The White House has signaled that they will revoke Jim Acosta's press pass after the court-ordered 14-day restoration period expires by trying to create a "retroactive paper trail."
[UPDATED] Trump Trying To Ban Acosta Again — This Time With 'Retroactive Paper Trail'
Credit: Screenshot
November 19, 2018

Jim Acosta has his White House press pass back, but only for 14 days. After it had been summarily revoked for doing his job (asking questions of the "president" and in so doing, refusing to have the mic grabbed out of his own hands by the mic wrangler) he and CNN filed suit against the Trump administration for violating their First and 5th Amendment rights.

On Friday, Nov. 16, Judge Timothy J. Kelly ruled Acosta must be given back his pass for 14 days, but only based on his 5th Amendment right to due process. He delayed ruling on whether Acosta and CNN's First Amendment rights have been violated. Just hours later, in an attempt to create a "retroactive paper trail" — which is not a thing, people! — showing due process in hindsight is 20/20, Sarah Sanders and Bill Shine sent Acosta a letter citing his behavior at that Nov. 7 press conference as the reason for the revocation of the pass.

CNN reports:

Since the judge criticized the government for not following due process before banning Acosta on November 7, the new letter looks like an effort to establish a paper trail that could empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month.

The letter gave Acosta less than 48 hours to contest the "preliminary decision" and said a "final determination" would be made by Monday at 3 p.m.

CNN and Acosta had hoped for a settlement out side of court, but this letter makes it clear the administration is looking for ways to create a paper trail to justify denying Acosta WH press access permanently once the 14 days is up. So Acosta has filed for a preliminary injunction, which would protect his press pass for longer. Again, from CNN:

The DOJ lawyers continued to say that the White House had made "no final determination" on Acosta's access, and asked the court to extend its own deadline, set last week, for a status report due at 3 p.m. Monday, in light of the White House's separate self-imposed deadline for the Acosta decision.

At lunchtime, Kelly granted the government's request and extended the status report deadline to 6 p.m. Monday.

Judge Kelly is a Trump appointee, but his initial decision was on the right side of history. Therefore, it's reasonable to hold out some cautious hope that his future inclination would be to not allow the Orange Menace to trample all over the Bill of Rights. Even though it clearly has no meaning for the Orange Menace, it means something to the rest of us.

UPDATE: Fox News' John Roberts says, nah, they're not doing that thing.

I'll believe it when I see it.

UPDATE 2: Okay, the Washington Post confirms that CNN has dropped their lawsuit and the White House has fully restored his hard pass.

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