Trump wants Sessions to investigate op-ed writer

The president told reporters the New York Times opinion piece critical of his leadership is a national security issue.

Donald Trump (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
Donald Trump (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)

Donald Trump says attorney general Jeff Sessions should investigate the identity of the author of an anonymous New York Times opinion piece.

The president said in an interview with reporters aboard Air Force One that the opinion piece critical of his leadership is a “national security” issue.

Asked if he would take any action against the Times, he said: “We’re going to see, I’m looking at that right now.

“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.”

Mr Trump said if the author had a high-level security clearance, “I don’t want him in those meetings”.

His top lieutenants have taken turns stepping forward to declare they were not the person behind the article, claimed to be a senior US government official and part of a “resistance” working to restrain the president’s most dangerous impulses.

By email, by tweet and on camera, the denials over the anonymous column came from cabinet-level officials, all the way up to the office of vice president Mike Pence.

Senior staff in key US national security and economic policy roles charged the article’s writer with cowardice, disloyalty and acting against America’s interests in harsh terms that mimicked the president’s own words.

Mr Trump was incensed over the column, and called 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.

He ordered aides to unmask the writer, and issued an extraordinary demand that the newspaper should reveal the author’s identity to the government.

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