CNN’s Jim Acosta and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders got into a back-and-forth on Tuesday during the first media briefing since the correspondent’s White House press credential was restored.
Fox News reported that Acosta kept quiet during much of the briefing that began with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow addressing this week’s upcoming G20 Summit in Argentina and national security adviser John Bolton speaking to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and recent tensions with Russia.
Sanders eventually called on Acosta, who questioned whether President Donald Trump would recommend that former campaign manager Paul Manafort fully cooperate with authorities going forward, given special counsel Robert Mueller’s decision to revoke Manafort’s plea agreement.
In a brief filed in federal court on Monday, Mueller’s team claimed Manafort lied repeatedly to investigators, thereby violating the terms of his plea agreement.
Sanders said she could not speak to what Manafort should do, but that the president and the White House have been fully cooperative with the special counsel’s investigation.
“We also know that there was no collusion and we’re ready for this to wrap up,” she said.
Following the new rules of decorum that the White House outlined in a letter to Acosta last week, the reporter asked permission for a follow-up, to which Sanders did not object.
“The president doesn’t believe the warnings in the climate report,” Acosta said. “The president doesn’t believe the CIA when it comes to Jamal Khashoggi. The president doesn’t believe his intelligence community …”
Sanders interjected, “That’s not accurate.”
Acosta continued, “… when it comes to Russian meddling. Why doesn’t he have faith in his advisers?”
“The president has faith in the intelligence community and certainly in the team that he has assembled around him,” Sanders replied.
Acosta continued to engage, contending that Trump does not believe the CIA’s assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in Khashoggi’s death.
“We haven’t seen definitive evidence come from our intelligence community that ties him directly to that,” Sanders replied.
Fox News pointed out that with his series of questions, Acosta appeared “to technically violate the rules that were put in place as a result of his actions,” but Sanders didn’t call him out and answered his second and third questions.
Earlier this month, Trump and Acosta got into a heated exchange when the correspondent sought to “challenge” the president on his characterization of the Central American migrant caravan as an “invasion.”
The White House revoked Acosta’s pass after the correspondent continued to ask questions when the president tried to move on to other reporters, and then refused to surrender an in-house microphone to a White House intern.
Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, suggested that in light of the clashes at the border between migrants and U.S. border patrol officers, Trump appeared to have had a better handle on the situation than Acosta, who all but called the president a liar regarding the caravan.
Very much worth watching Jim Acosta’s performance here and how it looks in retrospect somehow even worse than it looked at the time. https://t.co/8Q8gKOlzHj
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) November 26, 2018
“Very much worth watching Jim Acosta’s performance here and how it looks in retrospect somehow even worse than it looked at the time,” Hemmingway tweeted.
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