Fox News backs CNN in lawsuit against Trump, wants Acosta's access reinstated

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

The president of Fox News said on Wednesday that the cable news network is joining more than a dozen other media outlets in supporting rival CNN in its lawsuit against President Trump over the White House’s decision to revoke access for correspondent Jim Acosta.

“Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential,” Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement. “Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”

In its complaint, filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, CNN argued that the revocation of Acosta’s access was “the culmination of years of hostility by President Trump against CNN and Acosta” based on the media outlet’s reporting and “an unabashed attempt to censor the press and exclude reporters from the White House who challenge and dispute the President’s point of view.”

Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: AP, Getty Images

In response, the Justice Department argued in a court filing that Trump has “broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists.”

Wallace said Fox News intended to file a formal brief in support of CNN with the court ahead of an afternoon hearing.

During a press conference at White House last week, Trump berated Acosta when he challenged the president’s assertion that a caravan of Central American migrants making its way on foot through Mexico to the U.S. border represented an “invasion.”

Acosta tried to ask a follow-up question as a White House intern tried to grab his microphone but was told by Trump, “That’s enough.”

“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them,” Trump added. “You are are a rude, terrible person.”

The White House later released a statement saying it was suspending Acosta’s hard pass, which provides expedited access to the White House grounds.

“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his administration,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”

Sanders then shared a doctored video that she claimed “clearly documented” the incident. But the deceptively edited video, first posted by a YouTube user known for his conspiratorial videos, was sped up to make Acosta appear aggressive.

Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, Trump himself suggested the move had less to do with Acosta’s contact with the intern and more to do with the volume of his voice.

“He’s got a loud voice,” Trump said, adding, “You have to treat the White House of the office of the president with great respect.”

Star Fox anchor Sean Hannity isn’t on board with his network president either, denouncing Acosta last week as a “far-left, grandstanding, sycophant left-winger.”

But to CNN’s White House press corps, the issue is bigger than Acosta.

“We can’t have a president acting like dictators do all over the world — to silence reporters that they don’t like or reporters who say things or dig too deeply or expose the president too much,” Ted Olson, the attorney representing CNN in its lawsuit, said Tuesday. “The president wants to silence people like that. He cannot do that under the First Amendment.”


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