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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

After a federal court ruling on Friday restored the White House press pass of CNN's Jim Acosta, the West Wing moved almost immediately to once again contest his access, sources involved in the negotiations tell me.

What's happening: The White House sent CNN a letter Friday giving a chance for Acosta to make the case for continued access. A White House official said a decision will be made after hearing the case.

CNN is fighting back, and is expected back in court as soon as today.

  • Acosta was blocked after clashes with President Trump, who accused the reporter of hogging the microphone at a post-midterm press conference.
  • A CNN spokesperson told me: "The White House is continuing to violate the First and Fifth amendments of the Constitution. These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and the President."
  • White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, speaking on Fox News, accused the correspondent of "grandstanding": "[I]f certain reporters like Jim Acosta can't be adults, then CNN needs to send somebody in there who can be."

Why it matters: This is a high-risk confrontation for both sides. It turns out that press access to the White House is grounded very much in tradition rather than in plain-letter law.

  • So a court fight could result in a precedent that curtails freedom to cover the most powerful official in the world from the literal front row.

How CNN sees the fight ... Brian Stelter, CNN's chief media correspondent, wrote in his Reliable Sources newsletter last night:

  • "From the looks of the letter, the W.H. is trying to establish a paper trail that will empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month."

How the White House sees the fight ... Sanders said Friday in an interview with her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, filling in for Sean Hannity: "We've laid out in a letter to CNN and their team what we think were some of the missteps that their reporter made at the press conference on November 7th."

  • "[T]he judge, I think, was actually very clear that the White House has the ability to say: You can't come in. You don't have — freedom of the press doesn't mean freedom into the White House. And he said there has to be due process. And so that's what we're doing and we'll see what happens from there."
  • Sanders added that CNN has "50-plus" journalists who hold passes: "So the idea that they aren't able to get information that they need from the White House is frankly laughable."

"[T]radition has been in the past that the White House Correspondents' Association determines who sits in [the press] room and who sits in those individual seats," Sanders continued.

  • Mike Huckabee interjected: "But that's tradition. It's not law."
  • Sanders responded: "True."
  • Asked about bringing in reporters from elsewhere in America, Sanders said: "I think that's certainly an option to explore."

Trump, asked about the Acosta ruling by Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday," said: "If he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference."

  • "I think one of the things we’ll do is maybe turn the camera off that faces them [the reporters] because then they don’t have any airtime. Although I’ll probably be sued for that and maybe, you know, win or lose it — who knows."

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Updated 35 mins ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

2 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.