CNN sues US President Donald Trump, White House vows 'vigorous' defence

File photo of US President Donald Trump. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 13, 2018, 08.34 PM (IST)

CNN has sued US President Donald Trump and top White House aides over the revocation of CNN reporter Jim Acosta's White House press pass. 

The suit was filed in the US District Court in Washington Tuesday morning.

CNN reported on its website that both CNN and Acosta are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. 

And that there are six defendants — Trump, White House chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, Secret Service director Joseph Clancy, and the Secret Service officer who took Acosta's press pass away. 

CNN added that "the six defendants are all named because of their roles in enforcing and announcing Acosta's suspension". 

"The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process," the network said in a statement.

"We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process," CNN said, warning that Acosta's credential suspension could set a precedent for future attacks on other outlets.

"If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials."

Acosta and Trump had got into a spat last Wednesday during a press conference. Acosta had asked Trump why he had described the central American migrant caravan marching towards the US as an "invasion". 

Acosta told Trump that they were a "group of migrants", and still several hundred kilometres away from the border — not an "invasion". 

Trump said he thought of them as an invasion and that they (Trump and Acosta) had differing views on the subject. 

When Acosta persisted, Trump finally told him to put the mike down. 

"You are a rude and terrible person, and CNN should be ashamed of itself for having you working for them," Trump told Acosta. 

Hours later, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Acosta's hard pass had been suspended, a rare if not unprecedented move that she justified by claiming the reporter was inappropriately "placing his hands" on the intern.

Sanders then tweeted a video that she said backed up her narrative of the incident -- but analysts said the footage was sped up to make it appear that Acosta struck the intern.

The press secretary on Tuesday dismissed the CNN legal complaint as "grandstanding," vowing that the White House would "vigorously defend against this lawsuit." 

(With inputs from AFP)