Trump admin defends White House decision to bar CNN reporter

Washington: President Donald Trump’s administration said on Wednesday that it has “broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists” as it fends off a legal challenge from CNN over the revocation of its reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass.

“No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House,” three Justice Department lawyers wrote in a legal filing released hours before a federal court hearing on CNN’s request for a temporary restraining order to restore Acosta’s access.

“The President and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists (and other members of the public) that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews, or which journalists they acknowledge at press conferences,” the lawyers said.

Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, was denied access to the White House on November 7, hours after his heated exchange with the President.

CNN on Tuesday sued the Trump administration over the suspension of Acosta’s press pass, claiming the decision violates the reporter’s First and Fifth Amendment rights to free speech and due process.

CNN said both the company and Acosta are plaintiffs. They are seeking a temporary restraining order from a federal judge that would immediately restore Acosta’s press pass. If CNN prevails, Acosta would be allowed back into the White House while the lawsuit proceeds.