CNN Calls Jim Acosta's White House Suspension a "Threat to Our Democracy"

The network also accused press secretary Sarah Sanders of lying about the incident that led its chief White House correspondent's press access to be revoked.

CNN has weighed in on the White House's decision to suspend Jim Acosta after the network's chief White House correspondent clashed with Trump during a press briefing Wednesday.

"The White House announced tonight that it has revoked the press pass of CNN's chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. It was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today's press conference, In an explanation, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders lied," the network said in a statement on its PR Twitter account hours after the incident. "She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened. This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our support."

CNN Communications then provided a video of the incident "for the world to see," it wrote. 

The incident occurred during a White House press conference to discuss midterm election results. Before Acosta asked his second question, Trump told the reporter, "CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN. You're a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee Sanders is horrible. You shouldn't treat people that way."

After the two argued, a White House press aide attempted to take Acosta's microphone away, but Acosta held on. 

In an initial statement about the argument, CNN wrote, "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."

A few hours later, CNN president Jeff Zucker wrote in an email to CNN colleagues, "I want you to know that we have your backs."

"President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his administration," press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement about revoking Acosta's press access. "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."