Not due and not process

I’m not a lawyer, obviously, but the Trump administration’s response in the CNN-Acosta lawsuit seems bonkers to me.

The White House asserts that it can pick and choose which journalists are given a permanent pass to cover it, according to a court filing by the Justice Department on Wednesday.

The filing was the government’s legal response to CNN and Jim Acosta’s lawsuit over the recent suspension of Acosta’s press pass.

Tuesday’s lawsuit against President Trump and several of his top aides alleged that the ban violates CNN and Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights.

Virtually all of the country’s major news organizations have sided with CNN.

Even Fox. But the Trump gang says they have “broad discretion” to choose what journalists can set foot in their White House.

The government’s filing quotes a tweet by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders in which she announced the suspension of Acosta’s pass and saying his “conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”

The “conduct” mentioned by Sanders in the tweet that the government lawyers cite actually refers to a false and since-dropped argument that Sanders had made in the aftermath of the press conference — that Acosta was “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.”

The administration has backed away from that argument in recent days, and it makes no appearance in the government’s first legal comment on the case Wednesday. Even when the filing directly quotes Sanders’ tweets, it leaves out that part.

The government’s lawyers said in Wednesday’s filing that the back and forth between President Trump and Acosta during last week’s press conference, during which Trump strongly criticized Acosta, qualifies as “due process.” They also cite Sanders’ statement the night of that press conference as “notice of the factual bases for denial.”

That’s the part where I decided they’re bonkers. Not just wrong and incompetents but nuts. They’re calling Trump’s rude inappropriate eruptions at Acosta “due process.” Come on.

Other news organizations are now standing with CNN. In a statement Wednesday, The Associated Press, Bloomberg, First Look Media, Fox News, Gannett, NBC News, The New York Times, Politico, USA Today and The Washington Post, among others, said, “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. 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. We will be filing friend-of-the-court briefs to support CNN’s and Jim Acosta’s lawsuit based on these principles.”

Note they will be filing actual briefs, not just tweets.

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