On Friday, a federal judge applying the increasingly popular Trump Exception to jurisprudence issue issued an injunction that required the White House to give Jim Acosta a permanent, aka “hard”, pass to the White House grounds. Apparently, the earth would cease revolving about its axis if Acosta couldn’t engage in is daily douchebaggery. (Here I differ with my colleague, Brandon Morse, because the White House didn’t ban CNN, they simply banned one reporter who, quite honestly, is not very much of a journalist to begin with.) The legal reasoning, such as it was, basically declares that individual reporters have a property interest in their White House press credentials and they can’t be deprived of those credentials without some extraordinary behavior that leads to the Secret Service banning them.
Over the weekend, President Trump hinted that this battle was long from being over, “[I]f he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference.” (See Alex Parker’s write-up on that interview.
The White House has now informed Acosta that when this injunction expires on November 30, he’ll be again lose his press pass.
After CNN won a temporary restraining order on Friday, forcing the White House to restore his press pass for 14 days, White House officials sent Acosta a letter stating that his pass is set to be suspended again once the restraining order expires.
From the looks of the letter, the W.H. is trying to establish a paper trail that will empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month.
This is Tater’s take:
Here's the letter Sanders and Shine sent to @Acosta on Friday night. It claims that his presser behavior violated "basic standards," laying the groundwork to strip his press pass again pic.twitter.com/k3cxRBiw5b
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 19, 2018
1. WH sends Jim Acosta a letter stating his pass will be suspended again once the TRO expires, likely to provide notice and a defense to his Due Process claim.https://t.co/nDkKwCNgKq …
2. @CNN has asked the court to intervene under #5A and #1A issues. https://t.co/SmppPFBK0e pic.twitter.com/W6wong7Nzz
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) November 19, 2018
The letter seems to be designed to short circuit Acosta’s bizarre claim that he was entitled to some sort of Fifth Amendment due process before the White House revoked his permanent pass even though he could still attend press briefings by signing in each day. The First Amendment claim by CNN was ludicrous on its face as there is no right for CNN, or any reporter, to ask questions at press conferences. If there were, the briefing logically couldn’t end until all questioners were satisfied.
This is a poo-flinging contest that both sides relish and we can predict they will drag out the fight so long as it generates interest. While the White House has the ideal foil in a preening, mouthbreather like Jim Acosta, it is more difficult to see what CNN thinks it gains from a battle it will ultimately lose. Acosta’s colleagues seem to despise him at least as much as the rest of us (probably moreso because they actually work around him) and it won’t take very much for the White House to peel away CNN’s support from other news organizations. The imposition of a “code of conduct” and the very real possibility that the press briefings may cease altogether are going to increase pressure on CNN to find someway to gracefully move a very disgraceful Jim Acosta from the White House beat and maybe, just maybe, assign an actual reporter to the job.
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