Trump wants Sessions to investigate op-ed writer

US President Donald Trump

But the GOP lawmakers upset with the op-ed did not particularly care for its content.

The identity of the senior official who wrote the op-ed has not been made public.

The President recently referred to the op-ed piece as a "disgrace", saying the New York Times stooped "very low" by publishing the anonymous author.

But most have lashed out at the fact it was published in the first place - not the content of what was written.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to head off reporters' inquiries of Trump officials, tweeting that the questions should be aimed at the Times, which she said was "complicit in this deceitful act".

Internet sleuths had identified Pence as a suspect because the piece uses the term "lodestar", one of the vice president's favorite words.

President Donald Trump speaks to the press aboard Air Force One Friday as he travels to Fargo, North Dakota, to speak at a Joint Fundraising Committee.

While Woodward does not name his sources, he says he spoke with many people now or formerly working for Trump, discussing not just the president's personality but also major policy debates regarding North Korea and Afghanistan.

US President Donald Trump reacts as he speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One on his way to Fargo North Dakota US
US President Donald Trump reacts as he speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One on his way to Fargo North Dakota US

"It's a person obviously who is living in dishonesty", Ryan said. "So if you're not interested in helping the president, then you shouldn't work for the president as far as I'm concerned". Some who agreed with the writer's points suggested the president's reaction actually confirmed the author's concerns. That would be a good scoop!' he said. "A wounded lion is a very unsafe animal, and I think Donald Trump is wounded". I would know. I am one of them.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told TMZ the op-ed was "certainly troubling", but that the "phenomenon is nothing new" for individuals who try to undermine Republican presidents from within the U.S. government.

Democrats were quick to condemn the president's call for a federal investigation.

'And it's really bad and it's really risky, ' he said. "It's never been this many partisans deeply within the machinery of government, fighting to try to prevent what we're trying to accomplish". "I'm looking at that right now".

White House officials did not respond to requests to elaborate on Trump's call for the writer to be turned over to the government or on the unsupported national security grounds of his demand.

It is not exactly clear what could be done to find out who the author is as it relates to congressional authority.

Trump was incensed about the column, calling around to confidants to vent about the author, solicit guesses as to his or her identity and fume that a "deep state" within the administration was conspiring against him.

Trump had threatened to sue the Times when he was running for president in October 2016 because of its story about allegations of sexual assault against women. There was no surefire way to know, and that only deepened the president's frustrations.

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