A federal judge has delayed until Friday a ruling on whether the Trump administration has to return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly didn’t offer any explanation for delaying a ruling that had been expected Thursday afternoon. He’s set a court date for 10 a.m. Friday.
Kelly, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, heard arguments Wednesday from lawyers representing CNN and the Justice Department.
The news network is seeking an immediate restraining order that would force the White House to hand back Acosta’s credentials, which grant reporters as-needed access to the 18-acre complex.
Acosta has clashed repeatedly with Trump and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in briefings over the last two years. The White House revoked the pass following a combative press conference last week, a day after Republicans lost control of the House in midterm elections.
During the hearing, the Justice Department defended the White House’s decision to strip Acosta of his press pass. The department argued that Acosta is guilty of “inappropriate grandstanding.”
The White House took the action after a heated confrontation between Acosta and President Donald Trump during a news conference last week.
In a court hearing Wednesday, Justice Department lawyer James Burnham argued that Acosta deserved to lose his access over “his refusal to comply with the general standards of a press conference.”
Burnham said that the White House is essentially Trump’s home and office and that the president has some right to decide who can and can’t be there.
“There’s no First Amendment right to access the White House grounds,” Burnham said.
Burnham also pointed out that CNN has dozens of other staffers with White House credentials, so excluding Acosta would not harm the network’s coverage.
CNN is seeking a restraining order that would force the White House to return Acosta’s press credentials.
The network’s lawyer, Theodore Boutrous, said Acosta is being singled out for his body of work, not his alleged rudeness.
“The White House has made very clear that they don’t like the content of the reporting by CNN and Jim Acosta,” Boutrous said. “Rudeness really is a code word for ‘I don’t like you being an aggressive reporter.'”
Trump, in an interview published Wednesday, told The Daily Caller that “guys like Acosta” were “bad for the country. … He’s just an average guy who’s a grandstander who’s got the guts to stand up and shout.”
A number of news organizations, including The Associated Press, have announced their intention to file amicus briefs with the court in support of CNN.
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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