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CNN sues President Trump, top White House aides for barring reporter

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President Donald Trump (AP file Photo/Thibault Camus)

WASHINGTON — CNN filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and several of his aides, seeking the immediate restoration of chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s access to the White House.

The lawsuit , which was filed Tuesday, was in response to the White House’s suspension of Acosta’s press pass last week. The suit alleged that Acosta and CNN’s First and Fifth Amendment rights are being violated by the ban.

On Friday, CNN sent a letter to the White House formally requesting the immediate reinstatement of Acosta’s pass and warning of a possible lawsuit, the network confirmed.

In a statement on Tuesday morning, CNN said it is seeking a preliminary injunction as soon as possible so that Acosta can return to the White House right away, and a ruling from the court preventing the White House from revoking Acosta’s pass in the future.

“CNN filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration this morning in DC District Court,” the statement read. “It demands the return of the White House credentials of CNN’s Chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process. We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process.”

CNN also asserted that other news organizations could have been targeted by the Trump administration this way, and could be in the future.

“While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone,” the network said. “If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”

The White House accused Acosta of placing his hands on an intern who was trying to take a microphone away from him during a press conference. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Huckabee released video of the incident after the news conference, which some believe had been doctored.

“It wasn’t doctored,” the president said. “They gave a close-up view. That’s not doctoring.”

The White House used that encounter to justify pulling Acosta’s credentials.

At the time, Trump said he hadn’t made a decision when asked by a reporter how long Acosta would remain in the “penalty box.” But he said there could be others.

“When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place to be,” he said. “This is a very special place. You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect.”

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