The Nation reporter forcibly removed from Trump–Putin press conference
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.
Journalistic solidarity needed more than ever to confront a WH that considers media the enemy of the people, and relentlessly attacks accountability media in order to delegitimize checks on its abuses, corruption.— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) July 16, 2018
Just got out of detention. I was held for a time by Finnish authorities at Presidential Palace and then manhandled and cuffed on hands and legs to detention facility. They wouldn’t call my family to tell them I was unharmed. Thanks for well wishes from many good folks. More soon. https://t.co/bEke39ZVb4— Sam Husseini (@samhusseini) July 16, 2018
On March 26, Husseini announced on Twitter that he had received a letter from the Finnish police clearing the officers involved of any wrongdoing:
Oh, look. I just got a 15 page letter from the Finish police absolving themselves of any wrongdoing in dragging me out of the Presidential Palace just before the Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki in July.... pic.twitter.com/fzWEQ286a4— Sam Husseini (@samhusseini) March 26, 2019