Judge orders White House to restore CNN reporter’s pass

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It is a legal victory for CNN, which has become a target for Mr Trump's "fake news" attacks since he took office in January 2017. However, the dynamic devolved into a near-shouting match during a combative press conference last week following midterm elections in which Republicans lost control of the House. "Let's get back to work".

The judge also pressed CNN's attorneys, noting that there were plenty of other CNN journalists covering the White House.

The network's lawyer, Theodore Boutrous, contended that Acosta was being singled out for his White House coverage, not his alleged rudeness during a news conference.

The Trump administration barred another CNN reporter from attending an open media event in July, but until the Acosta matter, he did not go as far as removing a credential, known as a "hard pass", which enables a journalist to enter the White House grounds.

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Federal Judge Timothy Kelly granted CNN's request for a temporary restraining order, which will allow Acosta to re-join the White House press corps, at least temporarily.

He noted that Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered two differing justifications for revoking the "hard pass" credentials from Acosta.

"The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process", CNN's official complaint read.

"Whatever process occurred within the government is still so shrouded in mystery that the government could not tell me at oral argument who made the initial decision to revoke Mr. Acosta's press pass", Kelly said.

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Acosta, CNN´s chief White House correspondent, angered Trump when he persisted in questioning the president at a November 7 news conference, ignoring demands he yield the microphone. They also said the administration failed to give Acosta a written explanation for the decision and an opportunity to rebut, something that was required by court precedent.

A White House staff member tries to take the mic from CNN's Jim Acosta as he questions Donald Trump. On Thursday, Washington Post asked White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp if Trump would pull other reporters' passes; she declined to answer.

It's very possible the White House drops the case and instead comes up with some level of varying standards that could again be challenged by the press in court. Acosta said outside the courthouse after the ruling.

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