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Trump wants Attorney-General Jeff Sessions to investigate source of anonymous NYTimes op-ed
[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump said on Friday that he wanted Attorney-General Jeff Sessions to investigate the source of an anonymous op-ed essay published in The New York Times, intensifying his attack on an article he has characterised as an act of treason.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he travelled to Fargo, North Dakota, Mr Trump said, "I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it's national security."
Mr Trump said he was also considering action against The Times, though he did not elaborate.
The president has raged against the essay since The Times published it on Wednesday afternoon. His latest remarks indicate that he wants to use the Justice Department to root out the source of the op-ed, which described some administration officials in a state of near mutiny against a president they view as dangerous and untethered from reality.
"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.
A spokeswoman said that the Justice Department does not confirm or deny the existence of investigations.
While the president suggested that the anonymous writer was probably not a senior official, he said the person might nonetheless have a security clearance that allowed him or her to attend sensitive meetings on China, Russia or North Korea.
"I don't want him in those meetings," he said.
For all his criticism of the anonymous essay, Mr Trump was caught up in the same guessing game that has riveted much of Washington. He speculated that the source could not be very high-level because a long list of Cabinet members and other ranking officials had denied writing it.
The Times' editorial page department identified the writer as a "senior administration official".
Mr Trump said he was open to the idea of administering lie detector tests to members of his staff to determine the identity of the source. But he added, "Eventually the name of this sick person will come out."