NYT blasts Trump's call for DOJ to investigate anonymous op-ed

NYT blasts Trump's call for DOJ to investigate anonymous op-ed
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The New York Times came out swinging Friday against President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE’s call for the Department of Justice to investigate the identity of the anonymous senior administration official who published a blistering op-ed critical of the president in the paper.

"We're confident that the Department of Justice understands that the First Amendment protects all American citizens and that it would not participate in such a blatant abuse of government power," The New York Times said in a statement. 

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"The president's threats both underscore why we must safeguard the identity of the writer of this Op-Ed and serve as a reminder of the importance of a free and independent press to American democracy,” it added. 

The Times released the statement after Trump said that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight The Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war MORE should investigate who wrote the op-ed.

“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,” Trump told reporters Friday on Air Force One.

Washington has buzzed with speculation about the author’s identity since the op-ed was published Wednesday.

A cascade of statements were released by administration officials who denied they were the writer of the op-ed that called Trump amoral and “anti-Democratic” and detailed efforts by officials to thwart his “misguided impulses.”

“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,” the official wrote. “Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.” 

Response to the op-ed was fast and furious, with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calling on the anonymous “coward” to resign and Trump labeling the official as “gutless” and suggesting the op-ed was an act of treason.

“You look at this horrible thing that took place, is it subversion, is it treason?" Trump asked during a campaign-style rally Thursday in Montana.