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Whodunit? Denials from Key Officials Pour in as Hunt for Anonymous NYT Op-Ed Writer Begins

09-07-2018
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WASHINGTON – Everyone, including President Donald Trump, wants to know who wrote the bombshell op-ed published by the New York Times.

On Friday, the president called for the Justice Department to look into the matter.

“We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about, also where he is right now,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I think it is national security. I would say Jeff (Sessions) should be investigating who the author of that piece is because I really believe it is national security.”

He also vented about the op-ed at a campaign rally in Montana Thursday night.

"For the sake of our national security, the New York Times should publish his name at once. I think their reporters should go and investigate who it is," Trump told the crowd. "That would actually be a good scoop."

In the op-ed, the unnamed administration official claims there's "quiet resistance within the administration" and that many "are working diligently from within to frustrate the President's agenda and his worst inclinations."

The White House reportedly has a list of about 12 suspects.

Meanwhile, denials from key administration officials pour in. 

"Anyone who would write an anonymous editorial smearing this President, who's provided extraordinary leadership for this country, should not be working for this administration," Vice President Mike Pence told reporters. "They ought to do the honorable thing and they ought to resign." 

Among others, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also deny writing the piece. 

"I come from a place where if you're not in a position to execute the commander's intent, you have a singular option. That is to leave," Pompeo said at a news conference. 

First lady Melania Trump also blasted the anonymous writer. 

"To the writer of the op-ed – you are not protecting this country; you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions," she wrote in a statement to CNN. 

Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo believes there's a simple way to get to the bottom of it. 

"Look at the departments of your government, Mr. President. Find the departments that have purged all Trump supporters from those departments," Caputo told CBN News. "That's where you'll find this culprit."

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. 

"It's designed to depress the turnout of the President's base so that the Democrats will win the House of Representatives. In the end, this op-ed is about impeachment," said Caputo.

Amid the reaction, a lot of ideas are being thrown out, including one from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who suggests the President force administration officials to take lie detector tests.

"We use a lie detector test routinely for CIA agents and FBI agents. I think if you have a security clearance in the White House, I think it would be acceptable to use a lie detector test and ask people whether they are talking to the media against the policy of the White House," Paul reasoned.

"This could be very dangerous if the person who is talking to the media is actually revealing national security secrets," he added. "So, yes, I think we need to get to the bottom of it."

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