The White House has been accused of sharing a doctored video of an incident between a CNN reporter and an intern which saw the journalist banned.
Veteran reporter Jim Acosta had his press credentials suspended following a heated exchange with Donald Trump during Wednesday’s press conference.
The President launched an extraordinary attack on Acosta and branded CNN the “enemy of the people”.
He snapped after the journalist asked about a campaign ad which was widely described as ‘racist’ and which broadcasters including Fox News refused to air.
During the shocking row, which was broadcast live, a young White House staffer tried to wrestle the microphone from Acosta’s hand.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed Acosta had been suspended until further notice following what she described as “unacceptable” conduct.
She accused the CNN reporter of “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job.”
Acosta shared the tweet and called Sanders’ accusations “a lie”.
Video footage of the incident shows the White House intern grapple for the microphone as Acosta attempts to continue questioning the President.
The journalist is seen holding onto the mic and at one point told the woman, “Pardon me, ma’am.”
Following a backlash against the White House decision to exclude Acosta, Sanders shared a video of the incident on Twitter.
The press secretary wrote: “We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video.”
However, viewers were quick to claim the footage had been manipulated to make it appear as though Acosta had forcibly placed a hand on the intern.
Observers pointed out that the footage shared by Sanders appears to violate C-Span’s own terms and conditions which state: “C‑SPAN hereby grants you permission to access and use the Content as set forth in these Terms and Conditions, provided that you agree not to alter or modify any part of the Content (including, without limitation, the “C SPAN” brand) or any of its related technologies, except that you may use the tools we provide to create and post video clips.”
During Wednesday’s clash, Trump called Acosta a “rude, terrible person” and then called an NBC News reporter “fake news” when he came to the CNN journalist’s defence.
The President said “Honestly I think that you should let me run the country. You run CNN. And if you did it well, your ratings will be much higher.”
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Later he pointed at Acosta who was trying to ask a follow-up question and shouted repeatedly “that’s enough”.
He added: “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them you are a rude, terrible person you shouldn’t be working for CNN.”
When NBC’s Peter Alexander rose to ask a question he defended Mr Acosta calling him a “diligent reporter”.
But Trump hit back saying: “I’m not a big fan of yours either, to be honest … You are not the best … Just sit down, please. When you report fake news — no. When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you’re the enemy other of the people.”
The President accused another reporter of asking a racist question when she asked about those who say the Republican party is seen as supporting white nationalists.
President Trump accused Yamiche Alcindor, a black reporter with PBS NewsHour, of asking a “racist question”.
Gesturing to the room of journalists he added: “It’s such a hostile media, so sad.”
Later CNN issued a statement saying that Mr Trump’s “ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far.”
It continued: “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 press conference came after Tuesday’s midterm elections – widely seen as a referendum on Trump’s presidency.
The President said the night had been a “tremendous success”.
Despite Democrat success in taking the House, the ‘blue wave’ they were hoping for failed to appear and the Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate.
The midterms were billed as a referendum on Mr Trump’s presidency, but overall the voters have delivered a mixed verdict.
Democrat control of the the House of Representatives gives them the chance to block the President’s agenda and puts his administration under the microscope.
During the lengthy press conference Donald Trump revealed that his running mate would be the current vice president Mike Pence.
The President told reporters Mr Pence had agreed to be on his ticket in 2020.
“Mike, will you be my running mate?” Trump said, asking the Vice President, seated in the front row, to stand up.
The Vice President obliged.
“Will you?” Trump asked as Pence nodded and laughed.
Pence took his seat, laughing as press secretary Sarah Sanders patted him on the back.
Tuesday night saw historic victories for women and minorites.
A record number of women have been elected to the House of Representatives, nearly two years after women took to the streets across in protest over Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Voters are on track to send at least 99 women to the House, surpassing the previous record of 84.
This year 237 women ran for the house as major-party candidates.
Democratic candidate Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim woman to be elected to Congress after she was comfortably installed as representative of Michigan’s 13th District.
She was followed by the second Muslim woman to be elected to the chamber, Ilhan Omar, in Minnesota’s 5th District.
While Jared Polis became Colorado’s first openly gay governor.
Democrat Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman elected to Congress for Massachusetts.
While Democrats Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids made history as the first female native Americans heading to the US House of Representatives.