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White House seeks Times op-ed probe

The White House has asked the Justice Department to consider identifying and prosecuting the author of an anonymous New York Times op-ed that described a cabal of Trump aides who seek to thwart parts of the president’s agenda, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.

She declined to say whether the White House believes the author of the op-ed, published last week, committed a crime. It would be “problematic” if the author had participated in meetings on national security issues, she said.

“It’s [up to] the Department of Justice to make that determination and we’re asking them to look into it and make that determination and they certainly are fully capable of doing that,” Sanders said. “But someone actively trying to undermine the duly elected president and the entire executive branch of government — that seems quite problematic to me and it’s something that they should take a look at.”

There’s no indication the White House is making any significant effort of its own to unearth the author. Sanders said officials aren’t considering interviewing suspects with lie detectors, and White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said earlier Monday she wasn’t involved in any effort to find the writer and didn’t answer when asked if anyone at the White House was trying to identify the person.

“Frankly, the White House and the staff here are focused on doing our jobs and trying to show up here every day and do what we can to help better the American people, not deal with cowards that refuse to put their names in an anonymous letter,” Sanders said.

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