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FOX News, Others Back CNN in Fight to Regain White House Press Pass


FILE - President Donald Trump points to CNN's Jim Acosta, a White House aide takes the microphone from him during as a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 7, 2018, in Washington.

Several major news organizations announced they would throw their weight behind CNN's legal efforts to regain White House press credentials for their reporter Jim Acosta, including rival network FOX News.

"Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized," FOX News president Jay Wallace said in a statement. "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."

A coalition of news organizations, including Bloomberg, USA Today, the Associated Press and others announced in a joint statement they would file "friend-of-the-court" briefs that supported CNN's lawsuit against the White House.

Asked about the matter, President Donald Trump told the Daily Caller "“I don’t know, we should [win].... We’ll see how the court rules. Is it freedom of the press when somebody comes in and starts screaming questions and won’t sit down?”

A White House staff member reaches for the microphone held by CNN's Jim Acosta as he questions U.S. President Donald Trump during a news conference following Tuesday's midterm congressional elections, in a combination of photos at the White House in Washington, Nov. 7, 2018.
A White House staff member reaches for the microphone held by CNN's Jim Acosta as he questions U.S. President Donald Trump during a news conference following Tuesday's midterm congressional elections, in a combination of photos at the White House in Washington, Nov. 7, 2018.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has dismissed the lawsuit as "more grandstanding from CNN," saying the administration stands by its decision to revoke Jim Acosta's credentials.

"After Mr. Acosta asked the President two questions — each of which the President answered — he physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions. This was not the first time this reporter has inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters," Sanders said in a statement Tuesday.

The Trump administration last week suspended Acosta's "hard pass," which granted him access to the White House. The suspension came after the reporter challenged Trump's portrayal of a caravan of Central American migrants as an "invasion."

White House officials have also accused Acosta of "placing his hands" on a White House press aide who had tried to take the microphone from him during the interaction. Video showed that Acosta was not aggressive with the aide.

The press secretary's statement on Tuesday, however, made no reference to the previous White House accusation that Acosta had placed his hands on the young woman.

VOA's White House Bureau chief Steve Herman contributed to this report.

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