The White House’s fight with CNN and its White House correspondent Jim Acosta has come to an end, with the White House restoring the sometimes-self-aggrandizing reporter’s access and establishing a new set of rules for the press corps.
The White House pulled Acosta’s “hard pass” to enter and work in the building after Acosta had a contentious back-and-forth with President Trump over the migrant caravan during a post-midterms press conference.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders initially falsely claimed that Acosta was banned because he had “placed his hands” on a White House press aide while she tried to take the microphone away from him; Sanders eventually revised her rationale to say he was banned because he refused to yield to another reporter. (That reporter, NBC’s Peter Alexander, then defended Acosta from Trump’s insults, but Trump told off Alexander as well.) CNN sued and, on Friday, won a temporary restraining order that allowed Acosta back in. The judge presiding over the case said that the White House had violated Acosta’s due process rights by throwing him out based on arbitrary criteria.
Almost immediately, however, the White House threatened Acosta’s access, justifying its decision to kick him out for not following “basic, widely understood practices” and forcing him to write a letter before the White House made a final decision about whether he could remain. CNN’s lawyers responded in court, saying the letter was an “attempt to provide retroactive due process,” to the White House’s initial decision.
While the White House said that Acosta could get his pass back, it also said that he and other reporters would have to follow a new explicit set of rules, which, according to Axios, stipulate that they are allowed to ask one only question unless the president allows a follow-up.