politics Trump

CNN Sues Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders Over Acosta Incident

"Plaintiffs bring this action to ensure that the press remains free to question the government."

Well, he asked for it, and now he’s got it.

Donald Trump is being sued by CNN after the White House revoked reporter Jim Acosta’s hard pass last week following a truly surreal exchange that found the President calling Acosta “a terrible person”.

The episode, which came during a wild post-midterm press conference, was universally criticized as the most egregious example yet of the administration’s efforts to trample on press freedom and otherwise stamp out dissent.

Here, for anyone who needs a refresher, is the exchange at the heart of the issue:


To justify the revocation of Acosta’s pass, Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out a doctored video in an effort to suggest that Acosta had physically assaulted the White House aide who attempted to wrench his microphone away.

Multiple experts have examined the version of the video Sanders tweeted and the conclusion is unanimous: It was altered for effect, a surreal state of affairs in a country where press freedom is sacrosanct. Here’s Abba Shapiro, an independent video producer who examined the footage at AP’s request, explaining:


CNN’s suit (embedded in full below), names Trump, John Kelly, Sarah Sanders, Bill Shine, Joseph Clancy, and a Secret Service officer. “The six defendants are all named because of their roles in enforcing and announcing Acosta’s suspension”, CNN said Tuesday morning, in an article announcing the action.

Here’s an excerpt from the complaint:

The Framers of our Constitution embraced a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” N.Y. Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964). The President lacks the authority to quash “[t]he sort of robust political debate encouraged by the First Amendment”— debate that is “bound to produce speech that is critical of those who hold public office.” Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46, 51 (1988). That is why the D.C. Circuit has been clear that “the protection afforded newsgathering under the first amendment guarantee of freedom of the press requires that . . . access [to White House press facilities] not be denied arbitrarily or for less than compelling reasons.” Sherrill v. Knight, 569 F.2d 124, 129 (D.C. Cir. 1977). And “notice . . . of the factual bases for denial [of access to White House press facilities] with an opportunity to rebut is a minimum prerequisite for ensuring that the denial is . . . [not] based on arbitrary or less than compelling reasons.” Id. at 131. 6. Plaintiffs bring this action to enforce this constitutional commitment, restore Acosta’s well-deserved press credentials, and ensure that the press remains free to question the government and to report the business of the nation to the American people.

The move comes less than 48 hours after Adam Schiff (who will be intelligence committee chairman under the Democratic House), said Democrats will investigate Trump for abuse of power in relation to his targeting of the Washington Post and CNN.

You can expect all manner of angry tweets from the President, whose disdain for CNN has morphed into a veritable obsession over the course of his presidency.

Full lawsuit




9 comments on “CNN Sues Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders Over Acosta Incident

  1. Yes, let’s all talk about the “doctored” video and press freedom so we don’t talk about the fact Acosta actually did put his hand on the woman taking the microphone from him, refusing to relinquish it when requested. And let’s all talk about Trump’s childish behavior so we don’t talk about Acosta’s childish behavior. Trump is an idiot. That much is certain. So is/was Acosta and his constant defending-the-American-people-from-the-presidential-bully virtue signalling.

    • Yes, let’s pretend like the President isn’t supposed to be held to a higher standard than literally everyone else on the planet so that we can ignore the fact that America elected a reality TV show host who has since morphed into a dictator before our very eyes.

      • So you prefer your sociopaths well dressed and spoken? Because that appears to be your chief complaint when it comes to Trump and company. Clearly you detest the man and all he claims to stand for.

        I am not a Trump fan in the least. Like I said, he is an idiot with a third grade mentality and vocabulary. But to claim he has morphed into a dictator is laughable. He is penned in on all sides and severely restricted, as are all presidents past, present and future.

        Some push the edges a bit more than others and are quickly slapped down with various deep state maneuvers. The illusion of an all powerful (dictatorial) president is precisely that, an illusion. To a greater extent than most understand, all kings serve at the pleasure of their court. Go too far off the deep end and they are removed one way or another.

    • Are you talking about the edited fake footage because in the actual footage his hand never touches her and at worst his forearm make brief contact in a completely defensive manner while she is attempting to yank away his microphone. If Jim is the aggressor here it is only in his refusal to stop talking which seems legitimate for a member of the press corp, rude, maybe but violent, hardly.

      • As I have said above, Trump is an idiot pure and simple. But this is not the first time a microphone has been physically taken from a reporters hand when he/she refused to give it up. The RARE practice goes all the way back to the Kennedy administration that I remember and I suspect even further, though any earlier admin predates me.

        The question that no one discusses is where should the line be drawn. Everyone is outraged by the president’s behavior. And this is fair game. Is there no line for a reporter’s behavior, of is it all justified because Acosta is righteous in his indignation?

        • In the unedited film, Acosta is clearly speaking with his hands throughout the interaction with Trump. He continues to do this as the intern is attempting to pull the mic from his hands. The edited film was done in such a way as to exaggerate the motion of his left arm in an effort to make it look violent which is clearly wasn’t in the full unedited video.

          If Acosta was so out of line in the first place, why did Huckabee Sanders feel the need to use doctored video to justify the decision? If his behavior was so obviously inappropriate, wouldn’t the unedited film suffice?

  2. Well it’s clear that the problem here is that, when faced with a woman, Mr Acosta grabbed the microphone instead of following the Presidential protocol of “grabbing them by the pussy”. No more press pass for you!!

  3. Free Cap nailed it. And dropped mic.

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