Trump: Unmask ‘resistance’ writer

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — President Donald Trump declared Friday the U.S. Justice Department should investigate and unmask the author of a bitingly critical New York Times opinion piece purportedly written by a member of an administration “resistance” movement straining to thwart his most dangerous impulses.

Trump cited “national security” as the reason for such an extraordinary probe, and he called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to get it going. He also said he was exploring bringing legal action against the newspaper over publication of the essay two days earlier.

“Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security,” Trump said. If the person has a high-level security clearance, he said, “I don’t want him in those meetings.”

A White House official later said Trump’s call for a government investigation was an expression of his frustration with the essay, not an order for federal prosecutors to take action.

Though the article was strongly critical of Trump, no classified information appears to have been revealed by the author or leaked to the newspaper, which would be a crucial bar to clear before a leak investigation could be contemplated.

“The department does not confirm or deny investigations,” said Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman.