CNN is suing President Donald Trump for barring reporter Jim Acosta from press briefings after they got into a televised confrontation last week.
The lawsuit accuses the president and various White House aides of violating Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights, and seeks to immediately reinstate his White House press credentials.
CNN and Acosta, who is the network’s chief White House correspondent, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which targets six defendants: Trump, White House chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy chief of staff William Shine, the Secret Service, Secret Service director Randolph Alles, and the unnamed Secret Service official who physically revoked Acosta’s White House credentials.
“This severe and unprecedented punishment is the culmination of years of hostility by President Trump against CNN and Acosta based on the contents of their reporting—an unabashed attempt to censor the press and exclude reporters from the White House who challenge and dispute the President’s point of view,” the complaint, filed Tuesday, said.
On Nov. 7, just one day after Democrats reclaimed control of the House, Acosta asked the president why he had repeatedly described a group of migrants and asylum seekers traveling through Central America to the U.S. border as “an invasion” in the run-up to the midterm elections.
“That’s enough! That’s enough! That’s enough!” Trump said, as Acosta attempted to ask the president a follow-up about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“That’s enough,” Trump said. “Put down the mic.”
“CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,” Trump also told Acosta. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.”
The complaint notes that Sanders later tweeted out an apparently doctored video suggesting Acosta had grabbed the arm of a female White House press room aide who tried to physically snatch the microphone from his hand.
“It has further been reported that the video Ms. Sanders disseminated to the public came from a contributor to InfoWars, an organization whose ‘conspiracy theories and hateful content’ have led to it ‘being banned earlier this year by most major social media platforms,’” the complaint said.
The complaint, at length, also describes the president’s repeated and vehement attacks against CNN, highlighting that in July of 2017, the president retweeted a video of himself punching a man with a CNN logo superimposed over his face.
Cover image: WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 07: U.S. President Donald Trump gets into an exchange with Jim Acosta of CNN after giving remarks a day after the midterm elections on November 7, 2018 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. Republicans kept the Senate majority but lost control of the House to the Democrats. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)