timothy Kelly, who is hearing CNN's lawsuit challenging the revocation, said last Friday that Mr Acosta's credentials must be restored while the network's case is pending.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Mr Acosta's credentials would be temporarily restored.

"Let's go back to work," Mr Acosta said to reporters after the hearing.

But Mr Trump said that "people have to behave" and warned of future court action against reporters who do not.

"If they don't listen to the rules and regulations, we'll end up back in court and we'll win," Mr Trump said last Friday. "But more importantly, we'll just leave. And then, you won't be very happy because we do get good ratings."

CNN said in a statement last Friday that it "looked forward to a full resolution in the coming days".

The Justice Department was "disappointed" with the court decision, spokesman Kelly Laco said in a statement. "The President has broad authority to regulate access to the White House... We look forward to continuing to defend the White House's lawful actions."

The day after the Nov 6 congressional elections, Mr Trump erupted with anger during a news conference when Mr Acosta questioned him about a Russia probe and a migrant caravan travelling through Mexico.

"That's enough, that's enough," Mr Trump told him, as a White House official tried to take the microphone away from Mr Acosta. "You are a rude, terrible person," Mr Trump added.

Ms Sanders accused Mr Acosta of "placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern" and of preventing other reporters from asking questions. Videos show Mr Acosta pulling back as the intern moved to take the microphone.

Judge Kelly said Ms Sanders' claim was "likely untrue and at least partly based on evidence that was of questionable accuracy".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 18, 2018, with the headline 'Judge orders White House to restore press pass to reporter'. Print Edition | Subscribe