The Trump administration and many in the media are trying to figure out the identity of "Anonymous", a person we're told is a senior member of the White House staff who wrote an unprecedented op-ed piece portraying Trump as a danger to the nation.
Trump later tweeted, "TREASON?" and in an extraordinary move demanded that if "the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for national security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!"
What's more, the author says that some in the administration have whispered about invoking the 25th Amendment, a constitutional provision that allows the vice-president and a majority of the Cabinet secretaries to vote to remove a president who is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office". And they were published a day after the release of details from an explosive new book by longtime journalist Bob Woodward that laid bare concerns among the highest echelon of Trump aides about the president's judgment.
Trump was asked about the piece on Wednesday following an event at the White House.
White House aides searching for the "senior administration official" who wrote the controversial opinion piece are said to have narrowed it down to a handful of names.
Senior aides, some of whom have also been denying episodes from Woodward's book this week, lined up to disavow authorship of the piece, known as an op-ed for its place in the opinion section.
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In a New York Times editorial, the author said President Trump's "amorality" and "impulsiveness" had led to ill-informed and reckless decisions.
In a blistering statement, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused the author of choosing to "deceive" the president by remaining in the administration.
"When somebody writes and you can't discredit because you have no idea who they are", Trump said.
While chief of staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis made a show of denouncing the damaging remarks attributed to them earlier this week, some former officials, like Cohn, have remained silent.
With such a wide circle of potential suspicion, Trump's men and women felt they had no choice but to speak out.
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An unnamed senior Trump official has said members of the administration are working to frustrate parts of the president's agenda to protect the country from his "worst inclinations".
Trump responded to the op-ed in a previously scheduled White House meeting with sheriffs from across the country. Since the New York Times op-ed appeared, Pence, in particular, has been a favorite possibility of many online because both he and the anonymous writer have used the unusual word "lodestar" in the past.
#NYTimesOpEd was among top-trending hashtags on Twitter.
"When he was super frustrated about the leaks, he would rail about the "snakes" in the White House", said the source.
Isn't it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost.
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UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters she was not the author.