A 1977 court ruling said that administrations cannot bar correspondents from the briefing room without “due process.”
.. In January 1972, when Sherrill reapplied for White House press credentials, he was again denied without explanation. That’s when the American Civil Liberties Union took his case to federal court. With the ACLU’s help, Sherrill sued the Secret Service for violating his First and Fifth Amendment rights.
By the time a D.C. circuit-court judge ruled in his case in 1977, it had been 11 years after his credentials were originally denied... hen donald trump clashed with Jim Acosta, the chief White House correspondent for CNN, at his post-midterms news conference on Wednesday—and later revoked his press credentials—he most likely knew nothing about the precedent set by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Robert Sherrill’s case—precedent, experts said, that put the law squarely on Acosta’s side.
“Thank you Mr. President. I wanted to challenge you on one of the statements that you made on the tail end of the campaign in the midterms,” Acosta started, microphone in hand, staring ahead toward the president from the front row of the press conference.
Trump’s lips pursed and then released. “Here we go,” he said, practically breaking the fourth wall.
“If you don’t mind, Mr. President—” Acosta tried.
“C’mon, c’mon, let’s go.” The president let out a half whistle from his mouth and motioned to his rival to hurry up and ask his question.
“—that this caravan was an invasion.”
“I consider it to be an invasion,” Trump replied.
The exchange became testier and Trump’s complexion reddened. “Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN. And if you did it well, your ratings would be better,” Trump told the reporter.
Acosta held on to the microphone as a White House intern tried to grab it back from him. “Mr. President, I had one other question, if I may ask, on the Russia investigation,” Acosta said. “Are you concerned that—”
Trump lifted a finger and wagged it from the podium. “I’m not concerned about anything about the Russia investigation, ’cause it’s a hoax.” He walked away from the podium momentarily, readying for his next hit. Acosta gave in and relinquished the mic.
“I’ll tell you what,” the president huffed. “CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN … You’re a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee [Sanders] is horrible and the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
When Acosta returned to the White House grounds later that evening to do a live shot for Anderson Cooper 360°, the Secret Service asked for his hard pass, which he had held since 2013, and confiscated it. They were just following orders, and he understood that; the orders came from higher up. His access was revoked: He was locked out of the Trump White House.
.. To explain why Acosta’s credentials had been revoked, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s press secretary, tweeted a highly edited video on Wednesday that appeared to show Acosta hitting the intern who tried to grab his microphone. Sanders wrote on Twitter, “President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern…” Acosta tweeted back, “This is a lie.”
In actuality, the video Sanders shared was doctored and originally posted by Paul Joseph Watson, a British conspiracy theorist associated with the fake-news website Infowars.
.. The White House Correspondents’ Association denounced “the Trump Administration’s decision to use US Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship.”
.. The conservative blogger Erick Erickson tweeted, “Y’all, I’m sorry to defy the tribe, but I’ve watched this video over and over and it looks more like @Acosta had his arm out pointing with his finger and when she tried to pull the microphone down, both his arms went down rather naturally.”.. Among those in media and politics, the widespread consensus was an obvious one: This was not about safety and security; this was not about an assault. Acosta was punished for the way he went about his reporting... “If there are professional concerns that the White House has about Jim Acosta or anyone else, they should express that professionally. They should be talking about that openly and there should be an effort to determine what, if anything, needs to change. The response is not engaging the Secret Service to pull someone’s credentials.”
“That’s just completely inappropriate and just this side of thuggery in my view,” Sesno added... In public remarks on Friday morning, Trump seemed unremorseful about pulling Acosta’s credentials. The president threatened further punishment for reporters like American Urban Radio Networks’ April Ryan, calling her a “loser.”
“It could be others also” if they “don’t treat the White House and the office of the presidency with respect,” Trump said.
.. “Once the government creates the kind of forum that it has created, like the White House briefing room, it can’t selectively include or exclude people on the basis of ideology or viewpoint,” said Ben Wizner, the director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.
.. The new steps enunciated in the Sherrill decision to ensure that reporters’ First Amendment rights are not violated include
- the requirement to give the reporter notice and
- the right to rebut a formal written decision, which must accompany any revocation.
“We further conclude that notice, opportunity to rebut, and a written decision are required because the denial of a pass potentially infringes upon First Amendment guarantees,” the court’s ruling states. “Such impairment of this interest cannot be permitted to occur in the absence of adequate procedural due process.”.. “If the Secret Service makes this kind of determination that they’re going to no longer let someone have access, or limit access from the start, there should be a really good reason for that,” Michele Kimball, a media-law professor at George Washington University, said. “And if you are denied that access, there should be some sort of procedural due process for you, [so] that you can find out what happened... “What they’ve done here is not only unwise, but probably illegal,” the ACLU’s Wizner concluded... He clearly relished that role as an outsider, because when he won his 11-year battle with the White House to get credentialed, he opted against it... “The fun thing about this was that when I was finally going to get a press pass, I never applied,” Sherrill told the Times. “I didn’t want to be in the White House. I had been in Washington long enough to realize that was the last place to waste your time sitting around for some dumb [expletive] to give a press conference.”When all was said and done, Sherrill knew his best work would be done far away from the place he was never allowed to visit.
the government paid the Trump-owned club to reserve at least one bedroom for two nights.
The charge, according to a newly disclosed receipt reviewed by The Washington Post, was $1,092.
The amount was based on a per-night price of $546, which, according to the bill, was Mar-a-Lago’s “rack rate,” the hotel industry term for a standard, non-discounted price.
.. The receipt, which was obtained in recent days by the transparency advocacy group Property of the People and verified by The Post, offers one of the first concrete signs that Trump’s use of Mar-a-Lago as the “Winter White House” has resulted in taxpayer funds flowing directly into the coffers of his private business.
.. Other agencies that likely have had regular presence at the club, such as the Secret Service, have declined to provide The Post information about potential payments to Mar-a-Lago and have referred requests to the General Services Administration.
.. White House officials and a Coast Guard spokeswoman, as well as representatives of the Trump Organization and Mar-a-Lago, did not respond to questions, including whether Trump’s company regularly charges the government for members of his traveling party to stay at the club.
.. In addition, some questioned why the federal government should pay top dollar for luxury Palm Beach lodging when less expensive options are available nearby.
.. Trump’s frequent trips there have come at an expense to taxpayers. The Coast Guard’s increased costs to protect the waterfront property with round-the-clock patrols and gun-mounted boats have been widely publicized.
.. On the weekend that the government paid for the room, March 3 and 4, Trump was joined by a large retinue of administration officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then-chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who has since become Trump’s chief of staff.
.. “After much consideration, it was mutually determined that it would be more cost effective and logistically practical for the Secret Service to lease space elsewhere,” spokeswoman Amanda Miller wrote in an email to The Washington Post.
.. Two people familiar with the discussions said the sticking points included the price and other conditions of the lease.
.. The U.S. military has separately agreed to lease space in Trump Tower for $130,000 a month, according to a lease first reported last month by the Wall Street Journal. That space will be for the White House Military Office, which provides services including communications and the handling of the “football” that the president would use to launch a nuclear attack, the Journal reported.
A senior member of President Trump’s personal legal team said Sunday that there was nothing improper in the meeting that Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, took with a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.
“Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in,” Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for the president, said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” “The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me.”
It’s highly unlikely that the Secret Service, which is charged with protecting the president, his aides and his family from physical harm, would have any influence over who the president or his children chose to meet during a presidential campaign.
A Secret Service spokeswoman cast doubt on Sekulow’s claims.
“Donald Trump Jr. was not under Secret Service protection in June 2016,”
.. Initially, Trump Jr. said the meeting focused on Russia’s moves to halt adoptions by American families, but he changed his story after new details emerged.
.. Sekulow is part of a legal team headed by New York attorney Marc E. Kasowitz, and the White House said last week that Trump was adding veteran Washington lawyer Ty Cobb
.. “Here is the reality: The meeting in and of itself, of course, as I’ve said before, is not a violation of the law,” Sekulow said on “This Week.” He added that “the president was not aware of the meeting and did not participate in it.”