Donald Trump’s administration has argued in legal documents that it does have a constitutional right to ban CNN reporter Jim Acosta from the White House.

Lawyers for the US justice department contended that the administration has "broad discretion" to regulate press access to the White House complex.

It was a response to CNN’s legal request for a temporary restraining order restoring Acosta’s access.

A judge is due to hold a hearing on Wednesday on CNN’s complaint.

Responding in court documents the justice department said: "The President and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists (and other members of the public) that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews, or which journalists they acknowledge at press conferences."

Acosta was banished following a particularly contentious press conference with the president last week.

He has repeatedly clashed with Mr Trump and press secretary Sarah Sanders in briefings. 

Jim AcostaCredit:

The administration lawyers argued it was "lawful" to punish Acosta.

His press credentials were taken away by the Secret Service and CNN alleged that his constitutional rights had been violated.

Fox News on Wednesday backed CNN, its bitter cable news rival, in the ongoing dispute.

Jay Wallace, president of Fox News, said: "Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential.

"We intend to file an amicus brief with the US District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponised.

"While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the president and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people."

The White House has dismissed the complaint as "grandstanding" and vowed to "vigorously defend" its actions.

Acosta and CNN are plaintiffs in the case which names six defendants including Mr Trump, Mrs Sanders, and White House chief of staff John Kelly.

In addition to requesting the return of the journalist’s credentials CNN is seeking "a declaration that the revocation of Acosta’s press credentials was unconstitutional".

In a statement ABC News said: "We stand with CNN in believing that Jim Acosta should have his White House pass reinstated.  We hope this is resolved swiftly."

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