CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta made his debut back in the briefing room on Tuesday and started off sparing with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders.
Sanders, who hadn’t held a briefing in weeks, took questions from reporters after Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, and National Security Adviser John Bolton took the podium.
Sanders eventually called on Acosta, who asked if the President would recommend that his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, should cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller going forward.
Acosta’s questioning got intense – though not as intense as the post-midterm elections incident with President Donald Trump – as Acosta asked why President Trump doesn’t have faith in his advisers, invoking the president’s skepticism toward a recent government climate change report and the CIA’s report regarding Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in Washington Post opinion columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.
Sanders responded saying “That’s not accurate,” as Acosta listed examples. He continued to question Sanders but was met with pushback.
“That’s not true. The president has a great deal of faith in the intelligence community and, certainly, in the team he has assembled around him,” Sanders said before Acosta disagreed.
“We haven’t seen definitive evidence come from our intelligence community that ties [the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia] directly to that,” said Sanders.
Acosta’s “hard pass,” was suspended after engaging in a heated back-and-forth with Trump during a Nov. 7 press conference.
Acosta’s press pass was returned on Nov. 19 after CNN won a temporary injunction against the government, arguing that keeping him out of the White House violated the network and Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights under the constitution.