Calling the piece a “national-security” issue, President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate who wrote the anonymous New York Times op-ed about resistance efforts inside Trump’s administration. When questioned whether he would take action against the Times, Trump said, “We’re going to see, I’m looking at that right now.” He also said that if the op-ed writer has a high-level security clearance, “I don’t want him in those meetings.” The Times responded in a statement Friday afternoon: “We’re confident that the Department of Justice understands that the First Amendment protects all American citizens and that it would not participate in such a blatant abuse of government power. The president’s threats both underscore why we must safeguard the identity of the writer of this Op-Ed and serve as a reminder of the importance of a free and independent press to American democracy.”
The president has previously tweeted: “If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!” In the opinion piece published Wednesday, someone identified as a “senior official in the Trump administration” called Trump’s leadership style “impetuous, adversarial, petty, and ineffective,” and said there were “whispers within the cabinet” of using the 25th Amendment to remove him. The editorial has led to much speculation about the identity of its author. Numerous officials have denied having any involvement.