The fallout from Jim Acosta’s verbal argument with President Donald Trump didn’t take long to manifest: The CNN reporter said on Wednesday he was denied access to the White House just hours after challenging Trump during a televised press conference.
“I’ve just been denied access to the WH. Secret Service just informed me I cannot enter the grounds for my 8 pm hit,” Acosta tweeted Wednesday evening. In subsequent tweets, he explained that Secret Service agents working at a White House access point asked him to surrender his credential — known as a “hard pass” — to enter the grounds.
According to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Acosta’s access was revoked as the result of an incident that took place during Trump’s post-midterms press conference Wednesday afternoon.
During the event, the president refused to answer Acosta’s questions about indictments in the Russia investigation, saying, “I’m not concerned about anything with the Russia investigation, because it’s a hoax. That’s enough. Put down the mic,” Trump said. “CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. You’re a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible, and the way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
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During the exchange, a White House intern attempted to take a microphone away from Acosta; the White House is classifying his efforts to stop her from doing so as “placing his hands on a young woman.”
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” Sanders tweeted Wednesday, adding that “This conduct is absolutely unacceptable” and that Trump “has given the press more access than any president in history.”
The video is below; the microphone grab is at the :18 mark.
“As a result of today’s incident,” Sanders added, “the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.”
Acosta responded that Sanders’ description of events was “a lie.” In a statement issued Wednesday evening, CNN concurred, saying: “The White House announced tonight that it has revoked the press pass of CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. It was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today’s press conference. In an explanation, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders lied. She provided fraudulent accusations and cited 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.”