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Trump Needs To Purge All Fake News From White House

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Donald Trump sought Wednesday to land a massive blow in his long-fought battle against the news media, with administration lawyers asserting in court that the president could bar “all reporters” from the White House complex for any reason he sees fit.

The sweeping claim, which came in the first public hearing over CNN’s lawsuit to restore correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House credentials, could have a dramatic impact on news organizations’ access to government officials if it is upheld in court.

CNN argued in its lawsuit filed Tuesday that the White House infringed on Acosta's First Amendment rights by revoking his access in response to a dispute over a press conference last week.

But Trump’s lawyers replied Wednesday in a legal filing that he has “broad discretion” to police journalists’ access to the White House.

“If the president wants to exclude all reporters from the White House grounds, he has the authority to do that,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General James Burnham said during the hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “There’s no First Amendment right.”

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Judge Timothy Kelly postponed until Thursday a decision on whether to at least temporarily restore Acosta’s press pass. But the arguments Wednesday represented a significant escalation in Trump’s fight against the media, with more than a dozen news organizations, including POLITICO, weighing in on CNN’s side.

Trump has long argued that coverage of his administration is unfair, and CNN has been a favorite target. Even before he took office, the president referred to Acosta as “fake news” at a press conference and refused to take questions from him. The White House also has substantially curtailed the number of briefings by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

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