The White House has revoked the press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta after his fiery exchange with President Donald Trump at a press conference.
The move to punish Acosta by removing his access to the White House “is believed to be unprecedented”, says The Washington Post.
Announcing the decision White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Acosta’s access had been removed because he had put “his hands on a young woman”.
In the incident cited by Sanders, Acosta “was asking a question at a news conference on Wednesday when a White House worker tried to grab the microphone from his hands a White House worker tried to grab the microphone from his hands”, says the BBC.
There are two competing views on what happened next with the White House releasing footage which it says clearly shows Acosta’s “inappropriate behaviour”.
We stand by our decision to revoke this individual%u2019s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video. pic.twitter.com/T8X1Ng912y
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
But journalists from many different publications who were at the press conference have called those allegations false with Acosta himself tweeting that they were “a lie”. Many journalists have also tweeted that they believe the footage the White House released to have been doctored.
Further analysis: video is absolutely doctored. You can see the edit when the clips are side by side and slowed down to quarter speed. See for yourself: pic.twitter.com/4ZZrzhislg
— Aymann Ismail (@aymanndotcom) November 8, 2018
This video is doctored. It's slowed down and then sped up at the moment Acosta's hand comes down to make it look like he's doing a karate chop or something. This is shameful propaganda. It's Orwellian. https://t.co/in8m3iHn18
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) November 8, 2018
I was seated next to %u2066@Acosta%u2069 at today%u2019s press conference and did not witness him %u201Cplacing his hands%u201D on the young intern, as the White House alleges. He held on to the microphone as she reached for it. The %u2066@Reuters%u2069 pictures below depict what happened accurately. pic.twitter.com/nO68Hf4eQM
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) November 8, 2018
The incident followed a question by Acosta to the president about whether he had “demonised immigrants” by calling a caravan of Central American migrants “an invasion”. Trump told Acosta they had a “difference of opinion” before walking away from the podium and returning to say: “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person.” He added: “The way you treat Sarah Huckerbee [Sanders] is horrible,” without explaining why.
Following the incident Acosta said he had first become aware of his credentials being revoked was when security stopped him from entering the White House grounds. It was “a pretty surreal experience” being barred from doing his job because he tried to ask a question of the president, he said
The White House Correspondents’ Association issued a statement condemning what it called the Trump administration’s “decision to use US Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship”.
Calling on the White House to reverse this “weak and misguided action”, it added: “Revoking access to the White House complex is a reaction out of line to the purported offence and is unacceptable.”