Panicked White House shuts off cameras, shuts out major news outlets from briefing


On the heels of collusion between the White House and the FBI, Donald Trump's press shop took the highly unusual step of canceling an on-camera briefing, then excluding major news organizations from the off-camera press gaggle that occurred in its place.

Donald Trump's administration has been caught attempting to collude with the FBI to quash a story about the Trump campaign's communications with Russia, and they have escalated their response to include a press blackout. At noon on Friday, the following update was made to the White House's daily press schedule (via email from The White House):

UPDATE: The President will now sign the Executive Order at 12:00PM in the Oval Office. The President will now tape his Weekly Address at 4:00PM in the Oval Office. The gaggle with Press Secretary Sean Spicer will now be expanded pool and off-camera at 1:30PM.

Spicer was initially scheduled to hold an on-camera briefing at 1:15, which was open to all members of the press. As it turns out, though, the White House's definition of an "expanded pool" actually means hand-picking outlets that exclude longstanding members of the White House press pool:

CNN is reporting that in addition to those organizations that were excluded, organizations like The Associated Press and Time Magazine are boycotting the briefing, as well. Reaction by journalists was swift and blistering:

As Peter Baker noted, this kind of move is completely unprecedented, and is a sure sign of a White House that is in crisis mode, and that thinks it can get away with anything. The resistance they have been encountering says otherwise, and they have just added most of the White House press corps to that resistance.