After all the accusations on live TV of being a “rude, terrible person” by Donald Trump and legal fireworks to get his White House press credentials back, Jim Acosta was front and center today in the briefing room like the whole drama never happened.

Even when listing off a litany of issues and asking whether Trump doesn’t “have faith in his advisors?”, the CNN correspondent could not get a significant rise out of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the first White House briefing in several weeks and the first since Acosta’s press badge was yanked on November 7. (The credentials were restored on November 19).

Called on directly by Sanders mid-way through the briefing, Acosta not only got in a question on the legal woes of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, but a trio of follow ups. That seems in contradiction to the “rules and regulations for conduct” the White House is drafting.

Besides the benign encounter between the CNN reporter and Sanders, the presser proper also touched on more issues of Manafort and if a pardon is in the making, the investigation by Robert Mueller and the ex-FBI Director continuing in his job. The wide-ranging briefing also touched on the horrendous tear-gassing at the Southern border, the upcoming G20 summit, the status of Julian Assange and possible 2016 meetings with Manafort, as well as today’s special Senate election in Mississippi, where Trump held rallies yesterday.

Sanders refused to comment on reports that CIA Director Gina Haspel and other senior intelligence officials are being banned from going before Congress this week to discuss the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey by Saudi operatives.

Questions about profitable General Motors laying off thousands of employees at plants in the U.S. were deflected by Sanders today. However, at the same time as his press secretary was trying to bring the temperature around the pink slipping down, Trump himself took a typically much more threatening stance on social media to scorch the car maker:

Right after today’s presser, Acosta himself told fellow CNNer Brooke Baldwin that he thought “the President upstaging his own Press Secretary with that announcement on General Motors that he might be pulling back on their subsidies” was the biggest takeaway of the event – and that happened out of the room.”

In today’s briefing, the anticipated Sanders and Acosta routine was actually the closing act.

As the Trump team has done in the past when they knew the media was in battle mode, the administration rolled out senior officials to talk at length about matters like trade. In this case it was a stand-up routine from former CNBC host and now National Economic Council director Larry Kudrow followed by National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Both were queried on Trump’s transactional decision to side with Saudi Arabia and differ with the CIA and others over the Kingdom’s apparent killing of Khashoggi. Former U.N. Ambassador Bolton pushed back that one reason for Trump’s call on the bloody matter was the audio tape of the murder of the journalist that Turkey has provided, a tape Bolton hasn’t listen to because “I don’t speak Arabic.”

Having been shunted out of some events for Trump’s trip to France earlier this month to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Acosta is expected now to have full access for the G20 summit in Argentina later this week.