The legal battle between CNN and President Donald Trump has reached an abrupt end, with the White House notifying reporter Jim Acosta that they will not seek to revoke his hard pass again once a temporary restraining order expires at the end of this month. As a result of this decision, CNN has dropped their lawsuit.
At the same time that they informed Acosta that they were not going to re-suspend his hard pass, the White House listed new rules going forward that would provide for action should an incident like Acosta’s happen in the future.
The letter includes a list of four rules for journalists attending White House press conferences, which state the following:
1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists;
2) At the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor;
3) “Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner;
4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass.
Per White House letter to Acosta on Nov. 19, here are the new rules for press conferences at the White House. pic.twitter.com/a6C2pmLv2K
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) November 19, 2018
“Should you refuse to follow these rules in the future, we will take action in accordance with the rules set forth above,” the letter said. “The President is aware of this decision and concurs.”
The announcement of these rules are meant to provide adequate notice for reporters in the future, as a means to avoid Fifth Amendment due process claims like the one made by Acosta and CNN. They claimed that the decision to pull his hard pass had been made without proper notice.
Some reporters have said that these are basically a written version of what have been regarded as “unwritten rules.”
These were already the basic unwritten rules of presidential press conferences in terms of a reporter being granted 1 question and maybe gets a follow up at the discretion of the president. And these aren't just Trump rules, but rules applied under every president on the TV era: pic.twitter.com/tJpjVhwndH
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) November 19, 2018
[Image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images]