Yahoo News Explains: Can Trump quash the White House press corps?

Kayla Jardine
Associate Producer

CNN’s Jim Acosta is reporting at the White House again after a judge ruled that the Trump administration overstepped the law in revoking his access.

“I’ll tell you what: CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person,” Trump told Acosta.

It’s no secret that Trump isn’t a big fan of the media, especially CNN, which he has frequently referred to as the “Clinton News Network.”

But after Acosta’s press pass was pulled, the network filed a lawsuit against the president, alleging that he violated its First and Fifth Amendment rights.

Lawyers for the administration argued, “The President and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews. …”

But a judge ruled that the White House had to reissue Acosta’s press pass. “I want to thank the judge for the decision he made today. And let’s go back to work,” said Acosta.

The First Amendment guarantees: “Congress shall make no law prohibiting … or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

And following a 1977 court case, any outlet can apply for a press pass, and cannot be denied one without a formal written decision.

Currently, 20 of the 49 seats in the press pool are taken by news outlets that didn’t exist when seats were first assigned or by organizations new to covering the White House.

Members of the press have had an assigned workspace at the White House since 1902.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s press secretary first permitted outlets to record coverage of news conferences in 1955.

Further solidifying the importance of the press, President John F. Kennedy became the first to hold a live televised press conference.  

The growing presence of media even forced the White House to build a more modern briefing room next to the West Wing in 1969.

Democratic and Republican administrations alike have granted the press access for decades, including big and small outlets.

But President Trump has been less welcoming of news outlets, and the Acosta court case is just the latest confrontation.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said the administration will “develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future.”

But according to CNN, the Trump administration said it’s going to revoke Acosta’s pass again once the temporary restraining order expires.

The president said his staff is are now drafting a code of conduct for the press.