Trump wants Sessions to investigate NYT op-ed

President Donald Trump said he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate and uncover the identity of the senior administration official who penned an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times.

Posted: Sep 9, 2018 12:45 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2018 1:11 PM

President Donald Trump said Friday he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate and uncover the identity of the senior administration official who penned an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times this week.

"Yeah, I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of this piece was because I really believe it's national security," Trump told reporters Friday aboard Air Force One.

Trump has railed in recent days about the publication of the anonymous op-ed, calling its author "gutless" and a "coward" while suggesting the op-ed could damage national security. Now, it appears Trump is taking this a step further and calling for a criminal investigation, though there is no indication the author violated any laws.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment on the mater, saying "we do not confirm or deny investigations."

Neither Trump nor the White House has identified a specific crime that has been committed.

The New York Times responded: "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 Justice Department typically only investigates leaks that involve classified information, which does not appear to be the case with The New York Times op-ed.

Asked whether any legal action would be taken against The New York Times, Trump demurred: "Well, we're going to see."

Trump has been enraged by the publication of the op-ed, directing White House aides to work to uncover the identity of the unnamed senior administration official who painted a withering portrait of a president whose reckless decisions must be contained by aides around him.

Trump has fumed about the anonymous op-ed privately and publicly, including during a rally in Montana on Thursday night, when he again raised the notion that the op-ed presents a national security threat.

Trump on Friday argued the column presents a national security concern because this person still is in the government and shouldn't be attending high-level meetings.

"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 said. "Suppose I have a high level national security and he has got a clearance -- we talk about clearances a lot recently -- and he goes into a high-level meeting concerning China or Russia or North Korea or something and this guy goes in. I don't want him in those meetings."

Trump insisted he was not merely upset about the opinion piece because of the unsparing criticism directed at him, but said the anonymity prevents him from fighting back.

"I don't mind criticism, I handle it and I fight back," he said, calling The New York Times' publication of the piece "disgraceful." "But here's criticism where you can't fight back. 'Cause you have somebody doing it anonymously."

Trump and Sessions

Trump's call for Sessions to launch an investigation into the publication of the anonymous op-ed comes as his relationship with his attorney general remains in turmoil.

But sources familiar with Sessions' thinking say he has come to terms with the fact that his relationship with Trump won't end well one way or the other.

When Trump first started attacking Sessions last year, Sessions told allies he was going to keep his head down and continue leading the Justice Department. As the broadsides continued, he doubled down, expressing to his inner circle that Trump would have to fire him because he had no intention of quitting.

But now, Sessions has readily conceded that the circumstances between himself and the President have worsened in recent weeks, two people familiar with his thinking told CNN -- though Sessions has not signaled to confidants he's considering resigning.

The two men rarely if ever speak one on one, and people have overheard Sessions joking that he checks Trump's Twitter for updates.

Sessions is prepared for whatever outcome awaits him -- including being fired.

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 44°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 45°
Huntsville/Madison
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 45°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 42°
Fort Payne
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 50°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 426543

Reported Deaths: 6126
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62752920
Mobile30551554
Madison27303186
Tuscaloosa20835267
Montgomery19192305
Shelby18693114
Baldwin16513183
Lee12603101
Morgan12321113
Etowah11805168
Calhoun11206200
Marshall10236107
Houston8681148
Cullman8094105
Limestone807474
Elmore7923101
DeKalb771597
Lauderdale763183
St. Clair7599120
Talladega6224108
Walker5930174
Jackson583741
Colbert535473
Blount532083
Autauga522755
Coffee446256
Dale399781
Franklin368148
Chilton337865
Russell335910
Covington330168
Escambia321342
Dallas305196
Chambers288669
Clarke283133
Tallapoosa2630107
Pike251329
Marion247350
Lawrence245247
Winston229035
Bibb217047
Geneva203335
Marengo200829
Pickens196931
Hale177442
Barbour173836
Fayette171226
Butler170758
Cherokee160930
Henry155021
Monroe147317
Randolph141535
Washington138326
Clay127045
Crenshaw120244
Cleburne118423
Lamar118419
Macon116835
Lowndes111535
Wilcox103621
Bullock99728
Perry98219
Conecuh95120
Sumter89526
Greene76223
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 690065

Reported Deaths: 8471
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby767471128
Davidson71148672
Knox38985408
Hamilton34813329
Rutherford33298287
Unassigned22950127
Williamson21507140
Sumner18322232
Out of TN1618380
Wilson14511158
Montgomery14507149
Sullivan12634211
Blount12029126
Washington11949192
Maury11003123
Bradley1083891
Sevier10534108
Putnam9968140
Madison9163179
Robertson766685
Hamblen7018109
Anderson6818104
Greene6615108
Tipton622665
Gibson5656111
Coffee564882
Cumberland542173
Dickson540479
Bedford532889
Roane522979
Carter5115114
Lawrence511469
McMinn510073
Warren500053
Loudon497450
Jefferson480875
Dyer477282
Monroe459462
Hawkins448170
Franklin413062
Obion400580
Fayette399351
Rhea382856
Lincoln379844
Marshall346336
Cocke345656
Weakley341248
Cheatham338130
Henderson333857
Campbell325840
Giles323072
Carroll312759
White311743
Hardeman310452
Hardin298947
Lauderdale294331
Macon289350
Wayne262219
Henry261958
Overton254643
DeKalb242741
McNairy241042
Haywood240645
Smith231727
Marion229231
Trousdale228914
Scott226231
Hickman224934
Claiborne215929
Fentress213231
Grainger209636
Johnson202232
Morgan189815
Crockett180938
Bledsoe174910
Chester174837
Unicoi167944
Cannon158119
Lake156019
Decatur147726
Polk143817
Union139923
Grundy139321
Sequatchie137618
Humphreys133517
Benton132435
Lewis127720
Meigs114916
Stewart105820
Jackson104322
Perry94825
Clay94026
Houston93922
Moore8089
Pickett68020
Van Buren6637
Hancock4056

Community Events