CNN is suing Donald Trump and several White House aides after one of the network's reporters dramatically clashed with the President and had his press pass suspended.

The lawsuit alleges that Jim Acosta and CNN's rights are being violated by the ban, which followed a confrontation between Mr Trump and the journalist at a news conference last week.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders then came under fire for sharing a "doctored" video of the incident on Twitter as "evidence" of Acosta's behaviour.

As President Donald Trump points to CNN's Jim Acosta, a White House aide takes the microphone from him. Photo / AP
As President Donald Trump points to CNN's Jim Acosta, a White House aide takes the microphone from him. Photo / AP

A spokeswoman for CNN confirmed the lawsuit was being filed in US District Court in Washington, DC on Tuesday morning.


The defendants are Mr Trump, Ms Sanders, chief of staff John Kelly, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, Secret Service director Joseph Clancy, and an unidentified Secret Service officer who took Acosta's pass away last Wednesday.

"CNN filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration this morning in DC District Court," the network said in a statement. "It demands the return of the White House credentials of CNN's Chief White House correspondent, 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. 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."

Acosta was denied entry to the White House grounds after his sensational confrontation with Mr Trump at a news conference following the midterm elections.

The President called the reporter "a rude, terrible person" as he refused to answer his questions, and an intern tried to take Acosta's microphone away.

Ms Sanders said he had behaved inappropriately towards the young woman.

She said his press credentials were revoked because the White House will "never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern".

Ms Sanders said Acosta's behaviour was "absolutely unacceptable" and that CNN supporting him was "disgusting".

But well-known journalists, including The New York Times' Maggie Haberman and CNN executive Matt Dornic, accused Ms Sanders of sharing a video doctored by far-right website Infowars to speed up Acosta's arm motion.

Late night TV hosts Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel both said Ms Sanders should be fired.

A video expert had told The Associated Press that the video appeared to have been altered to speed up Acosta's arm movement and make his gesture seem more threatening.

Mr Trump denied it was doctored. "They gave a close-up view," he said. "That's not doctoring."

CNN sent a letter to the White House formally requesting the immediate reinstatement of Acosta's pass on Friday, warning that a legal challenge could follow.