US President Donald Trump's favourite television network, Fox News, has made a surprise intervention by backing media rival CNN in its legal stoush with the Trump administration over the revocation of the credentials of CNN's chief White House correspondent.
"The White House can not be permitted to cast out and punish reporters with whom it disagrees", CNN said in its court filing.
At a White House press conference on Wednesday, November 7-the day after the midterms-the president grew angry when Acosta asked him about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia-related investigation. The network said Trump engaged in an "unabashed attempt to censor the press" by banning Acosta, who has gained notoriety for his aggressive questioning of the president.
The 28-page filing came hours before a federal court hearing in Washington during which CNN will seek a temporary restraining order to have Acosta's pass returned.
A White House intern then approached him to try to take the microphone away from him.
Nevertheless, Wishon suggested the White House's decision to yank Acosta's hard pass may not have been the wisest course of action. Sanders also said that the new justification for the removal of his pass was that he did not yield to other reporters for questions. In an irony that seems lost on the author of the pleadings, the fact that Trump has continued to engage with CNN reporters, including Jim Acosta during the very press conference in controversy, argues against their case.
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"We do not believe that revoking White House press credentials is an appropriate remedy for a disagreement the White House may have with a particular reporter", CBS News' statement said.
How the due process rights guaranteed of pass applicants can mandate the President keep in place a reporter that the White House has deemed unwelcome remains to be seen and was not discussed in the pleadings.
Trump is not the first president to openly spar with the press.
"The President and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists (and other members of the public) that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews, or which journalists they acknowledge at press conferences", the White House said in its response to the suit Wednesday. "It is imperative that independent journalists have access to the President and his activities, and that journalists are not barred for arbitrary reasons", the statement read.
The White House Correspondents' Association welcomed CNN's lawsuit, saying "revoking access to the White House complex amounted to disproportionate reaction to the events". Acosta told the president that it was not an invasion and that Trump knew it, but chose to demonize immigrants.