CNN takes legal action against President Donald Trump | Eurasia Diary -

27 May, Monday

CNN takes legal action against President Donald Trump

Network says the removal of reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials is unconstitutional

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CNN has filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and senior aides over the suspension of a journalist’s press credentials, The Week reported.

The network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, had his pass taken away after a heated exchange with the president during a press conference last week.

Justifying the move, the Trump administration falsely claimed that Acosta had placed his hands on a White House intern who had tried to take his microphone away, the New York Times reports.

White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, made the accusation on social media, sharing a video that had been doctored to make Acosta’s actions towards an intern appear more aggressive.

In court documents filed by CNN yesterday, the network claims that the White House violated the reporter’s constitutional rights by revoking his press pass.

“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,” read the complaint.

The cable news giant went on to describe the decision as an “unabashed attempt to censor the press and exclude reporters from the White House who challenges and dispute the president’s point of view”.

The lawsuit marks “a dramatic turn in the president’s years-long battle with the press that sets up a court fight over the First Amendment,” Politico reports.

Press secretary Sanders has dismissed the claim as “more grandstanding from CNN” and vowed that the administration will “vigorously defend against this lawsuit.”

She added that Acosta had not behaved appropriately or professionally, and accused him of refusing to yield the microphone to other reporters.

However, the NYT says Sanders made no mention of her original claim that Acosta had reacted inappropriately with the intern. 

One of the country’s leading first amendment lawyers, Floyd Abrams, says CNN’s litigation is well supported by first amendment principles, The Guardian reports.

“A journalist may not be stripped of access because of distaste for his questions, a desire to retaliate against him for prior coverage or frustration at what the president may view as a hostile attitude,” he told the newspaper.

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