The White House has pushed back against a lawsuit filed by CNN over the revocation of reporter Jim Acosta's press pass, claiming that Donald Trump and his staff have the right to determine which journalists are given permanent access.
The cable news network is suing a number of members of the administration, including the president, after Mr Acosta’s was banned for what the White House has called inappropriatel behaviour during a press conference when an intern attempted to take a microphone away from him.
“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 said in a court filing.
The lawsuit filed by CNN and Mr Acosta alleges that their First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated when the White House decided to revoke the journalist’s pass, known as a Secret Service “hard pass”. The First Amendment of the United States ensures the right to free speech and the press, and the Fifth Amendment ensures the right to due process.
The lawsuit is set to have a hearing on Wednesday afternoon, and the case will be heard by Trump appointee Judge Timothy J Kelly.
Mr Acosta and CNN are asking Mr Kelly for a temporary restraining order, and a preliminary injunction so that the journalist can return to the White House immediately.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are also seeking a court declaration that the president’s action was “unconstitutional, in violation of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment”.
Historically both Republican and Democratic administrations have had a permissive approach to press access, providing credentials to outlets both national and more obscure.
The case could have implications for other reporters in the White House, with CNN claiming that other networks and media outlets could be treated in the same way. The Trump administration - and the president himself - is known for its open disdain for sections of the press corps covering the executive branch of government.