WASHINGTON—Responding to criticism that she had engaged in misleading behavior, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a flat denial Thursday that she had shared doctored footage portraying CNN reporter Jim Acosta in clown makeup blowing up Gotham Hospital. “President Trump expects and even demands difficult questions from journalists, but for Acosta to infiltrate a hospital dressed as a nurse in order to plant explosives is simply beyond the pale,” said Sanders of the clip, which shows the White House correspondent standing outside pressing a remote detonator several times as a hospital explodes in the background. “This is clear evidence that Acosta has shirked his journalistic responsibility by murdering scores of Gotham citizens, and it’s even more outrageous given his track record of unhinged actions, including lighting a pile of money on fire with a cigar and robbing a bank at gunpoint with several masked accomplices. Banning Acosta from the press room is the only reasonable response for these clear lapses in judgment.” At press time, CNN had responded by holding a panel discussion featuring experts arguing over whether Sanders’ denial represented an effective strategy for the Trump administration.

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