Nov 8, 2018

2. Trump uses CNN's Jim Acosta to act on longtime fantasy against media

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

Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post at the end of the month, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health