Tensions Flare (Again) Between White House and CNN Correspondent

Jim Acosta and Sarah Huckabee Sanders -Split-Getty- H 2017
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sarah Huckabee Sanders reportedly warned Jim Acosta about asking President Trump a question.

After a few months of relative peace in the press room, the relationship between White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta has devolved again this week.

During a press briefing Monday, the two sparred about Sanders' contention that journalists are knowingly reporting false information about her boss, President Donald Trump. At one point, Sanders refused to allow Acosta to ask another question, sparking an uncomfortable exchange.

Then, on Tuesday, Sanders warned Acosta against asking Trump a question during what's known as a "pool spray" covering the president's signing of a defense authorization bill.

"She said if I asked a question of Trump at the bill signing, 'I can't promise you will be allowed into a pool spray again,'" Acosta said on Twitter. Undeterred, Acosta asked Trump a question — about his Tuesday morning tweet on New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — which he waved off.

On CNN, Acosta told Wolf Blitzer that it was "a direct threat coming from the press secretary to me." He added: "We don't respond to threats. We're not going to be intimidated."

NBC News chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson backed up Acosta and said: "@POTUS doesn’t have to answer questions - but we can sure ask them." 

Acosta was an early foe of Trump, Sanders and her predecessor, Sean Spicer. He also had a memorable back-and-forth with White House adviser Stephen Miller in early August.

CNN, as part of an ongoing battle with the administration, defended evening anchor Don Lemon from a Trump attack in a statement on Monday.

Trump's tweet about Gillibrand, who called yesterday for the president's resignation, raised eyebrows for what some said was a sexual undertone. "Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office 'begging' for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump," he wrote. "Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!"

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, who has also been targeted by Trump on Twitter, called the president's attack on Gillibrand "reprehensible" and "disgusting." Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson also called Trump's tweet "despicable."

"There's no way that this is sexist at all," Sanders said during Tuesday's press briefing.

Requests for comment from Sanders and a CNN spokesperson were not returned.