White House issues rules for the media after it grudgingly reinstates CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass

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White House issues rules for the media after it grudgingly reinstates CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass

The White House has issued rules for the news media in the wake of a dispute between President Donald Trump and CNN correspondent Jim Acosta.

Under the rules, journalists will be allowed to ask one question and will then “yield the floor to other journalists.”

“‘Yielding the floor’ includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House Communication’s deputy chief of staff Bill Shine said in a statement.

Journalists will also be permitted to ask at least one follow-up question if Trump or another White House official approves it.

The rules come after the White House reinstated the press pass of CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, on Monday. Acosta’s “hard pass,” which allows him access to the White House, was suspended after Trump ridiculed Acosta as he tried to ask him a follow-up question during a press conference a day after the November 6 midterm elections.

Acosta held on to a shared microphone during the exchange, even as a White House intern tried to retrieve it from the CNN reporter.

CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, asks Trump a question.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Sanders described Acosta’s conduct as “absolutely unacceptable” and accused him of laying hands on the intern, which Acosta denied. Video that Sanders shared showing the moment the intern tried to take the microphone from Acosta appeared to have been edited.

CNN filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in response to Acosta’s press-pass suspension, alleging its First Amendment rights were violated.

On Friday, US District Judge Timothy Kelly ordered the White House to reverse its decision on Fifth Amendment grounds, ruling that Acosta’s due-process rights, or his chance to appeal the White House’s decision, were violated.

The White House complied with the order and restored Acosta’s pass.

“Should you refuse to follow these rules in the future, we will take action in accordance with the rules set forth above,” the White House said in its statement. “The President is aware of this decision and concurs.”

It remains unclear whether the rules will change the contentious relationship Trump and his communications team has with the news media. Reporters have pressed White House staff for answers to their questions in press briefings throughout Trump’s presidency.

The White House acknowledged its rules allowed them broad control during press conferences, but claimed it was a necessary move.

“We are aware that [the rules] afford the White House a degree of discretion in enforcing these rules and we see no substitute for reserving such discretion,” the White House’s statement said. “A press conference is not a mechanical exercise.”

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