President Trump embraced claims that there’s a so-called ‘deep state’ within the government that has its own agenda that runs contrary to his as he raged against the anonymous federal official behind a stinging New York Times op-ed.
‘The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do,’ he charged.’The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!’
Trump seemed to be referring to a push for him to declassify documents associated with an FBI warrant to spy on a campaign associate suspected of working with the Russian government to interfere in the election.
Republicans say the warrant, a redacted version of which the court released in an unprecedented disclosure, was based on fraudulent information, including the dossier of dirt that a former British spy compiled against Trump.
Some Republicans have alleged that a ‘deep state’ within the law enforcement and national security arms of the American government are working to undermine Trump.
The person known only to the Times who wrote a Wednesday op-ed reinforced the notion.
‘It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.’
The writer said: ‘This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.’
Trump said in Wednesday rant on Twitter that he believes the admissions in the op-ed rise to the level of treason.
The hunt was on for the senior official behind the anonymous New York Times op-ed on Wednesday that labeled Trump ‘amoral’ as the president demanded the paper name the author for ‘national security reasons.’
Top White House aides cancelled meetings to come up with a list of roughly a dozen people they suspect of writing the incendiary piece, according to
As officials launched the fight back, Trump announced on Twitter he was ‘draining the Swamp’ but ‘the Swamp is fighting back’. ‘Don’t worry, we will win!’ he added. The president reacted to the column with ‘volcanic anger’ and was ‘absolutely livid’ at what he considered an act of treason, two sources told the Post.
Earlier, he unleashed a blistering attack on the New York Times and questioned whether the senior White House official behind an anonymous op-ed published Wednesday really exists.
‘Does the so-called ‘Senior Administration Official’ really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source?’ Trump tweeted hours after the newspaper published a brutal opinion essay that the newspaper said was written by one of his senior-level appointees.
‘If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!’
An hour earlier Trump tweeted a single word: ‘TREASON?’
A mysterious senior aide to President Donald Trump attacked him anonymously in The New York Times on Wednesday, and the president shoved back in a tirade about the newspaper’s veil of secrecy and the aide who betrayed him
As officials launched the fight back, Trump announced on Twitter he was ‘draining the Swamp’ but ‘the Swamp is fighting back’. ‘Don’t worry, we will win!’ he added
Trump unleashed a blistering Twitter and questioned whether the senior White House official behind an anonymous op-ed really exists
The president tweeted a single word to sum up his leanings about the essay
The Times wrote that ‘he’ – identifying the author as male – is part of a White House resistance movement whose goal is to subvert the president’s worst impulses in order to save the country
The op-ed describes the president as ‘impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective’ in the way he manages the government, and says the author is part of an organized ‘resistance’ whose goal is ‘to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting [President] Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.’
During a White House event with a group of sheriffs, Trump called the op-ed ‘gutless’ and suggested the writer is ‘probably… failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons.’
Lynne Patton, a HUD official and former Trump party planner, claimed on Instagram that the leak will easily be found.
‘It’s hardly breaking news to anyone with half a brain that ‘Never Trumpers’ have been employed within our walls from the outset,’ she wrote. ‘And yes, we know who they ALL are, including this author.’
Separately, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the essay was ‘pathetic, reckless, and selfish’ and challenged the Times to ‘issue an apology.’
‘This is just another example of the liberal media’s concerted effort to discredit the President,’ she said.
Sanders said the unidentified writer chose ‘to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States. He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.’
But Trump focused equally on the ‘dishonest media’ – specifically the Times, a paper he claims is ‘failing’ despite its steady growth in subscribers since he took office.
‘The New York Times is failing. If I weren’t here, I believe The New York Times probably wouldn’t even exist,’ he said, later adding: ‘They don’t like Donald Trump and I don’t like them because they’re very dishonest people.’
The Times described Wednesday’s move as ‘rare,’ leaving open the possibility that its editorial board has masked the names of op-ed writers in the past.
The identity of the mystery scribe, Washington’s new ‘Deep Throat,’ will become the stuff of cocktail party chatter and Twitterati sleuths for weeks.
But in a tweet the Times described the person as a male, saying ‘he and others’ are working together behind the scenes of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
A Times spokeswoman later told
‘Senior opinion editors know the identity of the official, as we pointed out in our editor’s note,’ Danielle Ha said in an email. ‘The tweet was drafted by someone who is not aware of the author’s identity, including the gender, so the use of ‘he’ was an error.’
‘Lodestar,’ a word Vice President Mike Pence is fond of using in speeches and on television, appeared in the mysterious op-ed, leading some to conclude he wrote it; but a senior White House official said hi and his office were not under suspicion
Online chatter Wednesday quickly focused on Vice President Mike Pence as armchair language analysts focused on one line describing the late Sen. John McCain as ‘a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.’
That word – lodestar – is a favorite of the vice president. But a senior White House official told DailyMail.com that suspicion is not focused on him or anyone in his office following a frank discussion among the VP’s senior staff.
The official suspects ‘lodestar’ was purposely included in the op-ed to throw journalists off the scent.
In an online introduction, the Times says the author’s ‘identity is known to us’ and the person’s ‘job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.’
The essay describes a ‘quiet resistance’ that by its nature has remained secret but isn’t designed to bring Trump down – only to curb his worst impulses.
‘Ours is not the popular ‘resistance’ of the left,’ the author writes. ‘We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.’
‘But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.’
So rather than risk the invocation of the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, the prescribed route for removing a president, he boasts that ‘we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until – one way or another – it’s over.’
The guessing game s afoot, and every male Trump appointee is a suspect
The Times took pains to keep the author’s name a secret but its social media staff eliminated half the population with the word ‘he’
Highlights: The most searing quotes in Bob Woodward’s book
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT TRUMP:
JOHN KELLY, CHIEF OF STAFF: ‘He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.’
JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: ‘Fifth- or sixth-grader’
REX TILLERSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: ‘He’s a f***ing moron.’
JOHN DOWN, FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY: ‘F***ing liar.’
JOHN DOWD ON HOW TRANSCRIPT OF A MUELLER INTERVIEW WOULD BE DESCRIBED BY FOREIGN LEADERS: ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?’
GARY COHN, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: ‘A professional liar’
ROB PORTER, FORMER STAFF SECRETARY WHO QUIT WHEN BOTH EX-WIVES ACCUSED HIM OF ABUSE: ‘A third of my job was trying to react to some of the really dangerous ideas that he had and try to give him reasons to believe that maybe they weren’t such good ideas.’
WHAT THEY SAID TO EACH OTHER:
STEVE BANNON TO IVANKA TRUMP: ‘You’re nothing but a f***ing staffer! You walk around this place and act like you’re on charge, and you’re not. You’re on staff!’
IVANKA TRUMP TO STEVE BANNON: ‘I’m not a staffer! I’ll never be a staffer. I’m the first daughter and I’m never going to be a staffer!’
JOHN KELLY TO GARY COHN: ‘If that was me, I would have taken that resignation letter and shoved it up his a** six different times.’
DOWD TO ROBERT MUELLER: ‘He just made something up. That’s his nature.’
WHAT TRUMP SAID ABOUT THEM:
BARACK OBAMA: ‘Weak d**k’
RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL ATTORNEY: ‘Rudy, you’re a baby. I’ve never seen a worse defense of me in my life. They took your diaper off right there. You’re like a little baby that needed to be changed. When are you going to be a man?’
WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: ‘I don’t trust you. I don’t want you doing any more negotiations. You’re past your prime.’
H.R McMASTER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: ‘Dresses like a beer salesman.’
REINCE PRIEBUS, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF: ‘Like a little rat. He just scurries around.’
AFTER EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT FATAH AL-SISSI ASKED IF HE WAS GOING TO BE AROUND: ‘Like a kick in the nuts.’
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIAN DICTATOR: ‘Let’s f***ing kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the f***ing lot of them.’
The nameless internal Trump critic bashes the president’s ‘amorality,’ and claims he has no ‘first principles that guide his decision making’ and no affinity for typical Republican ideals.
And Trump’s ‘impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective’ management style, the writer claims, has brought disaster most of the time – and most Cabinet officials ‘are working to insulate their operations from his whims.’
‘Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back,’ he continues.
The West Wing has been buffeted from one incoming missile to the next in recent days; the biggest recent salvo has been journalist Bob Woodward’s book ‘Fear,’ which caught the Trump administration flat-footed when excerpts first emerged Tuesday.
That book, too, reveals at least one episode of a senior Trump adviser going behind his back to prevent him from making a catastrophic mistake.
Former chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, Woodward writes, once tried to prevent a trade disaster when Trump asked for paperwork pulling the U.S. out of a bilateral agreement with South Korea.
He ‘stole a letter off Trump’s desk,’ Woodward writes, specifically to prevent the president from signing it. And Cohn told others he did it ‘to protect the country’.
The president has branded Woodward’s book a ‘fraud’ and a work of fiction.
WHAT DOES THE 25TH AMENDMENT SAY? CAN TRUMP’S CABINET REALLY TOPPLE HIM?
The anonymous senior Trump administration official behind a
That section of the U.S. Constitution deals with presidential authority in the event of death or removal from office, and was ratified in 1967.
What does the 25th Amendment say?
The first of four sections states that the vice president takes over the Oval office if the president dies or resigns – or is removed – something which the original Constitution did not clearly state.
Presidents can be removed by impeachment or through the 25th Amendment, which the Constitution’s framers included as aless dishonorable way of discharging a gravely ill chief executive.
Section II states that if the vice president dies or resigns – or is fired – both the House and Senate have to confirm a new vice president, whose only real constitutional duty is to serve as president of the Senate.
Section III makes clear that the a president can temporarily delegate his powers to the vice president, and later reclaim them when he is capable of serving. This is most often invoked if a president is under the influence of surgical anaesthetic for a short period of time.
Section IV is featured in the op-ed, and is the amendment’s most controversial part.
It describes how the president can be removed from office if he is incapacitated and does not leave on his own.
The vice president and ‘a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ must write to both the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, saying that ‘the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’
Practically speaking, this means at least eight of the president’s 15 most senior Cabinet members, together with the vice president, must agree that a president should be removed before any plan can move forward.
Notifying the House Speaker and the Senate president pro tempore is the act that immediately elevates the vice president to an ‘acting president’ role.
The deposed president can contest the claim, giving the leaders of the bloodless coup four days to re-assert their claims to the House and Senate.
Congress then has two days to convene – unless it is already in session – and another 21 days to vote on whether the president is incapable of serving. A two-thirds majority in both houses is required to make that determination.
If Congress can’t reach that threshold within 21 days, the president regains his powers. If it can, his powers go back to the vide president and he is dismissed from office.
What could happen to trigger the 25th Amendment?
Vice President Mike Pence and eight of the 15 ‘principal’ Cabinet members would have to agree to notify Congress that President Donald Trump was incapable of running the country.
That group inludes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Their formal notification would go to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who holds the title ‘president pro tempore’ as the Senate’s most senior member. As soon as the letter is sent, Pence would become ‘acting president.’
What if Trump does not agree?
If Trump claims he iscapable of holding office, he would write to Hatch and Ryan within four days, setting up three weeks of intense debate in both houses of Congress.
Trumpn would be removed from office if both two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate agreed with Pence and his cabal. If either of both chambers fell short of that mark, Trump would retain his powers and likely embark on a wholesale housecleaning, firing Pence and replacing disloyal Cabinet members.
Are there any loopholes?
The 25th Amendment allows Congress to appoint its own panel of experts to evaluate the president instead of relying on the Cabinet – the men and women who work most closely with Trump – to decide on acourse of action.
It specfies that some ‘other body as Congress may by law provide’ could play that role, but Pence would still need to agree with any finding that the president is incapable of discharging his duties.
If Democrats were to take over both the House and Senate, they could create such a panel with simple majority votes.
That commission could hypothetically include anyone from presidential historians to psychiatrists, entrusted to assess the president’s fitness for office.
Could Trump fire Pence if he rebelled?
Yes, in principle. If Trump smelled a whiff of trouble – if Pence and a panel assembled by Congress seemed ready to judge him incapacitated – he could dismiss his vice president with the stroke of a pen to stop the process.
But installing a more loyal VP could be problematic since the 25th Amendment includes its own poison pill: Both houses of Congress must vote to approve a new vice president.
That means Trump would find himself up against the same Congress that started the ball rolling, unless the process were to unfold in the weeks before a new Congress is seated on January 3, 2018.
Theoretically, a Democrat-controlled Congress could make life dramatically more difficult for the president if it came into power in the midst of the constitutional crisis.
One scenario has appeared to stump presidnetial historians, however: Firing Pence before the process is underway, and then leaving the vice presidency vacant, would give Congress no practical way forward.
Is there any precedent for this?
No. Only Section III, the voluntary surrender of presidential powers, has ever been given serious consideration,
In December 1978, President Jimmy Carter thought about invoking Section III when he was contemplating a surgical procedure to remove hemorrhoids. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all considered it during their terms in office, but none did.
Section IV has also never been invoked, although there have been claims that White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan told his successor, Howard Baker, in 1987 that he should be prepared to invoke it because President Ronald Reagan was inattentive and inept.
The PBS documentary ‘American Experience’ recounts how Baker and his team watched Reagan closely for signs of incapacity during their first meeting and decided he was in perfect command of himself.