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CNN Tried to Make Peace Before Suing Trump Over Jim Acosta

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The Last Outlaw
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PostThe Last Outlaw on Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:15 pm


From The Daily Beast
em
From Maxwell Tani, Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Cartwright of The Daily Beast wrote:

CNN sued President Donald Trump and several top administration officials on Tuesday after days worth of intense behind-the-scenes negotiations in which network officials repeatedly attempted to convince Team Trump to restore their top White House reporter’s credentials.

Last week, the White House press office announced it would revoke CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s “hard pass”—the security credential granted to all prominent journalists who regularly cover the White House—after the reporter engaged in a tense back-and-forth with President Trump during a press conference.

In the following days, the White House’s justifications for such action constantly shifted. At one point, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared a doctored video to falsely suggest Acosta violently “laid his hands on” a White House intern who attempted to grab away his microphone during his confrontation with the president.

And on Tuesday, CNN responded by suing the Trump administration in a Washington, D.C. district court, claiming that the White House had violated the network and Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights to free speech and due process.

But that decision came after other options failed.

“This is not a step we have taken lightly. But the White House action is unprecedented,” CNN chief Jeff Zucker said in a note to staff. “The first amendment grants the right of all journalists to hold those in power accountable and ask tough questions. It’s what Jim and all of his colleagues who cover the White House and the administration do with integrity and professionalism.”

According to the complaint, CNN head Jeff Zucker privately reached out to different members of the White House press office, and even directly appealed to Chief of Staff John Kelly.

The network warned West Wing officials that if a resolution was not reached, then CNN would file a lawsuit. A White House source with knowledge of the standoff told The Daily Beast that CNN had reached out to Kelly and other senior aides, but declined to go into further detail.

Sources familiar with the network’s conversations additionally said the White House seemed uninterested in changing its decision. “We could have continued this back and forth, which was more of a forth,” a senior-level CNN source told The Daily Beast.

A second source involved with filing the lawsuit said: “We tried very hard to work it out but got no response.”

In the lawsuit, the cable-news network named Trump, Kelly, Sanders, communications chief Bill Shine, the U.S. Secret Service, and an unnamed Secret Service agent as defendants.

The Secret Service was named not only for initially revoking Acosta’s pass, but because, according to CNN, Acosta was credentialed by French authorities to cover Trump’s appearances in Paris this weekend.

But when Acosta arrived to do his job, he was turned away by U.S. Secret Service.

“Without his press credentials, Acosta’s ability to perform his duties as CNN’s Chief White House correspondent is effectively eliminated,” the network wrote in its complaint. “Because CNN’s chief White House correspondent has effectively been prohibited from reporting from the White House and the President’s trips, its newsgathering and reporting abilities have been significantly hampered, causing harm not just to CNN, but also to its many viewers and readers who rely on CNN as an essential news source.”

The White House and the Secret Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this story.

A West Wing official told The Daily Beast that President Trump, who has nicknamed the reporter “Crazy Jim Acosta” and makes no secret of his personal disdain for him, “isn’t going to be losing any sleep over this.”

The West Wing’s cavalier response to CNN’s legal action reflects its broader attitude toward Acosta and his confrontational style that’s earned him scorn from Trumpworld and marquee treatment from outlets like Hollywood trade magazine Variety.

Numerous Trump White House officials, current and former, have said that they privately celebrate whenever a Trump vs. Acosta narrative emerges in the national press, because they view CNN—and Acosta in particular—as a useful foil in their sparring with mainstream media reporters..

In a Politico profile published late last year, cheekily titled, “Jim Acosta Is the White House’s Favorite Reporter,” the publication asked Trump’s former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon whether Acosta played right into Team Trump’s hands.

Bannon messaged back a one-word reply: “Yes!!!!!!!”

First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams told The Daily Beast that CNN may have a strong case.

“It’s not that the president lacks authority to bar individuals who have misbehaved in a manner that substantially interferes with the ongoing process of a press conference,” he explained.“But what the President cannot do is to bar someone who disagrees with the substance of the questions he asks or because he chooses to retaliate against him because of prior questions he asks.”

Lloyd Grove contributed reporting.

Maxwell Tani -- Maxwell.Tani@thedailybeast.com
Asawin Suebsaeng -- asawin.suebsaeng@thedailybeast.com
Lachlan Cartwright -- lachlan.cartwright@thedailybeast.com

Keep this in mind, ladies and gentlemen: WE (The People of the United States of America) has given charge to this Administration to uphold our values, our Constitution and maintain peace among our allies around the world.  This Administration can't even keep peace between the current President and his relationship with the News Media who is tasked with covering this president and bringing us the facts of his Administration and how it will affect us.

They will soon find out that dealing with the media in THIS fashion is gonna be the hardest thing about being President.  It's always better to talk to the media than to be combative with them.  Trump, Sanders, the ball is now in your court.

Just saying.

_________________

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