CNN’s Kaitlan Collins was attending a press conference held by Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday when she and a number of other journalists brought up the topics during the customary Q&A session at the end.
It was then announced both men would be available later in the Rose Garden to answer more questions, but Collins was instead summoned to the office of deputy chief of staff Bill Shine.
He and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders then informed her she was disinvited from the event due to her “inappropriate” questions.
But according to other journalists present there was nothing that set Collins’ questioning apart from the other reporters present - HuffPost’s Ryan Reilly is on tape asking exactly the same thing.
Even Fox News President Jay Wallace called out the decision, saying the broadcaster “stands firmly” with CNN.
Sanders later tried to clarify the situation, claiming that Collins was banned from the later event because she shouted and refused to leave the Oval Office.
Again, this was disputed by those present. CBS News’ Steven Portnoy said Collins “was no less willing to leave” the office than “any other member of the larger-than-usual press contingent”.
And Bloomberg reporter Toluse Olorunnipa, who was also at the event, accused Sanders of lying about Collins’ behaviour.
Sanders also said: “To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House.”
But the move has been seen as just the opposite, with a number of journalists and commentators interpreting it as an attack on the free press.
CNN said in a statement: “Just because the White House is uncomfortable with a question regarding the news of the day doesn’t mean the question isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be asked.
“This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press.
“We demand better.”
According to CNN, Collins asked Trump questions about Michael Cohen, his former attorney who is under federal investigation and whose secret recording of Trump was recently released.
She also asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom the Trump administration planned to invite to Washington DC in the autumn, before pushing back the meeting.