White House hit with backlash over suspending press pass of CNN's Acosta

The White House on Wednesday faced swift backlash after it announced its suspension of CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials following an extended verbal confrontation between Acosta and President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE earlier that afternoon.

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In a statement Wednesday night, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed Acosta "[placed] his hands on" a young female White House intern who attempted to take a microphone from him.

“We will ... never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable," said Sanders. "As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice."

Acosta also took to Twitter to call Sanders's assertion that he put his hands on the intern, "a lie." 

Twitter users, including many journalists, were quick to challenge Sanders's claim that Acosta had touched the intern, slamming the White House's decision to yank the reporter's press credentials. 

CNN said in a statement that Acosta “has our full support” and backed up Acosta's statement that Sanders “lied” in her “fraudulent” explanation by citing an incident “that never happened.”