Leak hunting: The president and his insider critics


The president cited "national security" in an interview with reporters aboard Air Force One as he called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to open an investigation to unmask the author.

"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", Mr Trump said during a flight from Billings, Montana, to Fargo, North Dakota.

Woodward's is not the first unflattering investigation into Trump's White House, but it has been particularly resonant coming from the man who together with Carl Bernstein authored the Watergate expose that brought down Richard Nixon.

Mr Trump has been furious over the anonymous comment piece apparently written by a member of his administration, which appeared in the "New York Times" on Wednesday, depicting a "resistance" force within the White House.

"For somebody to do this is very low, and I think, journalistically and from many different standpoints, and maybe even from the standpoint of national security, we'll find out about that", said Trump.

A book by investigative journalist Bob Woodward and an incendiary unsigned article in The New York Times by a senior member of Trump's administration have sparked yet another crisis for the White House, prompting the president to hit back in characteristic style.

The explosive article also claimed that there were early whispers within the Trump cabinet "to invoke the 25th Amendment", prompted by the president's apparent "instability".

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Meanwhile, a number of senior officials have denied being the anonymous writer, including vice president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, defence secretary Jim Mattis and director of national intelligence Dan Coats.

Ryan said he isn't anxious about President Donald Trump's public threats or inclinations toward shutting down the government in an effort to secure funding for his border wall.

"I think so", he told reporters.

"I know. I am one of them".

"I mean, that is really remarkable", he said, before joking: "And I have to say, I'm surprised by how good a writer Ivanka is".

Trump had threatened to sue the Times when he was running for president in October 2016 because of its story about allegations of sexual assault against women. Trump was then asked whether action should be taken against the Times.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the writer an "anonymous coward" and a "gutless loser" who is "recklessly tarnishing the reputation of thousands of great Americans who proudly serve our country and work for President Trump".

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Whoever wrote the op-ed shouldn't be able to attend meetings that require an upper-level security clearance, Trump added.

To set an investigation into motion, the White House counsel's office would normally contact the Justice Department.

"He is offering $50,000 cash to information that will lead to the identification and termination of the New York Times "anonymous" author", Kirk wrote on Twitter.

Obama told students they were coming of age during a remarkable divisive time in United States history, but he contended Trump is a "symptom" not the "cause" of the problem.

In the piece, the author, whose identity the Times is withholding, wrote "I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations".

Trump has openly criticised and ridiculed Sessions for recusing himself from the Russian Federation probe, but the attorney general has embraced Trump's views on most other law enforcement issues, including leaks from inside government.

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