The Trump administration is currently defending a lawsuit brought by CNN after Jim Acosta’s White House press pass was revoked. The administration’s legal strategy is to argue that the president has the power to ban all reporters from the White House for any reason he wishes.
On Wednesday, the administration’s legal team made arguments along with lawyers for CNN. The attorneys appeared before US District Judge Timothy Kelly. CNN argues that banning Acosta from the White House violates both his First Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights.
In opposition Deputy Assistant Attorney General James Turnham argued that the president has “broad discretion” over what reporters are given access to the White House. Turnham argued, “If the president wants to exclude all reporters from the White House grounds, he has the authority to do that.” He added, “There’s no First Amendment right.” He also argued that Trump was justified in removing Acosta’s pass after a recent heated exchange because the reporter’s behavior was “disruptive.”
CNN’s lawyer Ted Boutrous argued that Acosta’s ban is a part of a larger war the president has waged against the network. He argued that there is existing case law that demonstrates Acosta’s pass cannot be revoked “for less than compelling reasons” and without proper process. This week, the president called Acosta a “grandstander” who is “bad for the country.”
Last Wednesday, in the wake of the midterm elections that delivered control of the House of Representatives to Democrats, President Trump gave a heated, and press conference. During that press conference, the president had and CNN reporter Jim Acosta had an intense exchange. Later, the White House stripped Acosta of his press pass, blocking him from the White House. The unprecedented move has been widely condemned and led to the current lawsuit against the Trump administration.