The White House is promoting an apparently doctored InfoWars video to support a false claim that CNN reporter Jim Acosta placed his hands on a young female intern during a contentious exchange in a press conference with President Trump Wednesday.
The video was first circulated by the conspiracy-theory booster and InfoWars editor Paul Joseph Watson before it was shared by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Twitter.
The doctored clip appears to be sped up to make it look like Acosta forcefully raised his hand at the intern, bringing it down on the crook of her arm as she tried to physically take away the microphone he was holding. In reality, network video from the press conference shows Acosta already had his arm in the air, pointing at the president, when the intern lunged at him to grab his mic.
The White House did not respond to a VICE News request for comment. Watson, whose outlet, InfoWars, was banned from several social media sites for spreading false information, denies the video was edited. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Watson claimed the only difference to the video was a zoom and posited that any speeding-up effect was caused by digitally processing the clip into a GIF.
But the video was not the only misinformation spread by the White House following the heated press conference, where the president sparred with several other reporters besides Acosta. In a pair of tweets, Sanders also falsely accused Acosta of putting his hands on the young woman.
At the time, Acosta was asking Trump about the his use of the word “invasion” in describing a caravan of Central American refugees slowly approaching the U.S. southern border. Trump called Acosta “rude” and a “terrible person.” The White House has since suspended Acosta’s press pass, which allows him access to White House grounds.