President Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the New York Times Friday afternoon in order to find out which "senior administration official" wrote an anonymous op-ed published in the paper earlier this week. Trump is arguing it is essential to U.S. national security to find out who the author is.
"It’s a disgrace that somebody can do that. I think it’s more disgraceful that the New York Times would do it. That somebody is allowed to do that is very sad commentary," Trump said onboard Air Force One. "It doesn’t seem to be anybody very high up because everybody very high up has already said it wasn’t me. It would be very hard if it was, if they got caught."
"For somebody to do that is very low. Journalistically and many different standpoints, and maybe even from the standpoint of national security, we’ll find out about that," he continued. "It’s national security. I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security."
During a campaign rally in Billings, Montana Thursday night, Trump addressed the issue.
"It's [publication of the op-ed] virtually treason," Trump said.
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called the author of the op-ed "gutless" and demanded the author resign.
“Nearly 62 million people voted for President Donald J. Trump in 2016, earning him 306 Electoral College votes – versus 232 for his opponent. None of them voted for a gutless, anonymous source to the failing New York Times. We are disappointed, but not surprised, that the paper chose to publish this pathetic, reckless, and selfish op-ed. This is a new low for the so-called 'paper of record,' and it should issue an apology, just as it did after the election for its disastrous coverage of the Trump campaign. This is just another example of the liberal media’s concerted effort to discredit the President," Sanders said.
"President Trump has laid out a bold and ambitious agenda. Every day since taking office, he has fulfilled the promises he made. His accomplishments in less than two years have been astounding," she continued. "The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States. He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”
The Justice Department will not confirm or deny whether an investigation has been launched.