Religion News Service joins amicus brief in support of CNN, against Trump and White House

((Photo: Reuters / Jason Reed))

Religion News Service has said it intends to join the amicus brief in support of CNN and its journalist Jim Acosta against President Donald Trump and his key White House staff members.

The White House Correspondents' Association filed a court brief on Nov. 14 backing CNN's lawsuit against rump, arguing that the president does not have the power to deny reporters access to the White House, Politico reported.

For its part RNS said on Sept. 15 that First Amendment's freedom of the press is sacrosanct under the U.S. Constitution and necessary for a healthy democracy said RNS.

The arbitrary revocation of Acosta's so-called "hard pass" is an extraordinary denial of this freedom where, as here, it is clear the White House dislikes the questions asked by the journalist.

"This is unacceptable. Moreover, the implementation of this decision fundamentally failed the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process. Again, this is unacceptable," said RNS in a statement Nov. 15.

It said the White House must immediately reinstate Mr. Acosta's press credentials for him to report on the White House and the presidency.

"Should the White House continue to resist the reinstatement of Mr. Acosta's press credentials, we expect that the court will require the president and White House to do so," said Thomas Gallagher, CEO and RNS publisher.

Fox News had joined a number of media outlets on Nov. 14 in announcing that they would back rival CNN's lawsuit against the Trump administration, The Hill reported.

Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement that the network intends to file an amicus brief with a U.S. District Court in the lawsuit.

CNN had filed suit against the White House on Nov. 13 seeking the return of correspondent Acosta's press credentials, revoked last week after a testy exchange with President Trump during a press conference.

"FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter's press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized," Wallace said.

"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."

NBC News, The Associated Press, Bloomberg, Gannett, The New York Times, Politico, USA Today, The Washington Post, EW Scripps, and other outlets were also cited as planning to file briefs supporting CNN's lawsuit, according to a release from Ballard Spahr LLP, a law firm representing the outlets.

"Whether the news of the day concerns national security, the economy, or the environment, reporters covering the White House must remain free to ask questions," the news outlets said in a joint statement released by the firm.

"It is imperative that independent journalists have access to the President and his activities, and that journalists are not barred for arbitrary reasons. Our news organizations support the fundamental constitutional right to question this President, or any President."

"The President's view of the law is wrong," the White House Correspondents Association's amicus brief states.

"While he may have absolute discretion to exclude a member of the press from his Trump Tower residence, he does not have absolute discretion to exclude a member of the press from the White House," it said.

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