White House again threatens Acosta’s pass after judge ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is threatening to again suspend White House press credentials for CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

After a federal judge ordered that Acosta's credentials be temporarily restored Friday, the White House sent Acosta a letter saying they had made the "preliminary decision" to suspend his pass when the judge's order expires.

The White House argues Acosta did not follow "basic standards" at a news conference when he scrapped with President Donald Trump.

In a court filing Monday, CNN said the administration was creating "retroactive due process." The network tweeted that the White House "is continuing to violate the First and Fifth amendments of the Constitution."

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, ordered the Trump administration on Friday to immediately return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta. The judge said Acosta's credentials must be reactivated to allow him access to the White House complex for press briefings and other events.

Acosta, CNN's chief White House correspondent, was back in the afternoon. The White House said it would be developing new rules for orderly press conferences.

The White House revoked Acosta's credentials last week after he and Trump tangled verbally during a press conference following the midterm elections. CNN sued and asked the judge to issue a temporary restraining order forcing the White House to give back Acosta's credentials. The judge agreed.

CNN alleged that Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated when the White House revoked his "hard pass."

While the judge didn't rule on the underlying case, he ordered Acosta's pass returned for now in part because he said CNN was likely to prevail on its Fifth Amendment claim — that Acosta hadn't received sufficient notice or explanation before his credentials were revoked or been given sufficient opportunity to respond before they were.

The judge said the government could not say who initially decided to revoke Acosta's hard pass and how that decision was reached.

"In response to the court, we will temporarily reinstate the reporter's hard pass," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "We will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future."

Speaking to reporters after the decision, Trump said, "If they don't listen to the rules and regulations, we will end up back in court and we will win."

He later added: "We want total freedom of the press. It's very important to me, more important to me than anybody would believe. But you have to act with respect when you're in the White House, and when I see the way some of my people get treated at press conferences, it's terrible. So we're setting up a certain standard, which is what the court is requesting."

The White House had spelled out its reasons for revoking Acosta's credentials in a tweet from Sanders and in a statement after CNN filed its lawsuit. But the judge said those "belated efforts were hardly sufficient to satisfy due process."

But the judge also emphasized the "very limited nature" of his ruling Friday. He noted he had not determined that the First Amendment was violated.