A federal judge just ruled that the White House must temporarily reinstate CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials. The network had sued the Trump administration after it revoked his access, following a bizarre sequence of events.
Acosta, during a press conference, asked Trump a series of questions that the president didn’t much like. An intern tried to get Acosta’s microphone back, and he held on to it for a short time. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders then claimed that the journalist swatted at the intern, which was absolutely not the case. She backed up her claim using apparently altered footage.
In its testimony, the White House did not use this line of reasoning for banning Acosta, but instead claimed that it has broad discretion to deny press credentials. The judge, whom Trump had appointed, did not agree, and ruled that the administration must give Acosta his credentials back.
This is an early victory: The judge ruled that a temporary pass restoration was in order because due process had been neglected. He did not, however, decide whether or not the First Amendment had been violated. The White House could take further measures to revoke Acosta’s press pass and fight this battle in court.
But, for now, it’s at least heartening that freedom of the press is being honored by some.