President Trump on Friday said he knows “four or five” people who could be the “senior official” behind a bombshell New York Times op-ed that has sparked an internal hunt for the official who penned it.
The op-ed, published Wednesday, describes a secret inside plot to protect the country from President Trump’s “misguided impulses” and said there were “early whispers” of a possible Cabinet coup to boot Trump out of office via the 25th Amendment.
“This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state,” the author claimed. “It’s the work of the steady state.”
While the author acknowledged the “bright spots” in the administration’s agenda, including deregulation and “historic tax reform,” the piece said that those victories came despite Trump’s leadership style — described as “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.”
In an interview with North Dakota television station KVLY on Friday, Trump was asked if he had an idea as to who wrote the piece. He was in Fargo to campaign for GOP Senate candidate Kevin Cramer.
“I could think of four or five, mostly people that either I don’t like or don’t respect,” he said. While he didn’t name names, he predicted that the identity would soon become public and said people think it’s “disgusting” the piece was published.
Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway told CNN in an interview that Trump believes it’s “somebody in national security” and said she doesn’t think it is a White House official.
Earlier Friday, Trump called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the identity of the op-ed, and also mulled taking action against the Times.
Trump, in an earlier interview with “Fox & Friends,” said the Times should not have even had the piece.
“It’s treason, you could call it a lot of things,” he said, repeating a statement he made on Twitter earlier this week.
But he went on to complain that the author’s anonymity made the article difficult to combat.
“What’s unfair, I don’t mind when they write a book and they make lies because it gets discredited,” he told Pete Hegseth, adding that it’s challenging “when somebody writes and you can’t discredit because you have no idea who they are.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.