Acosta was sanctioned Wednesday after a testy exchange with President Trump during a lengthy press conference. The White House punished Acosta for “placing his hands on a young woman” after he declined to give up the microphone, but witnesses and video of the incident do not appear to support such a claim.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she was suspending Acosta’s hard pass, which allowed him to enter the White House without supervision.
First Amendment legal expert Floyd Abrams told CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday that he believes the cable network should sue, and that “it’s a really strong lawsuit.”
“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,’” Abrams told Stelter’s “Reliable Sources” show. "That said, yes, I think they should sue."
CNN said in a statement that "no decisions have been made" on a lawsuit.
“We have reached out to the White House and gotten no response,” a CNN spokesperson said.
However, longtime ABC reporter Donaldson told Stelter that he has been asked to give an affidavit in connection with the incident, which he called “dangerous for the press as a whole.”
“This is going to happen again,” Abrams told Stelter. “It's likely to happen again. So whether it’s CNN suing or the next company suing, someone is going to have to bring a lawsuit. And whoever does is going to win unless there's some sort of reason.”
The White House was accused of posting a doctored tape of the incident, but Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that the recording was “sped up,” not “altered.”
“They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or touchdown,” she told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
“So, I’m going to have to disagree with, I think, the overwrought description of this video being doctored as if we put somebody else’s arm in there.”
She denied the allegation that Acosta’s credential was pulled because he did unflattering stories about the White House.
“Chris, if what you just described were the standard, we would have cleaned out the entire building two years ago,” she said.