Battle Lines Drawn As CNN Sues Trump Over Jim Acosta White House Credentials

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CNN has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, demanding that correspondent Jim Acosta’s credentials to cover the White House be returned because it violates the constitutional right of freedom of the press.

The administration stripped Acosta of his pass to enter the White House following President Donald Trump’s contentious news conference last week, where Acosta refused to give up a microphone when the president said he didn’t want to hear anything more from him.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said “this is just more grandstanding from CNN, and we will vigorously defend against his lawsuit.”

Trump has made CNN and its reporters a particular target of his denunciation of “fake news” and characterization of the media as an enemy of the people. CNN CEO Jeff Zucker, in a letter to White House chief of staff John Kelly, called it a “pattern of targeted harassment.”

The White House initially contended it was Acosta’s refusal to give up the microphone that led to his banishment; CNN said it’s apparent the president didn’t like his questions.

“Mr. Acosta’s press credentials must be restored so that all members of the press know they will remain free to ask tough questions, challenge government officials and report the business of the nation to the American people,” said Theodore Olson, former U.S. solicitor general and one of CNN’s lawyers on the case.

The White House Correspondents’ Association backed the lawsuit, filed in Washington, D.C., district court.

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