On Friday night, the White House sent a new letter to CNN reporter to Jim Acosta. The letter read, “We are writing to give you formal notice that we have made a preliminary decision to suspend your hard pass due to your conduct at the president’s November 7, 2018 press conference. The president is aware of this preliminary decision and concurs.”
Last week, Judge Timothy Kelly ordered the Trump administration to let Jim Acosta back onto the White House grounds. But Judge Kelly’s order was temporary. He didn’t rule on the bigger question of whether the White House has the right to take away a journalist’s White House pass; he just issued a temporary restraining order so that the White House has to give Acosta his grounds pass back while CNN’s lawsuit against the White House is going on.
So on Friday, the White House sent a fresh letter to Acosta, announcing that it still plans to take away his press credentials (that’s known as a “hard pass.”) You can see the White House letter to Acosta here. Acosta’s response is here.
The White House’s Friday night letter said that it would “consider” CNN’s response and would issue a final decision on the issue ta 3PM on Monday, November 19.
The White House Described Itself as ‘Extremely Open & Transparent’
CNN has asked Judge Kelly for an “emergency briefing” today at 3PM, in response to the Friday night letter from Sarah Sanders. The White House letter promised to issue a final decision in the case by 3PM on Monday.
In the Friday night letter, the White House describes itself as “extremely open and transparent.” The letter says, “As you know, President Trump has provided an extraordinary amount of access to journalists to ask questions, while operating an extremely open and transparent White House.”
The letter says that the White House expects journalists to abide by “common sense” rules: “a journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and, having received a response, will yield the floor unless, at the discretion of the president or other White House official answering questions, a follow-up question or questions is permitted, after which follow-up(s) the journalist will the yield the floor.” The White House is charging that Acosta didn’t follow those “basic, commonsense” practices.
The White House Suspended Jim Acosta’s Credentials on November 7, After Trump Called the CNN Reporter a ‘Terrible Person’
On November 7, Jim Acosta got into a heated exchange with President Trump during a White House press conference. Acosta pressed the president on his views of the Caravan of Migrants and on the outcome of the midterm election. The CNN reporter asked question after question and refused to give up the microphone, even after President Trump said “enough, enough!” Acosta also refused to hand over the mic when a White House intern approached him and tried to grab it. In response, Trump said, “CNN should be ashamed of themselves having you work for them. You are a rude, terrible person.”
You can watch that exchange here.
On the evening of November 7, Acosta headed over to the White House to do his usual 8PM stand-up. But when he got to the White House gates, secret service agents blocked the way and took his White House press credential, or “hard pass.” You can read more about that here.
That’s when CNN filed its lawsuit against the White House, arguing that its reporters have a first amendment right to report on the White House.