CNN responded by filing suit in federal court against the president.
Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights had been violated, said CNN. The demand: Acosta's press pass must be returned immediately and his White House press privileges restored.
"If left unchallenged," CNN warned, "the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials." A dozen news organizations, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, are filing amicus briefs on CNN's behalf.
On Thursday, the Trump administration raised the stakes.
Justice Department lawyer James Burnham declared in court: "If the president wants to exclude all reporters from the White House grounds, he clearly has the authority to do that."
After all, whose house is it if not the "President's House," the home of Donald Trump as long as he serves in the office to which he was elected by the American people?
The West Wing contains the Oval Office and the offices of senior staff. As for the West Wing briefing room, it was built by President Richard Nixon in 1969, when White House passes were regarded as privileges.