CNN correspondent Jim Acosta does a stand up before the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. Picture: AP
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta does a stand up before the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. Picture: AP

CNN sues Trump after wild clash

CNN is suing Donald Trump and several White House aides after one of the network's reporters dramatically clashed with the President and had his press pass suspended.

The lawsuit alleges that Jim Acosta and CNN's rights are being violated by the ban, which followed a confrontation between Mr Trump and the journalist at a news conference last week.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders then came under fire for sharing a "doctored" video of the incident on Twitter as "evidence" of Acosta's behaviour.

A spokeswoman for CNN confirmed the lawsuit was being filed in US District Court in Washington, DC on Tuesday morning.

Ms Sanders attacked the move, saying: "This is just more grandstanding from CNN, and we will vigorously defend against this lawsuit".

The defendants are Mr Trump, Ms Sanders, chief of staff John Kelly, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, Secret Service director Joseph Clancy, and an unidentified Secret Service officer who took Acosta's pass away last Wednesday.

The White House was accused of sharing a doctored video of the moment CNN reporter Jim Acosta interacted with an intern.
The White House was accused of sharing a doctored video of the moment CNN reporter Jim Acosta interacted with an intern.

"CNN filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration this morning in DC District Court," the network said in a statement.

"It demands the return of the White House credentials of CNN's Chief White House correspondent, Jim 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. We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process."

Acosta was denied entry to the White House grounds after his sensational confrontation with Mr Trump at a news conference following the midterm elections.

The President called the reporter "a rude, terrible person" as he refused to answer his questions, and an intern tried to take Acosta's microphone away.

Mr Trump also lashed out at April Ryan, a White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and CNN's Abby Phillip.

Ms Sanders said he had behaved inappropriately towards the young woman.

The network said the incident "could have happened to anyone," adding that, "If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials."

Acosta was denied entry to the White House grounds after his sensational confrontation with Mr Trump at a news conference following the midterm elections.

She said his press credentials were revoked because the White House will "never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern".

Ms Sanders said Acosta's behaviour was "absolutely unacceptable" and that CNN supporting him was "disgusting".

She said his press credentials were revoked because the White House would "never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern".

Ms Sanders shared a video of the incident on Twitter, writing: "We stand by our decision to revoke this individual's hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behaviour clearly documented in this video."

But well-known journalists, including The New York Times' Maggie Haberman and CNN executive Matt Dornic, accused Ms Sanders of sharing a video doctored by far-right website Infowars to speed up Acosta's arm motion.

"Absolutely shameful, @PressSec. You released a doctored video," wrote Dornic.

"Yes, the White House press office is sharing a manipulated video that makes it appear that Acosta was menacing the intern when he was not and did not. The intern reached over Acosta to grab the microphone while he was trying to ask another q and Acosta tried to pull away," said Haberman.

Late night TV hosts Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel both said Ms Sanders should be fired.

"The fact that the White House press secretary is promoting this doctored video is reprehensible, and grounds for dismissal," Colbert said.

A video expert had told The Associated Press that the video appeared to have been altered to speed up Acosta's arm movement and make his gesture seem more threatening.

Mr Trump denied it was doctored. "They gave a close-up view," he said. "That's not doctoring."

CNN sent a letter to the White House formally requesting the immediate reinstatement of Acosta's pass on Friday, warning that a legal challenge could follow.

   



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