Trump calls for investigation of New York Times over op-ed 'treason'

Veteran reporter Bob Woodward is the latest writer to benefit from a leaky White House

Veteran reporter Bob Woodward is the latest writer to benefit from a leaky White House Credit AFP

A furious Trump responded by questioning whether the author even existed, and said that if the person does exist, the writer is "gutless" and must be outed for national security purposes.

They lined up to deny writing an incendiary New York Times opinion piece that was purportedly submitted by a member of an administration "resistance" movement straining to thwart Trump's most unsafe impulses.

Some of the guessing game over the authorship centred on whether the author worked in the White House or a federal agency.

A single mention of the word "lodestar" in the op-ed prompted theories that the senior official in question was Vice President Mike Pence, who used the term in previous speeches.

Sandra Smith then brought up the anonymous op-ed from a senior Trump administration official that sent shockwaves through the country this week.

He also says the timing of the op-ed's publication shouldn't be lost and encourages the President to stay focused on the midterm elections.

The official described a "two-track" presidency in which Trump says one thing and his staff consciously does another, for example with regard to what he called Trump's "preference for autocrats and dictators".

Some White House officials who agreed with the writer's points suggested the president's reaction actually confirmed the author's concerns.

On top of Mr Pence's comments, another senior White House appointee, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also fiercely denied writing the editorial, attacking the writer as a "disgruntled deceptive bad actor".

Both men denied involvement, while Coats, who as intelligence chief has at times been publicly at odds with Trump, said in a statement speculation that he or his deputy had written the op-ed were "patently false".

"The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going insane - & they don't know what to do", Trump wrote.

"They don't like Donald Trump and I don't like them", Trump said. "Our office is above such amateur acts".

Jodi Kantor, an investigative reporter with the New York Times, tweeted: 'So basically: Times reporters now must try to unearth the identity of an author that our colleagues in Opinion have sworn to protect with anonymity?

The official described a "resistance" inside the administration and said aides were working to thwart the president's decisions when they deemed them misguided or potentially harmful to the nation.

"But what was said in there is a reflection of what we hear from many Republicans around the country - not in Congress", she said.

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