A District Court Judge in the United States, Timothy Kelly, on Friday ordered President Donald Trump’s administration to immediately return and reactivate the White House press pass of a CNN chief correspondent, Jim Acosta.
Acosta’s press pass was suspended after a heated confrontation with Trump during a news conference at the White House last Wednesday, the day after the midterm elections, where Trump claimed victory even though the opposition, Democrats, regained majority control of the House.
“Acosta’s credentials would be returned immediately and reactivated to allow him access to the White House,” the judge said as he ordered both parties to file a joint status report next week on how to proceed in the case.
As of the time of filing this report, the White House had no immediate comment on the decision, or the question of whether the administration would appeal the ruling.
The disagreement between Trump and Acosta, who had been critical of the White House on its policies, began on Thursday when the reporter asked the President about the caravan of migrants heading from Latin America to the southern US border, while accusing the President of demonising migrants by referring to them as an ‘invasion.’
But when Acosta tried to follow up with another question, the President, visibly agitated, said, “That’s enough!” CNN’s report stated that as Acosta was trying to ask a different question, the President called on another reporter after which a female White House intern walked up to Acosta and tried to snatch the microphone from his hand, which Acosta initially refused to release. “Pardon me, ma’am,” Acosta had said as he gave the microphone to the intern.
The President, who had repeatedly referred to mainstream media outlets in the US as “fake news” and “the enemy of the people, said, “I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN. And if you did it well, your ratings would be much better. You are a rude, terrible person.”
Following the announcement of the suspension of Acosta’s press pass by the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, CNN sued President Trump, four of his top aides and the US Secret Service, saying its First and Fifth Amendment rights and those of Acosta were being violated by the ban, while asking the court to declare the action as unconstitutional. The network argued that “every day that passes without Acosta regaining his press credentials is a concrete injury.”
After the court ruling, CNN, on its verified Twitter handle, CNN Communications, @CNNPR, wrote, “Statement from CNN and @Acosta on today’s ruling: “We are gratified with this result and we look forward to a full resolution in the coming days. Our sincere thanks to all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American press.”