Administration

Pence suggests there is legal basis for investigating identity of anonymous op-ed writer

Vice President Pence on Sunday suggested there may be a legal basis for investigating the identity of the anonymous writer of a New York Times op-ed claiming to be part of the "resistance" against President Trump within the administration.

Pence said on "Fox News Sunday" that "we'll find out if there was criminal activity involved." His comments came after Trump last week said the Department of Justice should investigate the anonymous administration official's identity.

"I think the president's concern is that this individual may have responsibilities in the area of national security," Pence said. "And if they've now published an anonymous editorial that says that they are misrepresenting themselves - that they are essentially living a lie within this administration and trying to frustrate and subvert the agenda the president was elected to advance, that's an important issue."

"Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace pushed back against Pence, saying that the op-ed was "certainly troubling," but that "it's not illegal."

Pence argued that "there's another part of it," and noted that senior administration officials make an oath to the Constitution before taking office.

"The Constitution of the United States vests all executive power in the president of the United States," he said. "To have an individual who took that oath literally say that they work every day to frustrate the president advancing the agenda he was elected to advance is undemocratic. It's not just deceitful. It's really an assault on our democracy."

Trump last week said that "it's national security" when asked if Attorney General Jeff Sessions should investigate who wrote the op-ed.

The anonymous official bashed the president's "amorality" in the op-ed and praised the work of "unsung heroes" who push back against him, describing coordinated efforts among Trump administration staff.

The Times described the author as "a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure."

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