White House whodunnit: aides search for author of New York Times article

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"The intention is to damage the president, for everyone to think he's such a bad guy", said Sen.

Many GOP responses fit a familiar pattern of the Trump presidency, with Republicans rebuffing criticism of Trump to point to his record.

The bombshell op-ed was written by "a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure", according to the Times. The author said Trump was reluctant to take the action, but "his national security team knew better".

As striking as the essay was the long list of officials who plausibly could have been its author.

Trump has been very upset and vocal about the article.

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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In a parade of disavowals of the article, Pompeo said on a trip to India that he was not the author, while representatives for Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said they were not the authors either.

Both officials denied the quotes, and Trump retweeted their denials. "That person should be found out and stopped", Giuliani said.

Much has also been discussed about Trump's reaction to the article. And could a divided executive branch pose a danger to the country? I know the paper.

In the article, the anonymous writer slams the USA president, claims to be part of the "resistance" against Trump to "thwart" his "more misguided impulses", and even reveals that cabinet members once considered using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

"Americans should know there are adults in the room". "Yet at the same time, if you're having highly sensitive and classified meetings in the Oval Office and you have someone trying to resist those efforts, I think all of us would agree that it is highly unusual and perhaps the only time it has happened". The writer adds that Trump aides are aware of the president's faults and "we are trying to do what's right even when Donald Trump won't".

First lady Melania Trump issued a statement backing her husband.

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"Freedom of speech is an important pillar of our nation's founding principles and a free press is important to our democracy".

There has already been talk of an aggressive push within the White House to find out the identity of the sources Woodward relied on for his book, Fear: Trump in the White House. "Our office is above such amateur acts".

During a campaign appearance in Billings, Montana, Trump also praised Greg Gianforte, the Republican congressman who physically attacked the Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs previous year, as "a fighter and a winner".

The White House press secretary says the author of a "resistance" op-ed published by The New York Times is a "coward" who should "do the right thing and resign". "Anonymous, meaning gutless. A gutless editorial".

"They don't like Donald Trump and I don't like them because they're very dishonest people", the president told reporters.

"He's fought in more ways than one for your state", the president said of Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor assault after body-slamming Jacobs on the day before he was elected to the US Congress.

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The president responded in person on Wednesday shortly after the op-ed was published. "I have enough respect for the Times to believe that they wouldn't hold themselves up to that".