U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

The Nation reporter forcibly removed from Trump–Putin press conference

Incident Details

Date of Incident
July 16, 2018
Helsinki, Finland


Was the journalist targeted?

Denial of Access

Government agency or public official involved
Type of denial
Government event
March 26, 2019 - Update

Letter sent to Husseini

On March 26, Husseini announced on Twitter that he had received a letter from the Finnish police clearing the officers involved of any wrongdoing:

July 16, 2018

Sam Husseini, an op-ed reporter for The Nation, was forcibly removed from a press briefing between President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018.

Husseini is the communications director of the nonprofit Institute for Public Accuracy, which connects reporters with progressive experts as alternative sources. He was attending the presser as an accredited member of the press, reporting on behalf of The Nation magazine.

NBC reports that two men approached Husseini just before the press conference began and asked him to leave the press room. He later returned to the press room to collect his things.

According to CNN, when Husseini returned to the press room, journalists asked him what had happened, and he said that he had been taken for questioning because he was carrying a piece of paper on which he’d written the words, “Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty” — an issue he planned to ask about during the press conference. The Russian authorities considered the sign a “malicious item.”

“I want to ask a question,” Husseini said, holding up the sign so other reporters could see it.

As Husseini showed off the sign, a security official tried to grab it out of his hand. When Husseini did not hand the sign over, more security officers grabbed him and forcibly escorted him out of the press room. One security official removed his glasses, and others grabbed and forcibly removed him.

The Nation condemned Husseini’s removal from the press conference.

“At a time when this administration consistently denigrates the media, we’re troubled by reports that he was forcibly removed from the press conference before the two leaders began to take questions,” Caitlin Graf, The Nation’s vice president of communications, said in a statement.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].