White House will not seek to revoke CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass, issues news rules to govern press conferences

The White House will not seek to again revoke CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s hard pass, as first reported on Monday by Fox News' John Roberts.

“Today the White House fully restored Jim Acosta's press pass.  As a result, our lawsuit is no longer necessary. We look forward to continuing to cover the White House,” CNN said in a statement.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also implemented a series of rules that will govern White House press conferences going forward.

According to Sanders, the new rules are:

  • A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists.
  • 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.
  • Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner.
  • Failure to abide by any of rules may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass.

“We are mindful that a more elaborate and comprehensive set of rules might need to be devised," Sanders said.

CNN's Jim Acosta questions U.S. President Donald Trump during his news conference following Tuesday's midterm U.S. congressional elections at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC189F0AFAA0

CNN's Jim Acosta questions U.S. President Donald Trump during his news conference following Tuesday's midterm U.S. congressional elections at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC189F0AFAA0

Acosta was spotted at the White House moments after CNN issued its statement. It was widely believed earlier Monday that the White House would again attempt to ban Acosta from the White House after legal threats were exchanged in a series of emails and court filings.

Acosta’s "hard pass," which provides expedited access to the White House grounds, was suspended earlier this month after he engaged in a contentious back-and-forth with Trump during a Nov. 7 press conference. Acosta then refused to pass the microphone to a female White House aide and there was brief contact between the two. His hard pass was revoked later that day and CNN argued that it violated the network and Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly temporarily restored Acosta’s credential. Later in the day, the White House sent the CNN reporter a letter informing him that a “preliminary decision” was made that his credential would be revoked, once again, after the temporary 14-day order expires.

The attorney for CNN and Acosta claimed in a Monday court filing that the White House was attempting to punish Acosta based on “retroactive” application of rules that aren’t written and requested a hearing for the week of Nov. 26. The request for an emergency hearing is now a moot point, as the White House will not seek to keep Acosta from covering President Trump.

“The White House’s interaction with the press is, and generally should be, subject to a natural give-and-take. President Trump believes strongly in the First Amendment, and a free press and is the most accessible President in modern history.  It would be a great loss for all if, instead of relying on the professionalism of White House journalists, we were compelled to devise a lengthy and detailed code of conduct for White House events,” Sanders said to conclude her statement.

Last week, Fox News announced that it would support CNN’s effort to restore Acosta’s White House credential and filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court.

CNN's Jim Acosta questions U.S. President Donald Trump during his news conference following Tuesday's midterm U.S. congressional elections at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC189F0AFAA0

CNN's Jim Acosta questions U.S. President Donald Trump during his news conference following Tuesday's midterm U.S. congressional elections at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC189F0AFAA0

Following the temporary decision, Trump told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he will kick Acosta out of press conferences if he "misbehaves" going forward.

Acosta has emerged as a hero of the #Resistance after making a habit of shouting and interrupting when Trump and members of his administration are available to the media. The CNN reporter has also gotten into combative arguments with other members of the administration, including former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller.

“Thanks to everybody for their support. As I said last Friday... let's get back to work,” Acosta tweeted.

Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report.