A White House spokeswoman on Thursday claimed that a video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta that was shared by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had not been altered, directly contradicting White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, who previously confirmed that it was.
While speaking to Washington Post reporter Robert Costa at the paper’s “A New Era of Women in Politics” event, Mercedes Schlapp, White House director of strategic communications, said the video tweeted by Sanders was not edited.
“The tape was not sped up,” Schlapp said.
“It showed that Jim Acosta basically pushed her arm away,” she continued. “It was just an unfortunate incident. And again, we’re not going to be tolerating the bad behavior.”
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” last week, Conway acknowledged that the tape had indeed been “sped up.”
When Fox News host Chris Wallace asked her why Sanders had tweeted the “clearly altered” video clip, Conway downplayed the editing while contradicting herself.
“That’s not altered. That’s sped up,” Conway replied. “They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or a touchdown.”
“I have to disagree with the overwrought description of this video being doctored as if we put someone else’s arm in there,” she added.
President Donald Trump also defended the video and denied that it had been edited, despite multiple analyses that suggest it was altered to show a sped-up version of Acosta’s movements as the intern approached him.
“No one manipulated it, give me a break,” Trump told reporters outside the White House last week.
While Sanders has not disclosed where she obtained the video she tweeted last week, many people said it was identical to a 15-minute video clip shared by a contributor for the conspiracy theory site Infowars.
Acosta and Trump sparred during a post-midterm press conference at the White House last week. During the heated exchange, Acosta moved away when an intern tried to take away his microphone.
After the press conference, the White House revoked Acosta’s press credentials, citing his behavior towards Trump and the intern.
On Tuesday, CNN sued the Trump administration, claiming that the White House violated Acosta’s constitutional rights to free speech and due process by barring Acosta from reporting from the White House. A ruling is expected on Friday.