White House pulls CNN correspondent's press pass after chaotic engagement with Trump

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)President Donald Trump gets into an exchange with Jim Acosta of CNN after giving remarks a day after the midterm elections.
  • CNN senior White House reporter Jim Acosta’s “hard pass” press credentials has been suspended “until further notice,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
  • The decision comes after a tense stand-off between Acosta and President Donald Trump during a press conference on Wednesday.
  • During the press conference, Trump dodged a question from Acosta when a White House intern walked up to take his microphone away. Acosta held on to the microphone.

CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials has been suspended “until further notice,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

The decision comes after a tense stand-off between Acosta and President Donald Trump during a press conference on Wednesday, one day after the 2018 Midterm Elections.

Trump was dodging Acosta’s questions regarding a wide range of subjects, including the Russia investigation and the so-called migrant caravan, when a White House intern walked up to take his microphone away. Despite multiple attempts to pry the microphone away from Acosta, he held on.

“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them,” Trump said to Acosta at one point. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. You’re a very rude person.”

“That’s enough, put down the mic,” Trump said as Acosta continued his line of questioning.

But the White House appeared to suggest Acosta had laid hands on the intern. Sanders said in her statement that 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.”

“This conduct is absolutely unacceptable,” Sanders said.

Citing Trump’s willingness to answer 68 question from 35 reporters at the event, Sanders said that “contrary to CNN’s assertions, there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today.”

“The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it is an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration.”

Acosta said Sanders’ account of the incident was “a lie.” Video footage and photographs showed the intern grazing Acosta’s arm in trying to pry the microphone away, and briefly making contact with the hand holding the microphone.

Here’s the moment:

Shortly after the incident, CNN released a statement describing Trump’s “ongoing attacks on the press” as “dangerous” and “un-American.”

“While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it,” CNN said in a statement. “A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere.”

Acosta was denied entrance on White House grounds on Wednesday evening for his nightly segment, and instead, recorded a conversation with a uniformed officer.

“We have been working at the White House for five years covering two administrations,” Acosta said to the officer, as he voluntarily gave up his hard pass. “So yeah, it’s been on that thing for a while.”

CNN’s reporters, namely Acosta, have been frequently seen on the front lines of the White House’s tense press briefings. Following one of many fiery exchanges with the Trump administration, Acosta railed against Trump in 2017 and called him “a purveyor of fake news.”

“[Trump] came out right after his inauguration and said his inauguration crowds were bigger than President Obama’s, when they weren’t,” Acosta previously said in a CNN segment. “We had photographic evidence from the National Parks Service to prove that point.”

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