CNN has dropped its lawsuit against President Donald Trump after the White House agreed to “fully” restore journalist Jim Acosta’s press pass.
The US news network said in a tweet yesterday that it was “no longer necessary” for it to pursue the legal claim.
CNN had argued the decision to remove its correspondent’s pass had breached the First Amendment (on freedom of the press) and Fifth Amendment (on due process) of the US Bill of Rights.
A judge ordered the White House to return the pass to Acosta last week in upholding CNN’s application for a temporary restraining order.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) November 19, 2018
The removal of Acosta’s pass hinged on a White House claim that he put his hands on a staffer when she attempted to take the microphone from him during a televised press conference with Trump on 7 November.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared a video that claimed to show Acosta chopping at the woman’s arm. Trump was forced to deny claims the video had been doctored to emphasise the claim.
Both CNN and Acosta said it was a lie that he had manhandled the staffer.
In a letter sent to the network confirming the return of Acosta’s press pass, the White House laid out four rules for future press conferences.
These comprise limiting press to one question before yielding the floor to other journalists, with follow-up questions to be permitted “at the discretion of the president or other White House officials taking questions”.
According to ABC News, yielding the floor is defined as “physically surrendering” the microphone. Any “failure to abide” by the rules may result in “suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass”.
The White House letter said: “Should you refuse to follow these rules in the future, we will take action in accordance with the rules set forth above. The President is aware of this decision and concurs.”
According to CNN, the White House press corps has not agreed to the new rules, but it said Trump “rarely holds press conferences”.
The White House Correspondents’ Association said yesterday it had “no role in crafting” the White House letter.
Picture: Reuters/Carlos Barria