Trump: Sessions should investigate NYT op-ed

President Donald Trump said he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate and uncover the identity of the senior administration official who penned an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times this week. CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports.

Posted: Sep 9, 2018 2:20 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2018 2:38 PM

Aides to President Donald Trump believe they have the search for the anonymous author of the New York Times op-ed that shook the political world down to a few individuals, a source close to the White House told CNN on Friday.

Trump is still "obsessed" with finding the person, though he is being counseled by White House chief of staff John Kelly to let it pass, to avoid bringing more attention to the claims in the op-ed. The opinion piece was written by an anonymous senior administration official alleging an internal resistance to the President in his own administration.

CNN is not aware of the identity of the individuals White House aides have zeroed in on. In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Trump believes the individual is someone from the national security sector of the government.

The op-ed published Wednesday afternoon, just a day after excerpts from veteran journalist Bob Woodward's new book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," were published. The book passages published in The Washington Post and by CNN showed a White House consumed by chaos and disarray, including stories of aides insulting Trump behind his back and going so far as to steal documents off his desk in order to keep him from signing them.

The anonymous writer of the op-ed said the resistance inside Trump's administration is not the same as the resistance from the political left. The author wrote that the resistance inside the government wants "the administration to succeed ... But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic."

"That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office."

The author also wrote that the "root of the problem is the President's amorality" and assails Trump's "reckless decisions," "erratic behavior" and what the official describes as the President's "impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective" leadership style.

More than 25 high-ranking Trump administration officials have come out publicly denying having penned the op-ed, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Following the op-ed's release, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted: "The media's wild obsession with the identity of the anonymous coward is recklessly tarnishing the reputation of thousands of great Americans who proudly serve our country and work for President Trump. Stop."

CNN previously reported that White House aides were struggling Thursday morning to get ahead of the op-ed as the Cabinet and other top officials were releasing their own statements, according to an administration official. The official said the White House "wanted a more coordinated response."

"Didn't seem very organized," the official said, describing the process.

Before a campaign rally Thursday night, Trump said the New York Times' decision to publish the op-ed could be called "treason." He's also slammed the op-ed as "gutless" and the person who wrote it as "really a disgrace."

On Friday, Trump said he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate and uncover the identity of the individual who authored the opinion piece.

"Yeah, I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of this piece was because I really believe it's national security," Trump told reporters Friday aboard Air Force One.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores previously declined to comment on the matter, saying "we do not confirm or deny investigations."

Trump is also fuming that White House deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine has mishandled the messaging on the Woodward book. The President believes the rapid response to the book has been handled poorly and he blames Shine for that.

Trump is telling allies, "We should get Hope back here," referring to former White House communications director Hope Hicks.

This story has been updated.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 926931

Reported Deaths: 9740
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1809132056
Ramsey749811054
Dakota68505591
Anoka64961589
Washington41119367
Stearns34021287
St. Louis29939416
Scott26281188
Wright26260226
Olmsted22677131
Sherburne19206130
Carver1687671
Clay12219108
Blue Earth1162171
Rice11578139
Crow Wing11318124
Chisago1005281
Kandiyohi9913108
Otter Tail9908130
Benton9174128
Beltrami8249100
Goodhue822699
Douglas7967101
Itasca779999
Mower740049
McLeod723384
Winona715158
Isanti711085
Steele695034
Morrison678681
Becker631675
Polk608987
Freeborn569947
Carlton552577
Mille Lacs539479
Lyon532961
Nicollet528561
Nobles527954
Pine521143
Cass505255
Todd496443
Brown473661
Le Sueur464736
Meeker437960
Martin391344
Waseca381433
Wabasha380110
Dodge366412
Hubbard357649
Roseau320532
Fillmore310115
Wadena306040
Redwood283845
Houston275317
Renville271651
Faribault261835
Sibley256017
Pennington254830
Kanabec254437
Cottonwood232933
Aitkin225052
Chippewa222043
Pope209910
Watonwan201121
Yellow Medicine189925
Koochiching179225
Rock178429
Swift174124
Stevens170211
Jackson162016
Clearwater159421
Marshall154822
Murray152911
Pipestone150929
Lake134124
Lac qui Parle124425
Wilkin122016
Mahnomen108314
Norman10579
Grant102410
Big Stone9585
Lincoln8915
Kittson74623
Red Lake71810
Traverse6086
Unassigned563124
Lake of the Woods5285
Cook3141

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 532160

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk81677809
Linn32838430
Scott27126295
Black Hawk22334382
Woodbury20736263
Johnson20150108
Dubuque18996243
Pottawattamie16215214
Dallas15573115
Story1398059
Warren8637107
Cerro Gordo8141125
Clinton7928115
Webster7419124
Des Moines7153106
Marshall675494
Muscatine6717117
Wapello6546145
Unassigned64520
Jasper630591
Sioux622477
Lee5977106
Marion567697
Buena Vista503449
Plymouth493388
Henry427155
Benton414760
Jones413564
Bremer403873
Boone397042
Washington395464
Carroll373355
Mahaska372366
Crawford355647
Jackson324047
Dickinson317555
Buchanan312743
Delaware303255
Clay297636
Kossuth293477
Fayette290356
Hardin289253
Tama282878
Page276133
Wright270050
Cedar269527
Winneshiek267744
Hamilton262757
Floyd261049
Clayton252360
Poweshiek242043
Harrison240979
Madison237425
Butler237346
Cass235667
Iowa234336
Jefferson228544
Mills225330
Hancock222840
Winnebago222339
Cherokee217347
Appanoose210157
Lyon209842
Allamakee209456
Calhoun199519
Shelby199542
Union197141
Humboldt188231
Franklin188031
Grundy186137
Chickasaw184522
Mitchell184343
Emmet180146
Louisa178653
Sac175626
Guthrie169338
Clarke163629
Montgomery163146
Keokuk152639
Palo Alto152332
Howard150624
Monroe144340
Ida134141
Greene128818
Davis126825
Lucas126127
Monona124940
Worth12309
Pocahontas122125
Adair118239
Osceola105718
Decatur104813
Taylor100914
Fremont98913
Van Buren95922
Wayne86125
Ringgold78429
Audubon77617
Adams5869
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