Trump wants investigation into anonymous New York Times opinion piece

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks from the White House

"Whereas right now we're talking about the substance of what's in the op-ed", he said.

Trump tweeted, "Does the so-called "Senior Administration Official" really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source?"

Aboard Air Force One on Friday, President Donald Trump escalated his calls to identify the anonymous administration official who wrote the op-ed in The New York Times criticizing the President, telling reporters that the Department of Justice should investigate who wrote it.

"It should not be a partisan issue to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use the criminal justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents", added Mr Obama. "Journalistically and many different standpoints, and maybe even from the standpoint of national security, we'll find out about that", he continued.

"But it didn't accomplish anything, because Trump's base could care less, the president could care less".

Produced by Howard Goldenthal, Willow Smith and John Chipman.

They lined up to deny writing an incendiary New York Times opinion piece that was purportedly submitted by a member of an administration "resistance" movement straining to thwart Trump's most risky impulses.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told reporters Thursday that he thinks any White House employee with a security clearance should undergo a lie detector test to determine who wrote it.

The FBI and Justice Department are responsible for investigating federal crimes, but there is no indication of anything illegal having been done in the publication of a newspaper opinion piece critical of the president.

The official described a "two-track" presidency in which Trump says one thing and his staff consciously does another, for example with regard to what he called Trump's "preference for autocrats and dictators".

"People are suggesting it", Trump said Friday, steering clear of explicitly endorsing the proposal.

He also said the Times should publish the author's identity "for the sake of our national security".

The official said that early on in the administration, some officials quietly discussed invoking the 25th amendment of the US Constitution, which allows the removal of a president judged unable to perform his duties.

Mr Obama has previously held back from openly criticising President Trump.

"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.

"The vice president - that was my first thought", she said. Even liberals that hate me say: "that's awful what they did".

The op-ed is only the latest suggestion that the dysfunction that's characterized the Trump administration since day one may be getting worse.

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