WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — A federal judge ordered the Trump administration on Friday to immediately return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, though a lawsuit over the credentials’ revocation is continuing.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, announced his decision Friday morning. The judge said Acosta’s ‘hard pass’ should be returned immediately, allowing him access to the White House complex for press briefings and other events.
“Arguments are going to continue next week to determine if there was a First Amendment violation here,” WBZ Political Analyst Jon Keller explained. “The judge did rule that his Fifth Amendment rights were violated; there was no due process here.
“According to the judge, the White House couldn’t explain how this decision was made, or really why it was made. The judge is saying no, you can’t do that.”
The White House said it would comply with the judge’s order, but planned to develop “rules” for orderly press conferences.
Acosta’s credentials were revoked last week after he and Trump tangled during a press conference. CNN sued and asked the judge to issue a temporary restraining order forcing the White House to give back Acosta’s credentials, at least temporarily. The judge agreed.
“No one’s hands are totally clean,” Keller said.
“This whole thing should not have wound up in court. It was a conflict. It was as much a personality clash as any kind of substantive clash,” he added. “He [Acosta] was argumentative with the President. That’s a little bit different than being persistent about the questioning.
“He started to lecture the President on what the facts were. The President said, well we have a difference of opinion here, and he persisted. I think there are a lot of people in the media that didn’t really appreciate that and felt Acosta might have overstepped a bit.”
Keller said that the President, or those in his inner circle, seems to think the White House is an extension of the Trump organization.
“That’s not how it works. The White House is the people’s house. They’re in there doing the people’s business and due process applies.”
Judge Kelly emphasized the “very limited nature” of his ruling Friday. He noted he had not determined that the First Amendment was violated. He told attorneys to file additional court papers in the case by Monday.
Acosta returned to the White House Friday afternoon, saying he was grateful for the judge’s ruling.
“This is just any other day at the White House for me and I would like to get back to work,” he said.
One thing is for sure, Keller noted. “The next press conference, if there is one in the near future, should be really interesting.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)