- The Justice Department has defended its right to revokeCNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials.
- The White House revoked Acosta’s credentials on November 7 following a heated exchange with President Donald Trump during a press conference.
- CNN has since filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the Trump administration.
- But the Justice Department says it has the right to bar anyone from the press room: “No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House.”
The Justice Department has defended its right to revoke CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials after CNN filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the Trump administration in an attempt to win back his press pass.
On Tuesday, CNN released a statement condemning the administration’s revocation of Acosta’s press pass as a violation of “Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process.”
“If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials,” the network said in a statement.
Now, lawyers for the Justice Department have responded to the complaint in a 28-page filing saying that “no journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House.”
The lawyers continued: “The president is generally free to open the White House doors to political allies, in the hopes of furthering a particular agenda, and he is equally free to invite in only political foes, in the hopes of convincing them of his position. The First Amendment simply does not regulate these decisions.”
Additionally, in the filing, the lawyers argued that CNN’s case does not hold up to the standard of due process because “the lack of a hard pass does not prevent Mr. Acosta – much less CNN- from reporting on the White House.”
“That revocation was premised on stated reasons that are viewpoint- and content-neutral and are evident from the video of the November 7 press conference,” the filing said.
Fox News is supporting CNN in its lawsuit
In what is considered a surprising move, Fox News has given its support to CNN in its lawsuit. In a statement, Fox News president Jay Wallace that the company plans to file an amicus brief, which is also known as a friend-of-the-court brief, with the US District Court in support of CNN.
“FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential,” Wallace said in his statement. “While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access, and open exchanges for the American people.”
In a statement Wednesday morning, CNN thanked Fox News for its support.
The contention over Acosta’s press pass began after a heated exchange between Acosta and President Donald Trump at a November 7 press conference.
After arguing about Acosta’s question on the migrant caravan travelling to the US, Trump called Acosta a “rude, terrible person.”
Ultimately, a White House intern tried to grab the microphone from Acosta’s hand, but he twisted away from her and held on.