Jim Acosta row: Donald Trump threat over reporters’ behaviour

Jim AcostaJim Acosta was in court to hear the judge’s temporary ruling

Donald Trump has threatened to walk out of future press briefings if reporters do not act with “decorum”.

The US president was speaking after a Washington DC court ordered the White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass after it was revoked by the US Secret Service.

Mr Acosta’s press pass was taken after he clashed with the president during a news conference earlier this month.

Mr Trump played down the ruling, saying it wasn’t “a big deal”.

But, he said, “people have to behave”, adding his staff were “writing up rules and regulations” for the press to abide by, including sticking to the agreed number of questions.

“If they don’t listen to the rules and regulations we’ll end up back in court and will win,” Mr Trump said. “But more importantly, we’ll just leave, and then you won’t be very happy.”

“You can’t take three questions and four questions and just stand up and not sit down,” he added. “Decorum. You have to practice decorum.”

‘A great day’

Speaking outside the court earlier in the day, Mr Acosta praised the decision and told reporters “let’s go back to work”.

The judge said the White House decision likely violated the journalist’s right to due process and freedom of speech.

The ruling forces the White House press office to temporarily return Mr Acosta’s “hard pass”, the credential that allows reporters easy access to the White House and other presidential events.

Mr Acosta’s lawyer called the ruling “a great day for the first amendment and journalism”.

How did the row begin?

Mr Acosta was barred from entering the White House a day after he had a heated exchange with President Trump during a news conference on 8 November.

A White House intern tried to take the microphone from Mr Acosta as he attempted to ask the president a follow-up question.

In a statement Mrs Sanders claimed that he had put “his hands on a young woman” during the exchange, during which Mr Trump called the reporter “a rude, terrible person”.

CNN sued to have Mr Acosta’s pass restored, and their lawsuit was joined by other media groups, including conservative-leaning Fox News.

President Donald Trump, journalist Jim Acosta and a White House internJim Acosta lost his White House access after a fiery exchange with President Trump
Presentational grey line

CNN sues Trump for suspending Jim Acosta’s press pass

The Trump administration vows to fight CNN lawsuit which claims the journalist’s constitutional rights were violated.

The dispute and Acosta's banishment triggered a wave of accusations that Trump is stifling the free press [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]
The dispute and Acosta’s banishment triggered a wave of accusations that Trump is stifling the free press

A federal judge will hold a hearing on Wednesday on a CNN lawsuit against President Donald Trump‘s administration after the White House revokedthe press credentials of the network’s journalist last week.

The American network said its correspondent Jim Acosta’s removal was a violation of his First Amendment rights to freely report on the government.

The White House dismissed CNN’s complaint as “grandstanding” and vowed to “vigorously defend” against the lawsuit.

If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials

A CNN STATEMENT

The dispute on live national television and Acosta’s resulting banishment triggered a wave of accusations that Trump is stifling the free press, and marked a sharp escalation in tensions between the president and CNN.

“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” the news network said in a statement, announcing the lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Washington.

“If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials,” CNN said.

US District Judge Timothy Kelly ordered the Trump administration to respond by 11:00am (16:00 GMT) on Wednesday and set a hearing for 3:30pm.

Kelly, a former chief counsel for the US Senate Judiciary Committee, was appointed by Trump last year.

The First Amendment

The White House had suspended Acosta’s hard pass after he sparred at a news conference with the president, who demanded that the reporter give up the microphone and called him a “rude, terrible person” when he did not immediately comply.

They began sparring after Acosta asked Trump about the caravan of migrants heading from Latin America to the southern US border. When Acosta tried to follow up with another question, Trump said, “That’s enough!” and a female White House aide unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from Acosta.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement accusing Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern”, calling it “absolutely unacceptable”.

Hours later, Sanders announced Acosta’s hard pass had been suspended, in a move that she justified by claiming the reporter was inappropriately “placing his hands” on the intern.

The interaction between Acosta and the intern was brief, and Acosta appeared to brush her arm as she reached for the microphone and he tried to hold onto it. “Pardon me, ma’am,” he told her.

She alleged that Acosta “physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern,” softening the earlier misconduct accusation and then casting blame on the journalist for his persistent questioning.

“The First Amendment is not served when a single reporter, of more than 150 present, attempts to monopolise the floor,” the press secretary said in a statement.

“If there is no check on this type of behaviour, it impedes the ability of the President, the White House staff and members of the media to conduct business.”

CNN lawyer Ted Boutrous said the White Houses’ suspension of the press pass made “clear it was based on the content of the reporting.”

“CNN’s argument is very straightforward,” the lawyer told the American network. “We can’t have the White House tossing people out because they don’t like what they are saying or what they are reporting.”

“That is what happened. That is the First Amendment.”

Your Trump administration attacks the “give me your tired, your poor…” statement on the statue of liberty. Are you happy yet, Amerika?!

On Wednesday, CNN’s Jim Acosta pressed senior policy adviser Stephen Miller over President Trump’s push to admit only English-speaking immigrants in a back-and-forth that lasted for several minutes. Acosta asked Miller about the iconic poem “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus that is inscribed at the base of the State of Liberty, which reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

JIM ACOSTA: What you’re proposing, or what the president is proposing here, does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration. The Statue of Liberty says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country, if you’re telling them you have to speak English? Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?

STEPHEN MILLER: Well, first of all, right now, it’s a requirement that to be naturalized, you have to speak English. So the notion that speaking English wouldn’t be a part of our immigration systems would be actually very ahistorical. Secondly, I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty enlightening the world. It’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to was added later. It’s not actually a part of the original Statue of Liberty.

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7/4/1986 Nancy Reagan waves while visiting the Statue of Liberty in New York City