The White House has restored press credentials for CNN correspondent Jim Acotsa, warning him that he could lose them again if he fails to follow press conference rules.
The White House revoked Acosta’s press pass after a testy exchange with President Donald Trump during a nationally televised press conference two weeks ago.
CNN says the White House “backed down” and that it will drop its lawsuit against the Trump administration.
Acosta refused to surrender the microphone as he tried to ask Trump a follow-up question. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders accused Acosta of physically pushing away the hand of an intern who tried to take the microphone — an allegation Acosta denied.
“For years, members of the White House press corps have attended countless press events with the president and other officials without engaging in the behavior Mr. Acosta displayed at the November 7 press conference,” Sanders said Monday.
She informed Acosta in a letter that he is once again welcome in the White House, but warned he and other reporters could lose their press passes if they fail to carry out what she calls “explicit rules” — a reporter is allowed just one question; only the president or others taking questions will allow a follow-up; and “yielding the floor” means hand over the microphone to an aide.
At the November 7 news conference, Acosta questioned Trump whether he demonized a caravan of Central American migrants hoping to cross into the U.S. from Mexico as an “invasion.” Trump responded that he believed it was an invasion, telling Acosta, “Honestly, I think you should let me run the country.”
But the exchange with Trump grew tense when Acosta tried to ask the president another question about the Russian election meddling investigation.
The president said he wasn’t concerned “about anything” because he considered the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller a hoax. But he then lit into Acosta, calling him a “rude, terrible person.”
The White House revoked Acosta’s press credentials. However, a federal judge last Friday ordered the White House to reinstate the credentials for 14 days, saying the ban may have violated Acosta’s constitutional right of freedom of the press.
When the White House threatened to block Acosta again at the end of the month, CNN asked the judge for another emergency hearing, accusing the White House of not responding to its offer to reach a settlement.
Sanders called Trump the “most accessible president in modern history” and said the White House wished it could continue to host press conferences with a “set of understood professional norms.”
Trump told Fox News Sunday, “Nobody believes in the First Amendment more than I do … and if I think somebody’s acting out of sorts I will leave. I will say, ‘Thank you very much everybody, thank you very much for coming’ and I will leave. And those reporters will not be too friendly to whoever it is that’s acting up.” (VOA News)