Reporter Jim Acosta of CNN rejected the allegations of the White House that he physically attacked an intern of the White House during a boiling argument with the President, The Hill reported.
According to Acosta, the intern approached him and tried to snatch his microphone as he was asking Trump questions at a press briefing at Capitol Hill.
“I didn’t put my hands on her or touch her as they’re alleging. It’s unfortunate the White House is saying this,” Acosta said on CNN. “… I think I handled myself professionally.”
After the alleged incident, the White House suspended Acosta’s press credentials, a move that was followed by his remarks. Sarah Sanders, the press secretary of the White House, said that after the intern tried to take the microphone from Acosta, he put his hands on her.
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his administration,” Sanders said. “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. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”
“This is a lie,” in Acosta responded to Sanders’s Tweet.
Footage of the event shows the intern in an attempt to yank the microphone from the reporter who was asking the President a migrant-related question.
As the young woman attempted to take the microphone away, Acosta told her “pardon me, ma’am” and continued to try to ask his question. Acosta’s hand appeared to brush the intern’s arm during the exchange.
During the press briefing, Trump called Acosta “a rude, terrible person,” adding that “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them.”
CNN later backed the reporter, saying in a statement that Sanders “lied” in her “fraudulent” statement and cited an incident “that never happened.”
“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,” CNN wrote in a statement along with a video of the interaction.
Late Wednesday night Sanders doubled down on the White House’s decision to revoke Acosta’s press credentials.
“We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video,” she tweeted, after fielding mounting criticism for the decision.