A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to immediately return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, announced his decision following a hearing in Washington.
The judge said Acosta’s credentials would be returned immediately and reactivated to allow him access to the White House.
CNN had asked the judge to force the White House to immediately hand back the credentials that give Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, access to the White House complex for media briefings and other events. CNN asked for Acosta’s credentials to be restored while a lawsuit over his credentials’ revocation goes forward.
The White House revoked Acosta’s credentials after he and Trump tangled during a news conference last week.
The judge said the government could not say who initially decided to revoke Acosta’s hard pass.
The White House had spelled out its reasons for revoking his credentials in a tweet from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and in a statement after CNN filed its lawsuit. But the judge said those “belated efforts were hardly sufficient to satisfy due process.”
Kelly also found that Acosta suffered “irreparable harm,” dismissing the government’s argument that CNN could just send other reporters to cover the White House in Acosta’s place.
The judge told attorneys to file additional court papers in the case by Monday.
At last week’s news conference, which followed the midterm elections, Trump was taking questions from reporters and called on Acosta, who asked about Trump’s statements about a caravan of migrants making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border.
After a terse exchange, Trump called on another reporter.
Acosta shouted out another question and refused to give up a hand-held microphone to a White House intern.
President Trump to Jim @Acosta: “You should let me run the country. You run CNN.”
“That’s enough. Put down the mic. CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude terrible person.” pic.twitter.com/GR9TIbKUok
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 7, 2018
The president then called the CNN correspondent a “rude, terrible person.”
The White House pulled Acosta’s credentials hours later.
Sanders first explained the decision by saying Acosta made improper physical contact with the intern seeking to grab the microphone.
On Tuesday, she said Acosta was unprofessional as he tried to dominate the questioning at the news conference.
Trump has made his dislike of CNN clear since before he took office and continuing into his presidency. He has described the liberal network as “fake news” both on Twitter and in public comments.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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