Last week, the White House suspended the access of CNN reporter Jim Acosta following an incident during a bizarre and rambling press event. The excuse put forward by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was that Acosta had assaulted a White House intern, a claim supported by a doctored video made to look as if Costa struck the intern to keep her away from the microphone. Sanders has continued to claim that the video wasn’t altered and that the White House was justified in its position. On Monday, Kellyanne Conway admitted that the video was “sped up” but still insisted that Acosta seized back the microphone, which wasn’t true, and that even if this was incidental contact, which it clearly was, Acosta “never apologized” to the intern, even though he can be heard to do so in the video.
On Tuesday, CNN filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, claiming a violation of both the First Amendment rights of the press and Costa’s Fifth Amendment rights to due process. CNN has asked for an immediate restraining order returning Costa’s credentials.
Both CNN and Acosta are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. There are six defendants: Trump, chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, Secret Service director Joseph Clancy, and the Secret Service officer who took Acosta’s hard pass away last Wednesday. The officer is identified as John Doe in the suit, pending his identification.
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