READ: The New York Times Says Donald Trump’s ‘Threats Underscore Why We Must Safeguard the Identity of the Writer of This OpEd’


President Donald Trump on Friday called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department to launch an investigation into who penned a scathing anonymous op-ed in Wednesday’s New York Times.

“Yeah, I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of this piece was because I really believe it’s national security,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about, also where he is right now,” Trump said of the unnamed author.

The Times quickly shut down Trump’s request, calling it a “blatant abuse of government power.”

The Times said in a statement:

We’re confident that the Department of Justice understands that the First Amendment protects all American citizens and that it would not participate in such a blatant abuse of government power. The president’s threats both underscore why we must safeguard the identity of the writer of this Op-Ed and serve as a reminder of the importance of a free and independent press to American democracy.

The public is standing with the Times, which regularly draws Trump’s ire as an “enemy of the people” and “fake news.”

Trump did not indicate what law he thinks the official violated in writing the op-ed.

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