The White House has suspended the credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
The move followed an incident during President Trump’s Wednesday news conference, in which Acosta challenged Trump about his claims regarding immigrants trekking through Mexico to reach the U.S. border. Trump repeatedly said “That’s enough.” As the reporter then tried to ask a question about the Russia investigation, a White House aide tried to take Acosta’s microphone from him, but he refused to let go.
Trump called Acosta a “rude, terrible person,” and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders subsequently said the reporter’s hard pass was being suspended “until further notice.”
Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” and disrespecting other journalists by not allowing them to ask questions.
Acosta tweeted that this was “a lie.”
Footage of the incident shows the intern tried to reach under Acosta’s arm to take the mic from him, and his arm came down on hers as he continued to try asking his question of Trump.
Acosta also tweeted a video of a Secret Service official taking his White House credential from him.
CNN said in a statement that the suspension of the pass was “done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today’s press conference,” and also accused Sanders of making “fraudulent accusations and [citing] an incident that never happened.”
“This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support,” the network said.
President Trump’s midterm campaigning focused strongly on a “caravan” of migrants heading through Central America towards the U.S. He claimed it constitutes an imminent invasion and sent thousands of active-duty troops to the southern border with Mexico. However, as noted by Acosta and many others, the people travelling within the “caravan” are still hundreds of miles from the U.S.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that CNN is “fake news” and incited his followers to chant the phrase at representatives of the news organization during his campaign rallies. This has resulted in multiple death threats against CNN and its staff.
Last month CNN’s Atlanta office received a pipe bomb in the mail, apparently as part of an attempted bombing campaign that also targeted prominent Democrats and other critics of the president.