Sanders shared the video late Wednesday night in an attempt to justify the White House's decision to revoke CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press credentials after he sparred with Trump. "This conduct is absolutely unacceptable", is, however, the explanation given by Sanders.
"It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter's colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question", Sanders stated. "While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it", CNN added.
A White House aide immediately approached Acosta and unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from him, Efe news reported. When the president attempted to go to another journalist, Acosta refused to surrender the microphone, and pressed on with a question about Mueller's ongoing investigation. But in the original video, Acosta's arm appears to move only as a response to a tussle for the microphone.
So, as the president said that the question was racist, and I - he was literally having white nationalists at the White House. Acosta rudely rebuffed the poor woman, moving the mic away from her as if they were playing high stakes keep-away.
"Only they would attack the president for not supporting a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters over the course of 1.5 hours including several from the reporter in question", the press secretary said.
"Secret Service just informed me I can not enter the grounds for my 8 pm hit", Acosta tweeted Wednesday evening.
"Pardon me, ma'am", he said.
The White House, meanwhile, said it stands by its decision.
In another video of the encounter tweeted by Sarah Burris, an editor at the left-leaning political blog Raw Story, the footage has been slowed down and annotated to show the four times the White House intern touches Acosta while trying to take the microphone.
Mr Acosta tweeted that Ms Sanders's statement that he put his hands on the aide was "a lie". Those were reporters working with CNN, NBC, other networks. "We stand by our statement". "And it's just unfortunate that the White House is saying this", Acosta said. The way you treat Sarah Sanders is disgusting.
"Well, when you report fake news - no, when you report fake news, which CNN does a lot - you are the enemy of the people", a fuming Trump said before wandering away from the podium again.
Acosta, however, disputed the account and called it a "lie".
As more clashes with reporters followed, Trump, exasperated but energised, summed up what is sure to be repeated at the rallies where chants of "CNN sucks!" have become a favorite chorus.