In a purported attempt to justify the suspension of CNN journalist Jim Acosta’s access to the White House, press secretary press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted a “manipulated video” which was first posted by controversial media outlet Infowars, TechCrunch reported on Thursday.
“We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behaviour clearly documented in this video,” Sanders tweeted.
Sanders alleged that Acosta “placed his hands” on a White House intern during a testy exchange with President Donald Trump.
“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 said in a series of tweets.
Acosta, however, disputed the account and called it a “lie”.
We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video. pic.twitter.com/T8X1Ng912y
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
Acosta sparred with Trump about the caravan of migrants heading from Latin America to the southern US border. When he tried to follow up with another question, Trump said, “That’s enough!” and a female White House aide unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from him.
The interaction between Acosta and the intern was brief, and Acosta appeared to brush her arm as she reached for the microphone and he tried to hold onto it. “Pardon me, ma’am,” he told her.
Acosta asked Trump why the caravan of migrants was emphasized as an issue in the just-concluded midterm races. Acosta questioned Trump’s reference to the caravan as an invasion, and Trump defended the term.
“You should let me run the country,” Trump said. “You run CNN and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better.”
After Acosta asked about the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, Trump tried to turn to Alexander, but Acosta continued to ask questions.
“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you work for them,” the president said to Acosta. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. The way you treat Sarah Sanders is horrible. The way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
Alexander came to his colleague’s defense. “I’ve traveled with him and watched him,” Alexander said. “He’s a diligent reporter who busts his butt like the rest of us.”
“I’m not a big fan of yours, either,” Trump replied.
“I understand,” Alexander said, attempting to ask a question. Acosta stood back up and began mentioning, without a microphone, the explosive devices that were recently sent to CNN and some of the president’s political opponents.
“Just sit down,” Trump said. “When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”
After the exchange, CNN, through its public relations department’s Twitter feed, said Trump’s attacks on the press have gone too far.
“They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American,” CNN said. “While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere.”
with AP inputs