The plan as of Wednesday was that U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly would announce a decision on the temporary restraining order filed by CNN to reinstate Jim Acosta’s White House access sometime Thursday afternoon. Today the court announced a decision would instead be announced Friday morning. From ABC News:
A federal judge is expected to announce Friday morning whether he will grant CNN’s request that he order the Trump White House to immediately restore a press pass to the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
The court hearing and announcement, originally scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday, was delayed until Friday at 10 a.m. without explanation.
The question here is whether Acosta gets his press pass back while the underlying court case continues. Yesterday, Allahpundit wrote about the DOJ response which argued that the President has complete control over who has access to the White House:
With respect to their First Amendment claim, the President and his staff have absolute discretion over which journalists they grant interviews to, as well as over which journalists they acknowledge at press events. That broad discretion necessarily includes discretion over which journalists receive on-demand access to the White House grounds and special access during White House travel for the purpose of asking questions of the President or his staff. No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House and the President need not survive First Amendment scrutiny whenever he exercises his discretion to deny an individual journalist one of the many hundreds of passes granting on-demand access to the White House complex. Plaintiffs rely on the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Sherrill v. Knight, 569 F.2d 124 (D.C. Cir. 1977), but that case is not as broad as they suggest. Far from establishing all-purpose rules for regulating White House press passes—rules that apply to everything from the Secret Service’s determinations about security risks to the President’s personal exercises of discretion based on his first-hand observations—Sherrill addressed solely the Secret Service’s decision to deny a pass on security grounds to a journalist to whom the White House had otherwise decided to grant access. That critical predicate is absent here; “all parties” do not “recognize” that Mr. Acosta deserves access to the White House as soon as he clears a Secret Service security review…The stated rationale for the revocation of Mr. Acosta’s pass—that he was disrupting press proceedings—is evident from the video he has proffered, is entirely viewpoint- and content-neutral, and clears this limited bar.
That last bit is going to be the deciding factor here ultimately. Can the White House argue that this was a reaction to Acosta’s behavior rather than to the content of his coverage? My own take on that press conference, written before Acosta’s pass had been revoked, focused only tangentially on his interaction with a White House intern. The main thrust was that Acosta’s behavior in the press conference was out-of-line. Here’s what I wrote:
At this point, Acosta has had a minute and a half for his “question.” As the president tried to move on to another reporter, Acosta kept demanding more time for himself. Trump said, “That’s enough” at least five times, pointing directly at Acosta but Acosta kept talking over him, demanding to ask a question about the Russia investigation. At one point, some intern or White House staffer actually came up to Acosta and tried to take the microphone away from him. When he refused to let it go, she squatted down in the front row and let the Acosta show continue.
Trump answered Acosta’s second question saying, “I’m not concerned about anything with the Russia investigation because it’s a hoax.” And again, Acosta kept arguing with the president as if this were a debate between two candidates at a town hall event.
Trump, clearly exasperated, finally walked away from the podium until Acosta sat down. When he returned to the podium he said, “I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.”…
Acosta has stopped even pretending to be trying to ask questions and has become something closer to a left-wing protester. He’s been doing this for months. He behaved this way when the president was in England a few months ago and he’s done it when the president couldn’t possibly hear or respond to him.
He’s not reporting at this point, he’s performing resistance theater for the cameras.
I’ve highlighted the President’s reaction to Acosta’s behavior. Notice that Trump’s anger flared not over Acosta’s questions but over his behavior. In fact, moments earlier Trump had calmly replied to a question (really more of a statement) about the caravan by saying, “You and I have a difference of opinion.”
It was only after Acosta refused to allow Trump to move on to another reporter and kept talking over him as Trump repeatedly said “That’s enough,” that the president became exasperated and walked away from the podium. And when he returned a few seconds later, Trump’s statement was “You are a rude, terrible person.” He added, “You’re a very rude person. They way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. And the way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way”
Rudeness is not about content. Rudeness is about behavior.
The focus by the White House and the media on the brief touching of an intern became a sideshow which many on the left have claimed was intended as a cover for ejecting someone on impermissible content grounds. But the video itself shows it was Acosta’s behavior that irked the president in the first place. If the judge wants to look at the immediate evidence for what motivated the White House to pull Acosta’s hard pass, there it is.
Of course, this has become such a cause celebre that the facts don’t seem to matter anymore. We’ll find out if Acosta gets his pass back tomorrow morning.
.@Acosta is a rude and unprofessional pundit masquerading as a journalist.
He should be ashamed of himself and his behavior. #MAGA
— Harlan Z. Hill (@Harlan) November 7, 2018
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