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White House Issues New Rules To Press Corps


While the White House has agreed to restore the press credentials of CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has also unveiled a new set of rules for White House press conferences.

The rules issued by Sanders on Monday include limiting journalists to a single question, with follow-up questions only permitted at the discretion of President Donald Trump or the White House official taking questions.

Journalists are required to "yield the floor" after asking their question or questions, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner.

Potentially signaling future disputes with the press, Sanders said failure to abide by the new rules may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist's press pass.

"We have created these rules with a degree of regret," Sanders said, arguing Acosta's behavior at a press conference earlier this month was outside understood professional norms.

"We would have greatly preferred to continue hosting White House press conferences in reliance on a set of understood professional norms, and we believe the overwhelming majority of journalists covering the White House share that preference," Sanders said.

She added, "But, given the position taken by CNN, we now feel obligated to replace previously shared practices with explicit rules."

Sanders suggested a more elaborate and comprehensive set of rules may need to be devised to address issues such as journalist conduct in non-press room areas inside and outside the White House and aboard Air Force One.

"The White House's interaction with the press is, and generally should be, subject to a natural give-and-take," Sanders said. "President Trump believes strongly in the First Amendment, and a free press and is the most accessible President in modern history."

She continued, "It would be a great loss for all if, instead of relying on the professionalism of White House journalists, we were compelled to devise a lengthy and detailed code of conduct for White House events."

White House Correspondents' Association President Olivier Knox said the White House did the right thing in restoring Acosta's press pass but noted the WHCA had no role in crafting any procedures for future press conferences.

"For as long as there have been White House press conferences, White House reporters have asked follow-up questions," Knox said. "We fully expect this tradition will continue."

He added, "We will continue to make the case that a free and independent news media plays a vital role in the health of our republic."

Last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly ordered the White House to temporarily reinstate Acosta's press pass,

Kelly ruled Acosta had been deprived of "due process" when his press credentials were suspended following a tense exchange with Trump during the president's post-election press conference.

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