There’s a lot of drama out of Washington today (and everyday, if we're honest) as the press and public alike reckon with the White House’s unprecedented decision to ban a CNN reporter from covering an event open to all accredited press on Wednesday.
A little hazy on the details? Scroll down below for a play-by-play of what exactly went down and why it’s such a big deal.
Here’s What Happened
On Tuesday afternoon, CNN White House reporter Kaitlan Collins was banned from covering a press event in the Rose Garden with Donald Trump and president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker after she was told that her questions at a meeting between the two earlier that day (where she was representing all television networks as the pool reporter), were “inappropriate.”
Trump did not answer any of the questions Collins posed.
What Did She Ask?
In a video clip from the meeting, Collins can be heard asking the President, “Did Michael Cohen betray you?,” “Do you worry about what Michael Cohen is going to say to prosecutors?,” “Are you worried about what is on the other tapes?,” and “Why has Vladimir Putin not accepted your invitation?”
Remind Me About Michael Cohen and These Tapes.
Cohen is Trump's former lawyer. In September 2016, he recorded a conversation between himself and the President in which they discussed a payment to silence a former playmate named Karen McDougal from speaking about her relationship with Trump. (More on that and how the National Enquirer was involved, here.) The tapes, which were found as a result of an FBI raid on Cohen's office in April, were released on Tuesday.
Who Made the Call and Why?
Newly appointed White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, Bill Shine (who was formerly the co-president of Fox News), and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, informed Collins that she had been “dis-invited from the press availability in the Rose Garden,” after explaining that her questions had been “inappropriate for that venue,” and alleging that she had been shouting.
What’s a “Network Pool Reporter”?
Due to the high demand of news coverage out of the White House, certain events require reporters to represent multiple outlets. Collins was one of such reporters during the meeting on Wednesday, and was representing not only CNN but all television networks. The event from which she was banned was open to all accredited press and was not operating on the pool rotation.
What Are People Saying About it?
The press is not pleased. Even CNN rival Fox News condemned the move in a statement, saying, “We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press."
Several members of the press, including Collins's co-workers, took to Twitter to express their grievances as well: