Sanders: 'Sad' and 'pathetic' that anonymous op-ed author gets this much attention

Sanders: 'Sad' and 'pathetic' that anonymous op-ed author gets this much attention

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday blamed the press for fanning the flames surrounding the anonymously authored New York Times op-ed, calling it "sad" and "pathetic" that the piece is receiving "so much" attention from the media.

Sanders attacked the op-ed author during the White House press briefing as being "gutless," reiterating previous criticism of the unknown writer and doubling down on suggestions that the Justice Department investigate the matter.

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"It’s frankly sad and pathetic that a gutless, anonymous source could receive so much attention from the media," Sanders said in response to questions about the White House's reaction to the author identified by the Times only as a "senior administration official."

Sanders said the individual might pose a threat to national security if they have access to sensitive information, repeating an argument put forth by several White House advisers over the weekend.

"If that individual is in meetings where national security is being discussed or other topics, and they seek to undermine the executive branch, that would certainly be problematic and something that the Justice Department should look into," Sanders said.

"That’s for them to make the determination," she added later.

Sanders denied reports that White House advisers have considered using lie detectors in an effort to determine the author's identity.

"No lie detectors are being used, or talked about, or looked at as a possibility," Sanders said. "Frankly, the White House and the staff here are focused on doing our jobs … not dealing with cowards who refuse to put their names in an anonymous letter."

The White House for several days has pushed back on the anonymous author's explosive claim that there is a network of individuals in the administration who are seeking to stave off President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE's "worst inclinations."

The op-ed described a "two-track presidency" in which Trump's staff aims to undermine his proposals and regularly tries to protect the country from his "amorality."

Trump last week accused the author of "treason," while Sanders called for the individual to resign.

"He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people,” Sanders said in a statement following the op-ed's publication.