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 2:38 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116617

Reported Deaths: 3283
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7987178
DeSoto713479
Harrison527284
Jackson462285
Rankin398286
Madison383794
Lee360080
Forrest306978
Jones295784
Washington259299
Lafayette251343
Lauderdale2485135
Lamar227138
Oktibbeha202854
Bolivar201977
Neshoba1854111
Lowndes180262
Panola170240
Leflore168787
Sunflower163449
Warren155156
Monroe152173
Pontotoc147920
Marshall145329
Lincoln141157
Pike139256
Copiah138136
Scott125729
Coahoma125437
Grenada122639
Yazoo122634
Simpson121749
Union119225
Tate117739
Leake115242
Holmes114960
Itawamba114825
Pearl River114560
Adams108944
Prentiss106920
Wayne102022
Alcorn101112
George99919
Covington97927
Marion95443
Tippah91323
Newton86927
Chickasaw85726
Hancock85028
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84421
Tishomingo81641
Attala79726
Clarke76151
Clay70021
Jasper69117
Walthall64027
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59917
Smith59616
Montgomery55223
Yalobusha54914
Claiborne53816
Tunica53517
Lawrence52514
Perry49823
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47714
Humphreys44916
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41211
Webster37613
Benton3456
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32715
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27710
Franklin2463
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23443377
Mobile16934315
Tuscaloosa10414140
Montgomery10298197
Madison939496
Shelby743663
Baldwin669469
Lee655065
Calhoun462161
Marshall441150
Etowah431251
Morgan418235
Houston418034
DeKalb346129
Elmore322753
St. Clair299942
Limestone289330
Walker282392
Talladega267435
Cullman250824
Lauderdale231342
Jackson217515
Autauga207431
Franklin206131
Colbert204132
Russell19533
Blount194225
Chilton189332
Dallas187227
Coffee179511
Dale177251
Covington175529
Escambia173030
Clarke135317
Chambers135244
Pike134413
Tallapoosa133087
Marion109729
Barbour10339
Marengo102522
Butler101340
Winston93713
Geneva9167
Lawrence86132
Pickens86018
Bibb84314
Randolph82916
Hale77730
Clay74912
Washington74912
Cherokee74514
Henry7196
Lowndes71428
Bullock64917
Monroe64810
Crenshaw60930
Perry5936
Fayette58413
Cleburne5738
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56113
Macon53720
Lamar5065
Sumter47321
Choctaw39212
Greene34616
Coosa2053
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