Top aides scurry to disavow NYTimes opinion piece, Trump jets to rally

Diplomacy       Bob Woodward’s White House expose just made the India-US talks more interesting
       	        Jyoti Malhotra         5 September 2018

Republican senators said Thursday that a nameless Trump administration official's op-ed criticizing the president would backfire by emboldening Trump and proving to his strong supporters that the establishment is seeking to stop his agenda.

Woodward says the 448-page book, set to be released next Tuesday, cites mostly anonymous sources.

Some of the guessing game over the authorship centred on whether the author worked in the White House or a federal agency.

"And this person instead, according to the New York Times, chose not only to stay but to undermine what President Trump and this administration are trying to do". I can only imagine the conversations at the New York Times about publishing such a thing. Unidentified sources have become the majority of voices people hear about in today's news.

Trump reacted with fury to the anonymous account, published by the New York Times on Wednesday, which was written by a current Trump administration official and claimed an internal White House coalition is working to frustrate "his worst inclinations" until he leaves - or can be removed from - office.

Only the opinion editor of The New York Times knows the identity of the writer, who approached him through an intermediary, the newspaper said. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's spokesman, Tony Sayegh, said on Twitter it was "laughable to think this could come from the secretary".

In the column, the author presents a damning assessment of the Trump presidency and suggests there is a network of officials working behind the scenes to protect the nation from Trump.

"If you want to know who this gutless loser is, call the opinion desk of the failing NYT".

Vice President Mike Pence (C) and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listen as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House in Washington.

In a blistering statement, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused the author of choosing to "deceive" the president by remaining in the administration.

Trump called the piece a "gutless editorial" and referred to the Times as a "failing" outlet.

"TREASON?" Trump asked in a furious volley of tweets. Ben Sasse of Nebraska - a frequent critic of the president - said the views in the op-ed were "not surprising".

Sesno said the Times' credibility is on the line "if this person turns out to be a window-washer somewhere".

Coming on the heels of a new book by the journalist Bob Woodward, which paints an apocalyptic image of the Trump administration, makes it "very timely" and "helps focus the public conversation" on the appropriate role of government officials, Greenberg said. "He always knows where I stand, and he and I both know this story is total BS".

In the piece entitled "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration", the author says that "many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office".

The book claims that after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered chemical weapons to be used against civilians in April of a year ago, Trump called Mattis and said he wanted to assassinate Assad.

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