White House narrows search for anonymous op-ed writer

Trump was incensed over the column and called confidants to solicit guesses as to his or her identity

Sen. Rand Paul is said to have suggested to Trump that he make his officials take a lie-detector test to root out the dissenter, while others close to the president are considering making senior officials sign sworn affidavits that could be used in court, The Times reported.

US President Donald Trump on Friday urged his attorney general to investigate the anonymous author of a damning op-ed, escalating his long-running battles with both the media and leaks from the White House.

Trump also called the Times op-ed publication a "disgrace", CNBC reports, adding that "for somebody to do this is very low, and I think, journalistically and from many different standpoints, and maybe even from the standpoint of national security".

Trump also took aim at a book by investigative journalist Bob Woodward which, like the incendiary unsigned piece in The New York Times, offered a damning portrayal of the inner workings of his administration, sparking yet another White House crisis and putting the president on the defensive. They can say something about you - now when we find out that this is a failed person in so many different ways you can fight it back very easily.

Pence's remarks were responding to claims made in an anonymous op-ed published by The New York Times this week.

Though the article was strongly critical of Trump, no classified information appears to have been revealed by the author or leaked to the newspaper, which would be a crucial bar to clear before a leak investigation could be contemplated.

We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure.

Experts said it was unlikely the Justice Department would have sound legal grounds to get involved over a hunt for the op-ed author, unless the person was a member of the military, who are forbidden to undermine or defame the commander-in-chief.

US District Judge Randolph Moss sentenced foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos to 14 days in prison, acknowledging his guilty plea and his remorse, but noting that he "lied in an investigation that was important to national security".

"I know. I am one of them".

"I do, I do, " he said. While he didn't name names, he predicted that the identity would be become public and said people think it's "disgusting" the piece would be published.

The president went as far as to claim he is looking at whether the Times should be punished for publishing the anonymous piece. The moves to enforce criminal laws were hurting the GOP heading into November's midterm election, he said.

It's a well-oiled machine.

FILE - President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions attend the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony in Quantico, Va., Dec. 15, 2017. Victor told the Federal Bureau of Investigation she mailed the document to an online news outlet.

"Given the heightened nature of the attention we are receiving right now, we've modified the level of our security", the paper's management told employees.

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