Trump calls CNN's Acosta 'bad for the country'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE on Wednesday expressed hope the White House would defeat CNN in a lawsuit over his decision to suspend the press credentials of reporter Jim Acosta, whom he called “bad for the country.”
 
In an interview with The Daily Caller, Trump railed against Acosta, calling him a “rude” person whose “grandstanding” is unfair to the broader White House press corps.
 
“I really think that when you have guys like Acosta, I think they’re bad for the country,” Trump told the conservative website. “He’s just an average guy who’s a grandstander who’s got the guts to stand up and shout.” 
 
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Trump was uncertain when asked if he believes he will prevail in the lawsuit brought by CNN, which alleges the White House violated Acosta's Constitutional rights by stripping his pass. 
 
“I don’t know. We should,” Trump said. “We’ll see how the court rules. Is it freedom of the press when somebody comes in and starts screaming questions and won’t sit down?”
 
Trump's latest comments come hours before a federal judge is scheduled to hold a hearing on CNN's request to immediately restore Acosta's press pass, where the White House's shifting explanations for why it revoked the reporter's pass could come into play.
 
The White House set off a political and legal firestorm last week when it revoked Acosta's credentials following a contentious exchange with the president at a White House news conference. 
 
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders initially justified the decision by claiming Acosta placed his hands on a young female intern who tried to take away a microphone from the reporter, even sharing an altered video to back up her case. 
 
But Sanders backed away from that claim on Tuesday after CNN filed suit, saying in a new statement that Acosta “physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern” while arguing the suspension was nonetheless justified. 
 
Trump on Wednesday said Acosta “was very rude to the young lady,” but the Caller reported he was more focused on the CNN reporter's style.
 
CNN has stood by Acosta, saying in a statement last week his credentials revoked “in retaliation for his challenging questions at the press conference.”
 
The Justice Department on Wednesday pushed back against CNN's request to immediately reinstate reporter Acosta's press pass, arguing it has “broad discretion” on whether to allow certain reporters into the White House. 
 
“No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House,” three Justice Department lawyers wrote in a court filing. 
 
Many legal experts believe, however, that CNN has a strong case that Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights to free speech and due process, respectively, were violated. 
 
Multiple news outlets, including Fox News and The New York Times, said Wednesday they plan to file legal briefs in support of CNN.