Reports of a potential suit first emerged Sunday evening during CNN’s “Reliable Sources” when constitutional law expert Floyd Abrams suggested to host Brian Stelter that the network should sue.
“I think it’s a really strong lawsuit,” he said. “I can understand CNN being reluctant to sue because the president keeps saying CNN is the enemy of me, and CNN might have reluctance to have a lawsuit titled ‘CNN vs. Donald Trump.’ That said, yes, I think they should sue.”
Shortly after Abrams’ remark, longtime ABC News White House correspondent Sam Donaldson claimed that CNN had already filed a suit and that the first hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.
“I hope I’m not mistaken, but it’s my understanding that CNN and Acosta have sued — that there will be a court hearing on Tuesday on this very matter that we’ve been discussing,” he told Stelter.
He added: “I’ve been told that because I’ve been asked to give an affidavit which I’ve prepared to be submitted to the court.”
CNN later disputed this, saying in a statement, “No decisions have been made. We have reached out to the White House and gotten no response.”
The network specifically takes issue with the Trump administration’s justification for revoking Acosta’s press credentials.
During a heated press conference last Wednesday, the CNN correspondent refused to cede his microphone to a White House intern and briefly placed his hands on her, as seen in the video below:
We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video. pic.twitter.com/T8X1Ng912y
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
Despite the clear-cut video evidence, both CNN and Acosta continue to deny that this ever transpired.
“Obviously, you know, I didn’t put my hands on her or touch her as they are alleging,” Acosta said during a CNN interview last Wednesday evening.
Acosta continued: “And it’s just unfortunate that the White House is saying this. You know, we all try to be professionals over there and I think I handled myself professionally.”
The network has posited the same theory:
The White House originally claimed that Acosta placed his hands on an intern who tried to take a microphone from him. Press secretary Sarah Sanders called it “inappropriate behavior.” The video showed otherwise. CNN called Sanders’ explanation a lie.
“She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened,” the network said.
At first CNN and its allies accused White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of doctoring the video seen above. However, at least two forensic experts have since concluded that there’s “no evidence” to support the conspiracy theory that the video had been doctored.
But this hasn’t stopped some at CNN from continuing to double down on the conspiracy theory. Given the network’s tenuous relationship with actual facts, its stubborn refusal to admit the truth isn’t necessarily surprising.
During the discussion Sunday, Abrams asserted that if Acosta did really “touch” the intern, then “there’s a very good reason” to revoke her pass.
But “it seems to be untrue,” he added, choosing to join CNN in denying the veracity of video evidence.