Judge hands CNN victory in its bid to restore Jim Acosta’s White House press pass

Kelly, whom Trump appointed to the federal bench last year, handed down his ruling two days after the network and government lawyers argued over whether the president had the power to exclude a reporter from the White House.

In his decision, Kelly ruled that Acosta’s First Amendment rights overruled the White House’s right to have orderly news conferences. Kelly said he agreed with the government’s argument that there was no First Amendment right to come onto the White House grounds. But, he said, once the White House opened up the grounds to reporters, the First Amendment applied.

.. He also agreed with CNN’s argument that the White House did not provide due process. He said the White House’s decision-making was “so shrouded in mystery that the government could not tell me . . . who made the decision.” The White House’s later written arguments for banning Acosta were belated and weren’t sufficient to satisfy due process, Kelly said.

.. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Acosta’s “indefinite” suspension last week after the confrontation at the news conference. Trump and Sanders have had several run-ins with Acosta stretching back to before Trump became president.

.. CNN has argued that the ban on Acosta violated his First Amendment rights because it amounts to “viewpoint discrimination” — that is, the president is punishing him for statements and coverage he didn’t like. The network has also said the action violates Acosta’s Fifth Amendment right to due process because his exclusion follows no written guidelines or rules and has no appeal or review procedures.

.. Until the White House’s action last week, no reporter credentialed to cover the president had ever had a press pass revoked.

.. A government lawyer, James Burnham, argued in a hearing before Kelly on Wednesday that the president was within his rights to ban any reporter from the White House at any time, just as he excludes reporters from interviews in the Oval Office. He said Acosta could report on the president “just as effectively” by watching the president on TV or by calling sources within the White House. He also said CNN wouldn’t be injured by Acosta’s exclusion since CNN has dozens of other journalists credentialed for the White House.

.. Burnham also explained that Trump’s rationale for Acosta’s ban was his “rudeness” at last week’s news conference, in effect arguing that Acosta’s conduct, not his right to free speech, was the relevant issue.

The assertions drew a rebuttal from CNN’s lawyer, Boutrous, who described the ban on the reporter as arbitrary, capricious and unprecedented. He said White House reporters need access to the premises to meet with sources and to report on untelevised “gaggles,” impromptu discussions with press aides and other officials, so that banning a reporter from the grounds harms his or her ability to do their job.

..  Trump has suggested other reporters could face a similar fate if they displease him in some unspecified way.

.. During the presidential campaign in 2015 and 2016, Trump banned more than a dozen news organizations from his rallies and public events, including The Washington Post. But he said he wouldn’t do something similar as president. Last week, he went back on that statement.

.. Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign has used the CNN lawsuit to drum up contributions, portraying the suit as evidence of “liberal bias” — an assertion Boutrous brought up on Wednesday to demonstrate that Trump had political reasons for banning Acosta.

In private, Trump vents frustration over lack of progress on North Korea

Trump triumphantly declared that North Korea no longer posed a nuclear threat and that one of the world’s most intractable geopolitical crises had been “largely solved.”

But in the days and weeks since then, U.S. negotiators have faced stiff resistance from a North Korean team practiced in the art of delay and obfuscation.

.. Diplomats say the North Koreans have

  • canceled follow-up meetings,
  • demanded more money and
  • failed to maintain basic communications,
  • even as the once-isolated regime’s engagements with China and South Korea flourish.

.. Meanwhile, a missile-engine testing facility that Trump said would be destroyed remains intact, and U.S. intelligence officials say Pyongyang is working to conceal key aspects of its nuclear program.

.. The lack of immediate progress, though predicted by many analysts, has frustrated the president, who has fumed at his aides in private even as he publicly hails the success of the negotiations.

“Discussions are ongoing and they’re going very well,” Trump told reporters Tuesday.

.. Officials say Trump has been captivated by the nuclear talks, asking staffers for daily updates on the status of the negotiations. His frustration with the lack of progress has been coupled with irritation about the media coverage of the joint statement he signed on June 12 in Singapore, a document that contains no timeline or specifics on denuclearization but has reduced tensions between the two countries.

.. Trump has been hit with a strong dose of reality of North Korea’s negotiating style, which is always hard for Americans to ­understand,” said Duyeon Kim

.. Trump’s interest in the issue has put a particularly bright spotlight on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has tried to wring concessions from his counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, a former spy chief viewed by the Trump administration as uncompromising and unable to negotiate outside the most explicit directives from Kim Jong Un.

.. A low point from the perspective of U.S. officials came during Pompeo’s third visit to Pyongyang on July 6 when he pressed North Korean officials for details on their plans to return the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War

.. when Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang, the North Koreans insisted they were still not ready to commit to specific plans

.. The delay angered U.S. officials, who were under pressure to ­deliver given Trump’s premature ­announcement on June 20 that North Korea had already “sent back” the remains of 200 soldiers.

.. The sentiment worsened when Kim Jong Un chose not to meet with Pompeo during his stay as had been expected. Pompeo later denied that a meeting was planned, a claim contradicted by diplomats who said the secretary initially intended to see the North Korean leader.

..Pompeo scheduled a meeting between the North Koreans and their Pentagon counterparts to discuss the issue at the demilitarized zone on July 12. The North, however, kept U.S. defense officials waiting for three hours before calling to cancel

The North Koreans then asked for a future meeting with a higher-ranking military ­official.

.. “Pyongyang has reverted to its heavy-handed negotiating tactics.”

..  North Korea denounced the United States’ “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization” after Pompeo’s last visit and described the discussions as “cancerous.”

.. On Wednesday, Trump said he secured a commitment from Russia to “help” with the North Korea issue.

.. on Friday at the United Nations, his ambassador, Nikki Haley, accused Russia of blocking efforts to discipline North Korea’s illegal smuggling.

.. Climbing down from earlier soaring rhetoric, Trump told CBS this week that “I’m in no real rush. I mean whatever it takes, it takes,” he said.

Trump is too vested to walk away right now,”

.. U.S. officials lay some of the blame on Kim Yong Chol, who despite being North Korea’s chief negotiator has consistently stonewalled discussions by saying he is not empowered to talk about an array of pertinent issues.

That dynamic drew the ire of U.S. officials in an early July meeting in Panmunjom when he refused to discuss the opening of a reliable communications channel or even specific goals of Pompeo’s then-upcoming trip to Pyongyang, diplomats briefed on the meetings said.

..  Kim Yong Chol said he was authorized only to receive a letter Trump had written to Kim Jong Un.

.. When U.S. officials tried to raise substantive issues, Kim Yong Chol resisted and kept asking for the letter. Unable to make headway, the Americans eventually handed over the letter and ended the meeting after only an hour.

.. “[Kim] has a reputation for being extremely rude and aggressive,” said Sung-Yoon Lee, a North Korea scholar at Tufts University

.. Kim Yong Chol’s negotiating tactics so frustrated U.S. officials that several expressed hope that he would be replaced as top negotiator by Ri Yong Ho, the North’s more agreeable minister of foreign affairs.

.. “Ri knows the issues better and can speak perfect English. Kim is a former spy, not a negotiator.”

.. One of Pompeo’s key objectives ahead of the Pyongyang meeting was to improve basic communications with the North

Many of the president’s top security and intelligence officials have long doubted that North Korea would live up to any of its commitments. But given the lack of options outside of the diplomatic realm, some analysts said a tolerant approach still provides the best outlook.

.. “I worry that Trump might lose patience with the length and complexities of negotiations that are common when dealing with North Korea, and walk away and revert back to serious considerations of the military option,” said Duyeon Kim, the Korea scholar. “Getting to a nuclear agreement takes a long time, and implementing it will be even harder.”

Outrage Over Footage of Police Officer Beating a Black Man in North Carolina

The episode quickly escalates from there. Officer Chris Hickman, who was training Officer Ruggiero and wearing the body camera, orders Mr. Rush to put his hands behind his back. Mr. Rush runs, and the officers chase him, eventually tackling him to the ground.

During the arrest, Mr. Rush was shocked with a Taser, choked and beaten by Officer Hickman, according to police records.

At several points, while pinned to the ground, Mr. Rush cried, “I can’t breathe!”

The camera footage also shows Officer Hickman hitting Mr. Rush on the head over and over with a closed fist, and Mr. Rush crying out in pain as he is shocked with a Taser.

.. The administrative investigations revealed that Officer Hickman had used excessive force during the arrest and that he had engaged in “rude and discourteous behavior” on four other occasions with other members of the public

.. A supervisor who responded to the scene on the night of Mr. Rush’s arrest was disciplined for unsatisfactory performance after failing to immediately disclose all of the details gleaned from interviewing Mr. Hickman and Mr. Rush, and neglecting to view the body camera footage that day.

Mr. Rush told The Citizen Times that the supervisor accused him multiple times of lying.

“She kind of yelled a little bit, saying: ‘You’re lying. You’re lying. My officer is not going to do that,’” he said.

.. Last year, Chief Hooper faced protests after requesting $1 million to hire more officers to police the downtown area, which is near where Mr. Rush was tackled.

How Would Jesus Drive?

the people who have the most influence on society are actually the normal folks, through their normal, everyday gestures being kind in public places, attentive to the elderly. The pope called such people, in a beautiful phrase, “the artisans of the common good.”

.. The pope focused especially on driving, praising those people “who move in traffic with good sense and prudence.” As Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution points out, driving is precisely the sort of everyday activity through which people mold the culture of their community.

.. If you speed up so I can’t merge into your lane, you’re teaching me that the society around here is basically competitive, not cooperative. If, on the other hand, you give me a friendly wave after I let you in, you’re teaching me that this is a place where a kindness is recognized and gratitude is expressed.

.. The safest drivers live in Kansas City, Kan.; Brownsville, Tex.; Madison, Wis.; and Huntsville, Ala.

..  It finds that drivers in Phoenix, Tucson and Memphis are the most aggressive and those in Honolulu; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle are the least.

.. Driving puts you in a constant position of asking, Are we in a place where there is a system of self-restraint, or are we in a place where it’s dog eat dog?

.. BMW drivers are much less likely to brake for pedestrians at crosswalks. Prius drivers in San Francisco commit more traffic violations. People who think they are richer or better than others are ruder behind the wheel.

.. Driving also puts you in a position where you are periodically having to overrule your desire for revenge. When somebody cuts you off, you want to punish the jerk and enforce all that is right and good. But that only leads to a cycle of even worse driving, so it’s better, as Francis would say, to turn the other cheek. How would Jesus drive?