CNN Asks Court to Intervene After White House Threat on Acosta

In this Nov. 14, 2018, photo, CNN’s Jim Acosta walks into federal court in Washington, to attend a hearing on a legal challenge against President Donald Trump’s administration. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (CN) – CNN asked a federal judge on Monday to intervene after the White House reportedly informed correspondent Jim Acosta that it plans to again revoke his credential after a court-ordered temporary restoration expires at the end of the month.

In a three -page filing in federal court in Washington D.C., CNN “offered to resolve” its dispute with the White House “amicably” after U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly ruled the White House  violated Acosta’s due process rights by abruptly suspending his press pass after a tense exchange with President Donald Trump during a Nov. 7 press conference.

CNN attorney Theodore Boutrous, of the Washington, D.C.-based firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, says that over the weekend CNN and the White House Correspondents’ Association reached out to the White House in a bid to mend fences.

The groups offered to help the White House establish its protocols for press conferences, a plan announced by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders shortly after its loss in federal court on Friday.

But Boutrous claims their request was brushed off, and Sanders and White House Deputy Chief of Staff William Shine sent a letter to CNN notifying it that  Acosta’s hard pass would be “preliminarily suspended” as soon as the restraining order expired.

“They demanded a response by 5 p.m. on Sunday and arbitrarily set a deadline of 3 p.m. Monday for their determination as to whether the ‘preliminary decision’ becomes final,” Boutrous wrote in the court filing.

The attorney says CNN would have preferred to avoid further intervention by the court, but the White House’s “stated intentions,” makes that impossible.

CNN wants the court to set an expedited schedule for briefings as well as a hearing on the preliminary injunction.

According to a response filed by the White House Monday morning, CNN “ignored” the court’s order on Friday which instructed both parties to file a joint report proposing how they would like to proceed.

Instead, attorney James Burnham wrote,  Acosta and CNN filed their request for an emergency briefing schedule on Monday – and unnecessarily.

“They did so unilaterally, without any consultation or conferral as required by … [this] court’s order. There is no basis for plaintiffs to disregard this Court’s express instructions and the local rules,” the filing states.

“So far, the White House has taken only the first step in fulfilling the due process obligations this court imposed; it has not yet made a final determination, much less sought relief from the court’s [temporary restraining order.] There was therefore no need to file a self-styled ‘emergency’ motion in the absence of the consultation required by this court’s order and the local rules,” Burnham wrote.

White House attorneys have asked Judge Kelly to grant their team until 6 p.m. to respond in full.

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