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Sources with direct knowledge say that since the earliest days of his presidency, Trump has mused about revoking press credentials for reporters who infuriate him. But press staff have often successfully counseled him against doing so, telling him it would only elevate the reporter involved and would result in damaging stories about him cracking down on press freedom.

Driving the news: Yesterday, Trump went ahead and did it anyway, with Sarah Sanders announcing that the White House had removed the "hard pass" of CNN’s Jim Acosta, who had tangled with Trump at his midday press conference.

Be smart: Despite the White House accusing Acosta of "placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern" when she was taking a microphone from him at the presser, the video clearly shows Acosta didn’t do anything physically threatening to the intern.

  • The video tweeted by the White House apparently is edited to shift speeds of footage where Acosta and the staffer make contact, possibly making his gesture look more aggressive.

As Trump made clear in his interview with "Axios on HBO," he has no interest in de-escalating his fights with the press, because he thinks it works for him politically and his crowds demand it.

  • But until now it had all been rhetoric. This is the first time the Trump White House has revoked the credentials of a mainstream reporter.

The reaction from White House reporters made it clear that a new line had been crossed:

  • The N.Y. Times' Peter Baker called the White House explanation a "[f]alse predicate to punish a reporter. This is what the president wants. If he really thought @acosta was unfair, then why did he call on him? Because he wants the confrontation."
  • Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, said the group "strongly objects to the Trump Administration’s decision to use US Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan discussed Saudi-Israel normalization with MBS

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg and Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised normalization with Israel during his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three U.S. and Arab sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia would be the biggest regional player to sign onto the "Abraham Accords" peace agreement with Israel, and such a major breakthrough would likely convince other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.

Tech's leaky world

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech companies are learning what everyone in Washington already knows: Leaks of confidential info are inevitable, and "plumbing" operations to close them rarely work.

Why it matters: Most tech firms talk up the power of transparency but prefer to keep details of their operations secret from competitors and the public. Researchers, regulators and the media are increasingly relying on information provided by dissident employees and whistleblowers to see inside companies' workings.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Harris wants more union membership in fed workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a virtual town hall with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Oct. 14. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will today announce new guidelines to encourage federal workers to join unions, according to a White House official.

Why it matters: The Biden administration wants to bolster the collective bargaining power of workers across the country – and they are starting at home, with changes in the federal workforce.