"Does the so-called "senior administration official" really exist, or is it just the failing New York Times with another phony source?" the president twitter.
President Trump called the letter-writer "GUTLESS", blasting the New York Times for publishing an anonymous op-ed.
As Yashar Ali of New York Magazine noted, Trump officials have been known to purposely copy language of other senior staffers when leaking news in an effort to throw the paranoid president off their trail.
The column appeared as the White House already was fighting leaked details from the forthcoming Woodward book, Fear, that describes a dysfunctional White House in which the president is not respected by his staff and in which aides sometimes take clandestine action to keep the president from acting in ways that hurt the country.
The Partnership for Public Services tracks approximately 700 senior positions in government, ones that require Senate confirmation.
What's more, the author says that some in the administration have whispered about invoking the 25th Amendment, a constitutional provision that allows the vice-president and a majority of the Cabinet secretaries to vote to remove a president who is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office".
Trump responded to the op-ed in a previously scheduled White House meeting with sheriffs from across the country.
By email, by tweet and on camera, the denials paraded in from Cabinet-level officials - and even Vice President Mike Pence - apparently crafted for an audience of one, seated in the Oval Office.
"I really can not say".
Yes, the tone was prickly enough to make a cactus jealous ― and yes, it basically urged people to harass the New York Times opinion desk. "And I think it gets held against them in the biggest possible way. I am one of them". The press should be fair, unbiased and responsible.
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James Dao, the newspaper's op-ed editor, told the Times' podcast The Daily that the author contacted the paper through an intermediary.
As Trump flew to Billings, Montana, for a rally where he was likely to rip into the article, more of his top advisers joined the crowd denying any responsibility for its authorship.
"When you give someone anonymity on this, you are putting your credibility on the line", Marcus said.
Woodward says the 448-page book, set to be released next Tuesday, cites mostly anonymous sources.
"We all know Putin wrote the op-ed and the NYT claimed it's a senior Trump official because they think that's true", Ben Shapiro tweeted. "This means, this whole time, we've been dealing with the watered-down version of Trump?" he said.
News of the letter caught up with Pompeo in New Delhi, where he was traveling with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
The Post is far from the only newspaper with such a policy; unnamed op-ed columns are extremely rare.
In the piece, titled "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration", the author claimed to be part of a "resistance" working "from within" to "frustrate parts of [Trump's] agenda and his worst inclinations".
Like hundreds of other reporters in Washington, the Times' news staff is trying to find out the writer's name. Trump has demanded that aides identify the leaker, according to two people familiar with the matter, though it was not yet clear how they might go about doing so.