Trump Speculates About Author Of 'Unfair' NYT Op-Ed
While President Trump campaigns for Republicans in the Midwest, he continues to refute two accounts that similarly portray a White House in chaos, with aides steadily working against his desires.
The question of whether he'll talk with the special counsel has been the subject of conflicting reporting, but asked directly in about whether he'll answer any of Robert Mueller's questions, the president demurred.
During an interview with Fox News' Pete Hegseth, Mr. Trump again referred to the anonymous New York Times op-ed that detailed a silent resistance in his White House as "treason," and he speculated about the identity of the person who wrote it.
"It's treason, you could call it a lot of things," he said, in the interview that aired on "Fox & Friends" Friday morning. The president is frustrated by the anonymity of the author, who wrote that there is a "quiet resistance" to the president within his own administration "working diligently" to block his "worst inclinations."
"What's unfair, I don't mind when they write a book and they make lies because it gets discredited," Mr. Trump said, but it's more difficult "when somebody writes and you can't discredit because you have no idea who they are."
Mr. Trump gave no indication that he was close to identifying the author, musing that it "may be a deep state person who's been there a long time" or perhaps one of many, many people who can be designated as a senior administration official, which is how the person was identified in the Times op-ed.
"So they take one person out of thousands," the president told Hegseth.
On Twitter, Mr. Trump commented on Washington journalist Bob Woodward's upcoming book, which, from the excerpts that have been published, shows Mr. Trump's presidency in a similar light. According to Woodward's book, former top economic adviser Gary Cohn reportedly stopped him from signing potentially damaging documents by stealing them from his desk.
Beyond the anecdotes about his aides, Mr. Trump has pushed back on quotes attributed to him. He called Woodward's book a "scam" and tried to cast doubt on the way he's quoted. "I don't talk the way I am quoted," Mr. Trump tweeted. "If I did I would not have been elected President. These quotes were made up. The author uses every trick in the book to demean and belittle."
The book, "Fear," says that Mr. Trump mocked his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, calling him "retarded," made fun of his accent, and referred to him as a "dumb Southerner," which Mr. Trump denied earlier this week. Woodward did not speak with the president for the book -- he relied on the accounts of people who were inside the room with him.
In the interview with Fox News, the president also declined to say whether he would answer questions from the special counsel in any form. CBS News has reported that he will answer written questions about Russia after his legal team reviews them. The Associated Press reported that he would not answer in-person or written questions by Mueller's team. When Hegseth asked him about the AP report, the president did not answer the question, saying only, "Look, there's no collusion -- even in these crazy books, they don't talk about collusion."
He also criticized Nike's new ad campaign, which Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who first protested police brutality and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem.
"I don't like what Nike did, I don't think it is appropriate what they did, I honor the flag, I honor our national anthem, and most of the people in this country feel the same way," Mr. Trump said. "They feel the same way."
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