CNN Sues White House Over Barring Of Reporter Jim Acosta

"The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process," the news network said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

Washington: CNN sued Donald Trump's administration Tuesday, alleging the White House violated journalist Jim Acosta's rights under the constitution by revoking his press credentials following a heated exchange with the US president.

"The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process," the news network said in a statement announcing the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington.

"We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process," CNN said. "If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials."

The White House had suspended Acosta's hard pass after he sparred at a news conference with the president, who demanded that the reporter yield the microphone and called him a "rude, terrible person" when he did not immediately comply.

Acosta persisted with questions and a White House intern tried to take the microphone from the CNN journalist -- an incident the Trump administration characterize as misconduct against the female aide.

Acosta banishment from the White House marked an escalation in tensions between the president and his chief media antagonist.

The White House Correspondents' Assocation welcomed CNN's lawsuit, saying "revoking access to the White House complex amounted to disproportionate reaction to the events."

"We continue to urge the administration to reverse course and fully reinstate CNN's correspondent," WHCA president Olivier Knox said in a statement.

"The President of the United States should not be in the business of arbitrarily picking the men and women who cover him."

  • Published in World

De Niro, Biden Latest Targets in Series of Mailed Explosives

Both men have been outspoken critics of United States President Donald Trump.

A suspicious package sent to former U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, and another sent to actor, Robert De Niro are the latest in a series of intercepted explosive devices sent by mail. At least six others have been targeted.

RELATED: White Supremacist Leaders Arrested in Southern California

Both men have been outspoken critics of United States President Donald Trump.

From October 22 to 25, suspicious packages have been intercepted in New York, Washington D.C., Florida, and California. None of the devices have detonated.

Those targeted include Hillary and Bill Clinton, CNN offices, Maxine Waters, former President Barack Obama, and former C.I.A. director John Brennan.

Pipe bombs have been identified in some of the packages according to the New York Police Department's Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism John Miller.

The package found in CNN’s mailroom contained devices packed with shards of glass and contained an envelope of white powder. News anchors Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow had to evacuate in the middle of a live broadcast as they were reporting on the suspected bombs sent to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

@StratSentinel Video from CNN Studios when alarm sounds triggering evacuation https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/

New York City Police evacuated the building Wednesday after a suspicious package was found in the CNN mailroom. The package was addressed to Brennan, an outspoken Trump critic and contributor to the network.

The incidents are currently under F.B.I. investigation and being led by the counterterrorism team.

“This investigation is of the highest priority for the FBI. We have committed the full strength of the FBI’s resources and, together with our partners on our Joint Terrorism Task Forces, we will continue to work to identify and arrest whoever is responsible for sending these packages,” F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray said.

Public and media members during the evacuation of CNN | Reuters

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the city is increasing security and that the police department’s presence would be increased all over the city. Special attention to media organization offices.

"Terrorism only works if you let it work," he said "We are New Yorkers. We are smart, we are tough, we are resilient, and we will not allow these terrorist thugs to change the way we live our lives," de Blasio said.

Who has been targeted?

The devices, apparently homemade, appear to have come from an individual or individuals with sights set on high profile Democrats. The packages were sent with heavy postage and misspelled names. Here’s who was on the receiving end of the threat:

U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Two packages potentially carrying explosives were sent to two of Waters’ offices in Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Due to death threats, Waters was forced to cancel public appearances in Texas and Alabama in July.

She had called on supporters in a rally to protest against administration officials during heated debates across the country over the administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

Trump took aim at her on Twitter, calling her “an extraordinarily low IQ person,” and warning that she “has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!”

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

According to the Secret Service, a package addressed to Hillary Clinton, who ran against Trump in the 2016 presidential election, was found during an off-site mail screening Tuesday.

Former President, Barack Obama

The Secret Service uncovered a suspected explosive device sent to Obama's residence in the Kalorama district of Washington, D.C. during a screening Wednesday. Officials said that Obama was not at risk.

CNN offices in NYC

The package sent to CNN’s offices in NYC was addressed to former C.I.A. director John Brennan who regularly contributes to the network and is an outspoken critic of Trump.

Trump has repeatedly mocked and verbally abused media organizations and journalists, calling CNN and others “fake news”

George Soros, billionaire financier

Soros is one of the world's biggest donors to liberal groups and causes. He is a hated figure for some right-wing activists in the United States and Eastern Europe.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee

Wasserman Schultz’s Florida office was evacuated after a suspicious package was found, according to media reports. The package was addressed to Holder. However, the return address was marked as Wasserman Schultz.

Actor Robert De Niro

A package was found at a property that Robert De Niro owns in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, according to a source connected to the New York Police Department. De Niro has been critical of Trump, who in turn has criticized the actor.

Joe Biden, former U.S. Vice President

A suspicious package intended for Biden was intercepted in a Delaware mail facility by investigators.

Biden criticized Trump last week for his stance on Saudi leaders after the disappearance and brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“I just don’t know why this administration seems to feel the need to coddle autocrats and dictators,” Biden said, “I don’t understand it.”

Trump’s response

The White House initially condemned the incidents.

“We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Trump later took a critical tone on Twitter and blamed media organizations for “Anger” in society.

“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said these attacks on the media by the Trump administration are what has given space to a hostile and violent political climate.

"There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media," Zucker said in a statement Wednesday.  "The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that."

The F.B.I is requesting that anyone with information contact the bureau.

  • Published in World

Cohen says Trump knew about Trump Tower meeting with Russians: CNN

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said that Trump knew in advance about a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower at which Russians offered to provide damaging information about his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, CNN reported on Thursday.

A combination photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump's onetime personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

CNN, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter, said Cohen is willing to make that assertion to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the U.S. 2016 presidential campaign.

“He cannot be believed,” Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, told Reuters on Thursday, referring to Cohen. “If they rely on him ... it would destroy whatever case they have.” Giuliani was referring to Mueller’s investigation.

Sponsored

Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. His attorney Lanny Davis declined to comment.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment. Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for Manhattan federal prosecutors, also declined to comment.

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, and for possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who has claimed she had a sexual encounter with Trump, and other matters related to Trump’s campaign, a person familiar with the investigation has told Reuters.

Cohen has not been charged with any crime. Trump has denied having had an encounter with Daniels.

Previously Trump has denied knowing in advance that the Trump Tower meeting was going to take place, and he has denied that there was any collusion between his campaign and Russia. Moscow has denied meddling in the election.

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., along with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and senior campaign aide Paul Manafort took part in the meeting with Nataliya Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer and acknowledged Kremlin informant.

Donald Trump Jr. told investigators from the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 that he did not tell his father about the meeting beforehand, according to documents released by the committee.

Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organization and Donald Trump Jr., told Reuters, “Donald Trump Jr. has been professional and responsible throughout the Mueller and Congressional investigations. We are very confident of the accuracy and reliability of the information that has been provided by Mr. Trump, Jr., and on his behalf.”

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Former CIA Employee Explains 'Dirty Little Secret' of US Mainstream Media

Notwithstanding the scandal blowing up around CNN over its outright false coverage of 'Russia-Trump collusion', the mainstream US media's narrative on Russia isn't going anywhere anytime soon, says former CIA analyst and author John Kiriakou.

CNN is in trouble. Facing scandal Monday with the resignation of three staffers following the retraction of a story alleging ties between Russia and President Donald Trump's transition team, the broadcaster was hit with a second humiliating blow Tuesday, after a CNN producer was caught on camera admitting that the Russia-Trump narrative was "bullsh*t" used to score ratings.

Speaking to Russian media about the scandal, John Kiriakou, a former US intelligence officer turned whistleblower, explained that unfortunately, the blow to CNN's reputation following revelations of dishonesty and misreporting aren't going to stop the mainstream media's claims of collusion between Russia and President Trump.

"The dirty little secret of the American media is that it's all corporatist, it's all owned by gigantic companies and all they care about is the financial bottom line," Kiriakou said, speaking to RT.

CNN Center
 

"They have to be more and more explosive in their stories, and sometimes the truth gets lost in those stories," he added.

In his hidden camera interview with Project Veritas, CNN supervising producer John Bonifield admitted that the reason the broadcaster continues to circulate the Trump-Russia collusion story is that the story sells, lack of proof notwithstanding.

Boasting about the network's "incredible" ratings, Bonifield explained that CNN's goal was to make money, not conform to journalistic ethics standards. "All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school, you're like, 'that's adorable'…This is a business," he said.

Given the scandal rocking the broadcaster over its shoddy reporting, Kiriakou noted that CNN, "frankly, is going to have to explain itself. What we have is the FBI and the CIA and members of Congress essentially telling us to just take their word for it. We can't take their word for it, we need some evidence. And apparently even CNN has not received any evidence."

CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia
 

As far as Project Veritas' activist James O'Keefe's hidden camera video was concerned, Kiriakou stressed that while O'Keefe himself was "a very controversial figure," it's true that "if the information is true, the American people have the right to know it."

"So many of us in the former intelligence community – I'm talking about my colleagues in the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity – have been saying both in television and radio interviews and in writing, that we're just not seeing any evidence of collusion between President Trump and the Russian government or Russian hackers or any Russians at all," the observer noted.

Unfortunately, the observer emphasized that not only the mainstream media, but the Trump administration's political enemies in Washington, just can't seem to think up any way to attack him apart from made up claims about his Russia ties.

"There's this drumbeat here in Washington, that the only way to ruin President Trump is to tie him to the Russians. And I think the mainstream media, with the exception of Fox News, has latched onto that, and I think that many, many Democrats on Capitol Hill have also done the same," Kiriakou said.

Data dump
© Sputnik/ Vitaly Podvitski / Failing? CNN's U-Turn on Russia Coverage
 

Speaking to Radio Sputnik about the crisis now facing CNN, Dmitri Zhuravlev, the director of the Institute of Regional Problems, a Russian think tank, said that he actually sees grounds for the fiasco being the first step in turning the mainstream media narrative on Russia around.

CNN's position today, the analyst noted, consists of opposing Moscow over everything Russia does, and of searching for someone to blame for America's domestic political problems. 

"This is very unfortunate," Zhuravlev stressed, "especially if we recall the role CNN played in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the agency covered the situation in the Soviet Union rather objectively, sometimes even taking up positions contrary to those of US leaders."

As far as the resignation of the staffers was concerned, the analyst noted that "if the situation has reached a stage where for the sake of objectivity it's necessary to dismiss employees, something is wrong. And maybe it's not about CNN, but the general climate in the US. The main thing now is to wait for the moment when a sense of objectivity wins out over the narrow-minded position which currently prevails. CNN can probably be characterized as the leading [US] news agency. If its position changes, it, like an icebreaker, will be followed by other US media in changing course," Zhuravlev concluded.

  • Published in World

CNN uses anonymous source to push Syria/Russia 'chemical attack' conspiracy

An anonymous senior US official told CNN that, while the US allegedly has proof that Damascus is responsible for the chemical incident in Idlib, Syria, it has uncovered no such evidence implicating Moscow, because Russia is wilier in scrambling its communications.

The anonymous official reportedly told the American news channel that the US intelligence community had intercepted communications “featuring Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the sarin attack in Idlib last week.” While the source failed to provide any concrete details about the alleged communication – such when it was intercepted or what names or other information it contained – they did note that the US “did not know prior to the attack it was going to happen.”

 
Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. © Ammar Abdullah

CNN speculated that the communication had been sent prior to the incident, but was not processed until the US began investigating it.

The source added that “there are no intelligence intercepts that have been found directly confirming that Russian military or intelligence officials communicated about the attack,” but noted “the likelihood is the Russians are more careful in their communications to avoid being intercepted.”

The most specific proof the source could come up with was his observation that Russia has a surveillance drone, which he claimed “flew over the hospital that was treating people injured in the attack.”

CNN suggested that even if the US had evidence of Russia’s involvement, it might not go public with it, as “the US feels right now that it has made the case that Russian support for [Syrian President Bashar] Assad must end.”

The report is the latest in a long series based on anonymous sources – with undisclosed agendas citing vague evidence which is never submitted to public scrutiny – that the mainstream media has deployed to level accusations against Russia. The story that Russia allegedly meddled in the US election has become a dominant narrative for opponents of Donald Trump, who are still trying to explain his surprise victory.

The major media outlets’ eagerness to blame Russia for everything occasionally leads to embarrassment, however. A fairly spectacular example came in January, when the Washington Post was forced to backtrack on a story that falsely claimed Russia had hacked into Vermont’s power grid. The newspaper also sparked outrage in December by touting a list of “Russian propaganda” websites, which turned out to include many respected independent media sources.

The alarming trend is not limited to the US media, however. Last year, the Guardian failed to accurately report on an Italian newspaper’s interview with Julian Assange. The British newspaper falsely painted WikiLeaks’ founder as a Trump supporter who would not criticize Moscow because he was presumably in league with the Russian government.

Some examples go back years. In 2014, the New York Times published photos of armed men, claiming that they were Russian troops on a clandestine mission in Ukraine. The newspaper had taken the images from the US State Department, and both had failed to properly verify them.

  • Published in World

‘White House sanctioning own children now?’ Moscow blasts CNN's ‘false’ US school closure report

The CNN is spreading ‘false information’ by reporting that Russia closed the Anglo-American School of Moscow in retaliation to a new set of US sanctions, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

“It’s a lie. It appears the White House has completely lost its mind and is now coming up with sanctions against their own children,” Zakharova commented on the report on her Facebook page.

“The CNN broadcaster and other Western media have again distributed false information citing official US sources,” the spokeswoman added.

The Anglo-American School of Moscow has also denied media speculation, with director Ian Forster writing on Facebook that the “school is planning to open as scheduled following the New Year’s break.”

The Anglo-American School of Moscow
Message from the Director regarding media reports of the closure of the Anglo American School Moscow campus.

You may have heard and seen reports coming through the media stating that the Russian authorities have closed the Anglo American School, Moscow campus. Senior Russian officials have refuted this story.
The school is planning to open as scheduled following the New Year break.
We will keep you updated through e-mails, postings on our website and if it is urgent throug...

The Anglo-American School of Moscow

Earlier, CNN cited an unnamed US official who claimed that the Russian authorities ordered the closure of the Anglo-American School of Moscow, attended by children from the US, UK, and Canadian embassy staffs, and a US Embassy vacation house in Serebryany Bor.

The report was quickly picked up by other Western media outlets, which came up with juicy, Star Wars-style headlines for their stories, including “Russia Strikes Back: Moscow Closes US School in Response to Obama Sanctions,” from ABC, and “Putin fires back by closing American school and embassy vacation home in Moscow…” from the Daily Mail.

The CNN source called the move a direct retaliation to the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York, which US President Barack Obama announced on Thursday as part of a set of new sanctions against Russian.

@IvorCrotty You've been fake'd, people. Semantic acrobatics in progress. Parents of pupils were miles ahead of reporters.

According to Obama, the countermeasures were introduced in response to what he called “the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of US officials and cyber operations aimed at the US election.”

READ MORE: US expels 35 Russian diplomats, closes 2 compounds

Thirty-five Russian diplomats have been expelled from the US, and nine Russian entities, including the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) and the FSB (Federal Security Service), added to Washington’s blacklist.

The facilities in Maryland and New York, located in the coastal area, were used by Russian Embassy staff for recreational purposes. Many diplomats and their families who went there to celebrate New Year’s were forced to leave after the announcement of the sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will not respond in kind to the US restrictions.

“We won't cause problems for American diplomats. We’re not going to expel anybody. We won’t forbid their families and kids from using familiar vacation spots during the New Year holidays,” he said.

READ MORE: Putin: Russia will not expel anyone in response to US sanctions

“Moreover, I invite the children of all American diplomats with accreditation in Russia to New Year’s and Christmas festivities in the Kremlin,” Putin added.

Though the Russian leader expressed regret that President Obama is concluding his term “in such a way,” he added: “I still wish him and his family a Happy New Year.
“I also wish President-elect Donald Trump and the entire American people a Happy New Year!”

According to Putin, Russia will “take further moves on restoring Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of President-elect Donald Trump adopts.”

  • Published in World
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