A U.S. District Court judge on Friday sided with CNN and correspondent Jim Acosta, declaring that the Trump administration’s blatantly biased decision to revoke Acosta’s “hard pass” to the White House had likely violated Acosta’s right to due process. And so, just over one week after President Donald Trump’s disastrous press conference which led to Acosta’s banishment from the West Wing grounds, Judge Timothy Kelly ordered the White House to return Acosta’s credentials and allow him back into the briefing room to do his job—for now, anyway.
Kelly’s decision to grant CNN a temporary injunction in their lawsuit against the White House came after several days of extremely dumb in-court wrangling, in which the White House totally abandoned its bogus claim that Acosta had assaulted an administration staffer and instead suggested that they had the right to ban him simply for wasting other reporters’ time. Acosta—an admittedly annoying doofus—will return to a White House which, as Kelly noted, is under no obligation to actually call on him in the future.
Following CNN’s suit against the White House, nearly every other major news network (even Fox!) offered their support for Acosta, writing amicus briefs defending CNN’s case. However, conservative Trump-stanning conspiracy peddlers One America News Network sided with the White House, claiming that Acosta had robbed them of precious reporting time—a claim diluted by the fact that they have historically been one of the most called on networks in the Trump briefing room, and enjoyed an exclusive interview with the president as recently as a month ago.
Notably, Kelly—himself a Trump appointee—did not rule on the First Amendment issues that formed the bulk of CNN’s suit. Rather, he claimed that the manner in which the White House revoked the reporter’s hard pass denied Acosta the opportunity to justify his keeping it to the administration.
CNN responded to Kelly’s ruling on Friday with a short statement, writing:
We are gratified with this result and we look forward to a full resolution in the coming days. Our sincere thanks to all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American press.
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President Trump has not yet responded to Friday’s ruling, but it seems safe to assume that he’s probably got a tweet brewing.
Update, 12:57 p.m.: President Trump addressed Judge Kelly’s decision on Friday, stressing that the real issue here is one of “decorum.”