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Jim Acosta
FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2018 file photo, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta does a stand up before the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Trump-appointed judge says president must give CNN's Acosta his White House credentials back

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Updated November 16, 2018 11:16 AM EST

By JESSICA GRESKO and MICHAEL BALSAMO, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to immediately return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, announced his decision following a hearing in Washington. The judge said Acosta's credentials would be returned immediately and reactivated to allow him access to the White House.

Jim Acosta
In this Nov. 14, 2018, photo, CNN's Jim Acosta walks into federal court in Washington, to attend a hearing on a legal challenge against President Donald Trump's administration. A judge is expected to announce Friday whether he will order the Trump administration to return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

CNN had asked the judge to force the White House to immediately hand back the credentials that give Acosta, CNN's chief White House correspondent, access to the White House complex for press briefings and other events. CNN asked for Acosta's credentials restored while a lawsuit over his credentials' revocation goes forward.

The judge granted CNN's request for a temporary restraining order. A lawsuit that CNN brought against the Trump administration over the issue is continuing.

The White House revoked Acosta's credentials after he and Trump tangled during a press conference last week.

The judge said the government could not say who initially decided to revoke Acosta's hard pass. The White House had spelled out its reasons for revoking his credentials in a tweet from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and in a statement after CNN filed its lawsuit. But the judge said those "belated efforts were hardly sufficient to satisfy due process."

Trump has made his dislike of CNN clear since before he took office and continuing into his presidency. He has described the network as "fake news" both on Twitter and in public comments.

The judge also found that Acosta suffered "irreparable harm," dismissing the government's argument that CNN could just send other reporters to cover the White House in Acosta's place.

The judge told attorneys to file additional court papers in the case by Monday.

CNN's Acosta responds to judge's ruling: 'Let's get back to work'

Trump has made his dislike of CNN clear since before he took office and continuing into his presidency. He has described the network as "fake news" both on Twitter and in public comments.

At last week's press conference, which followed the midterm elections, Trump was taking questions from reporters and called on Acosta, who asked about Trump's statements about a caravan of migrants making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border. After a terse exchange, Trump told Acosta, "That's enough," several times while calling on another reporter.

Acosta attempted to ask another question about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and initially declined to give up a hand-held microphone to a White House intern. Trump responded to Acosta by saying he wasn't concerned about the investigation, calling it a "hoax," and then criticized Acosta, calling him a "rude, terrible person."

The White House pulled Acosta's credentials hours later.

Jim Acosta
CNN's Jim Acosta gestures as he leaves federal court in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, following a hearing on a legal challenge against President Donald Trump's administration over the revocation of his White House "hard pass." (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The White House's explanations for why it seized Acosta's credentials have shifted over the last week.

Sanders initially explained the decision by accusing Acosta of making improper physical contact with the intern seeking to grab the microphone.

But that rationale disappeared after witnesses backed Acosta's account that he was just trying to keep the microphone, and Sanders distributed a doctored video that made it appear Acosta was more aggressive than he actually was. On Tuesday, Sanders accused Acosta of being unprofessional by trying to dominate the questioning at the news conference.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge in Washington is ordering the Trump administration to immediately return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly announced his decision Friday morning.

CNN had asked that Acosta's credentials be returned while a lawsuit over their revocation goes forward.

Trump to CNN's Acosta: 'You are a rude, terrible person'

The network's chief White House correspondent has clashed repeatedly with Trump and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in briefings over the last two years. But the White House pulled his credentials last week following a combative press conference in which he clashed with Trump.

Jim Acosta and Sarah Sanders get into a heated exchange about immigration

The judge is a Trump appointee.

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