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CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta has been denied access to the White House after getting into a heated shouting match with President Donald Trump and pulling a mic away from a female aide at a press conference.
A Secret Service agent denied Acosta entry to the White House grounds on Wednesday evening, and revoked his 'hard pass', the long-term press pass issued to the White House press corps.
'I’ve just been denied entrance to the WH. Secret Service just informed me I cannot enter the WH grounds for my 8pm hit,' Acosta wrote in a tweet at 7.46pm.
Minutes later, the CNN journalist posted a cell phone video of a Secret Service agent asking him to hand over his press pass and removing it from his lanyard.
Acosta shot hasty cell phone video (above) of a Secret Service officer denying him entry to the White House and revoking his press pass on Wednesday evening, after Acosta grappled with a female intern over a mic while shouting at Trump
Acosta wrestled with a White House intern who tried to take the provided mic to pass it to another journalist
President Donald Trump and CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta got into a heated verbal back-and-forth
Acosta returned to the studio to address his White House ban on CNN colleague Anderson Cooper's show
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that Acosta's hard pass had been suspended 'until further notice' as a result of his actions at a press conference earlier in the day.
Acosta appeared on his CNN colleague Anderson Cooper's program to address the incident, saying: 'I do think, Anderson, that this is a test for all of us. I do think they're trying to shut us down to some extent inside the White House press corps.'
'I didn't put my hands on her or touch her as they’re alleging. It's unfortunate the White House is saying this... I think I handled myself professionally.'
On Wednesday afternoon, Acosta got into a heated verbal back-and-forth with Trump that resulted in the president telling him to 'sit down' as the journalist wrestled with a female aide to keep her from passing the mic to another journalist.
'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 said. 'This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.'
Sanders also blasted back at an earlier CNN statement that supported Acosta and said 'this President's ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far'.
'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. Only they would attack the President for not supporting a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters,' Sanders said.
'The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it‘s an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration.'
In a tweet, Acosta called Sanders' statement 'a lie' without elaborating.
CNN in a statement also flatly accused Sanders of lying about the nature of the confrontation between Acosta and the female intern.
'She provided fraudulent accusations and and cited an incident that never happened,' the news network said. 'This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support.'
The White House Correspondents’ Association issued a statement condemning the Trump administration for revoking Acosta's press pass.
'Revoking access to the White House complex is a reaction out of line to the purported offense and is unacceptable,'the group said. 'We urge the White House to immediately reverse this weak and misguided action.'
'We encourage anyone with doubts that this reaction was disproportionate to the perceived offense to view the video of the events from earlier today,' the group said.
Acosta's defenders urged people to look at video of the interaction, saying it proves Sanders was incorrect that the journalist 'placed his hands' on a female intern. A still of the video is seen above
The video shows the intern reaching for the mic, as Acosta's left hand appears to push her left arm down as he grips the mic
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is seen at the press conference on Wednesday afternoon. She issued a statement later in the day saying Jim Acosta's press pass had been suspended until further notice
Acosta's shouting match with Trump came as Acosta was asking Trump a lengthy question about the migrant caravan, arguing that the President should not have called the caravan an 'invasion'.
'That's enough!' Trump said as Acosta tried to move on to another question about the Russia investigation. That was when a White House intern tired to take the provided mic back.
'CNN should be ashamed of itself having you work for them. You are a rude terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN,' the president said to Acosta.
'When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people,' he told him.
The heated exchange drew scathing criticism of Acosta from conservative quarters on Twitter, even as liberals branded the outspoken correspondent a 'hero' and a 'national treasure.'
'Is there ever a Jim Acosta story that’s not about Jim Acosta,' asked Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent, podcaster and frequent Fox News guest. 'This guy is an intergalactic embarrassment who has turned rational Americans, some still looking for some sanity in the media, against them. What a disgrace.'
'We all value a free press, but it’s unfortunate that some reporters seem more interested in getting their own cable show than doing their jobs. The media grandstanding has gone overboard,' tweeted GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who was present at the press conference.
'Acosta’s behavior was beyond unprofessional,' said John Cardillo, a conservative host for Newsmax TV.
Trump and Acosta have long have a contentious relationship as the CNN reporter often asks the president questions that seemed designed to illicit a reaction from him.
Acosta, speaking on CNN after the exchange, said he thought the president was defensive because he lost in Tuesday's election.
'He sounded, I thought, very depressed, very despondent, almost defeated in the way he was talking about these election results. I think that's probably why you saw things spiral out of control. We're not used to -- the president is not used to seeing himself lose and he lost big,' Acosta said.
CNN's Jim Acosta detaches his earphone at the end of a news conference after a tense exchange between Acosta and Trump
He then addressed Trump calling CNN 'fake news' and an 'enemy of the people': 'I think the American people know we're friends of the American people, we're going to defend the American people and we're going to stand up for our rights to seek the truth in this country, and the president can call us all the names in the world but we're going to keep doing our jobs.'
The president snapped at other reporters in the room on Wednesday and told them to sit down, including Urban Radio's April Ryan, who tried to interject with a question without being called on.
'Sit down please. Sit down. I didn't call on you. I didn't call on you,' Trump said when Ryan tried to get in a question.
'Excuse me I'm not responding to you. I'm talking to his gentleman. Would you please sit down,' he said after calling on Daily Caller correspondent Saagar Enjeti with Ryan attempting to ask a question instead.
And when Ryan attempted to keep asking, the president said: 'It's such a hostile media. It's so sad.'
'You rudely interrupted him,' Trump told Ryan.
Trump also accused Yamiche Alcindor, an African-American White House correspondent for PBS' 'NewsHour' of asking a 'racist' question.
'That's a racist question,' he told her when she asked him about calling himself a nationalist and if he was concerned people saw him as a white nationalist. 'To say that what you said is so insulting to me.'
'I'm simply asking the questions the public wants to know,' Alcindor tweeted later.
But Wednesday's exchange with Acosta was startling in its vitriol. CNN defended Acosta in a statement.
'This President's ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far. They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American. 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,' the network said.
Trump also lectured Urban Radio Network's April Ryan (above) for trying to interrupt another reporter and told her to sit down
Acosta was called on early in Trump's presser.
'I wanted to challenge you,' Acosta started but Trump interrupted him: 'Here we go. Let's go. Let's go. Come on.'
Acosta pressed him on why he called the migrant caravan making its way from Central America to the U.S. border an invasion.
'As you know Mr. President, it's not an invasion. It's a group of migrants moving toward the border,' Acosta said.
'Thank you for telling me that. I appreciate it,' Trump said.
Acosta kept pressing but Trump cut him off.
'I consider it an invasion. You and I have a difference of opinion,' Trump said.
Acosta asked the president if he demonized immigrants for political points.
'No not at all,' Trump said.
Acosta kept asking and the president, who held the presser to tout Republican wins in Tuesday's election, had enough and told him to sit down.
'Honestly I think you should let me run the country and you run CNN,' he snapped. 'If you did it well your ratings would be much better.'
That didn't stop Acosta from talking but Trump moved on. But as Acosta pressed on Trump told him to cut it off.
'That's enough,' Trump said pointing at Acosta, who kept trying to talk. 'That's enough. That's enough.'
Trump and Acosta have long have a contentious relationship
The president told Acosta enough and a White House intern tried to take the mic
'Pardon me ma'am,' Acosta told her. Sanders said a number of press outlets have engaged in 'outrageous' coverage of attempted violence on critics of the president that's 'irresponsible' in the tone it has taken
'Put the mic down,' Trump told Acosta. Acosta repeatedly presses Sanders in her rare briefings to clarify quotes and policy from the president
At that point, a White House intern tried to physically take the microphone from Acosta, who wrestled them for it. 'Pardon me ma'am,' he said to her.
'That's enough, Put down the mic,' Trump told him.
He then called on NBC's Peter Alexander but turned back to lecture Acosta.
'You are a very rude person,' Trump told him.
He then berated Acosta for the way he questioned White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in briefings.
'The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible,' he said. 'And the way you treat other people is horrible, you shouldn't treat other people that way.'
Acosta repeatedly presses Sanders in her rare briefings to clarify quotes and policy from the president.
In her last briefing Sanders got into a dispute with Acosta in the wake of a series of pipe bombs that were sent to Trump's political rivals and to CNN, which had to evacuate its New York headquarters.
Sanders said a number of press outlets have engaged in 'outrageous' coverage of attempted violence on critics of the president that's 'irresponsible' in the tone it has taken.
NBC's Peter Alexander defended Jim Acosta, who hugged him after the press conference
'The president is not responsible for these acts,' she said. 'The major news networks' first public statement was to blame the President and myself included. I mean, that is outrageous than anybody other than the individual who carried out the crime would hold that responsibility.'
Acosta has pushed Sanders to explain why the White House wouldn't 'reserve the term enemy of the people for people who are actually the enemy of the United States rather than journalists.'
She replied that 'the president is not referencing all media, he's taking about the growing amount of fake news that exists in the country.'
'I'm not gonna walk through a list,' she said as Acosta tried to force her to admit he was referring to CNN. 'I don't think it's necessarily specific to a broad generalization of a full outlet at times. I think there's individuals that the president would be referencing.'
Trump has also tangled with Acosta before - at a press conference in New York when he was there for meetings at the New York General Assembly and in London when he was on a visit there.
NBC's Alexander did defend Acosta on Wednesday when Trump called on him in the wake of the jaw-dropping exchange.
'In Jim's defense - I've traveled with him and watched him - he's a diligent reporter who busts his butt,' Alexander said.
'Well I'm not a fan of yours either,' Trump replied. 'You aren't the best.'
'I understand,' Alexander responded.
'Many thanks to my friend @PeterAlexander,' Acosta tweeted later.