CNN Says White House Banned One of Its Reporters for Asking ‘Inappropriate’ Questions

Melanie Arter | July 26, 2018 | 10:39am EDT
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CNN Correspondent Kaitlan Collins (Screenshot)

( - CNN is crying foul after one of its White House correspondents was denied access to a White House event with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

“Today, CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins was denied access to cover an open press event at The White House. After posing questions to President Trump earlier in the day as the network pool reporter, Collins was told by White House deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Sanders that her questions were ‘inappropriate.’ They were not. Just because the White House is uncomfortable with a question regarding the news of day doesn’t mean the question isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be asked,” the network said in a statement.

“This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better,” it added.

According to CNN, Collins shouted questions about a secret audio recording made by Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen during Trump's meeting with Juncker.

"Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?" Collins asked. She repeated the question, then asked "Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is about to say to the prosecutors? Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?"

According to the White House, Collins was banned from the upcoming Rose Garden event, because she refused to leave the earlier event but the network itself was not banned.

“At the conclusion of a press event in the Oval Office a reporter shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

“Subsequently, our staff informed her she was not welcome to participate in the next event, but made clear that any other journalist from her network could attend. She said it didn’t matter to her because she hadn’t planned to be there anyway. To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House,” Sanders added.

“As a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access,” Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier said on "Special Report" on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, White House Correspondents Association President Olivier Knox issued a statement about the incident, saying, “We strongly condemn the White House's misguided and inappropriate decision today to bar one of our members from an open press event after she asked questions they did not like. This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak. It cannot stand.

“Reporters asking questions of powerful government officials, up to and including the President, helps hold those people accountable. In our republic, the WHCA supports the prerogative of all reporters to do their jobs without fear of reprisal from the government,” Knox added.

Fox News also expressed support for CNN on the issue of access to the president.

“We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press," Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement.

During "Special Report” on Wednesday, Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier said, “As a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access.”

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