American news channel Fox News has backed rival CNN in its lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his aides for suspending the White House credentials of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, Forbes reported on Wednesday.
On November 7, the White House revoked Acosta’s press pass “until further notice” following an interaction between Trump and Acosta at a press conference where the president called the reporter a “rude and terrible person”. CNN filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, accusing the Trump administration of violating the First and Fifth Amendment rights of Acosta and CNN.
The First Amendment protects free speech while the Fifth Amendment mandates due process of law and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy.
“Secret Service passes for working journalists should never be weaponised,” said Fox News President Jay Wallace 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.”
Wallace said Fox News would file an amicus brief – a legal brief filed by non-litigants who have a strong interest in the matter – in support of CNN, reported ABC News. “Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential,” Wallace said.
The New York Times, Bloomberg, Associated Press, The Washington Post are among the organisations that will join Fox News in filing the legal brief.
Meanwhile, the White House on Wednesday defended its decision to revoke Acosta’s press pass. “The president and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists [and other members of the public] that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews, or which journalists they acknowledge at press conferences,” Justice Department lawyers wrote in their filing in a district court, according to Vox. “No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House.”
Trump’s lawyer James Burnham argued that the president has the authority to exclude journalists from White House grounds, reported ABC News. “We are talking about the physical White House, I mean the one building in which the president’s authority over how people act, where they go, should be at its apex,” he added.