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Use of 'Lodestar' in Trump Op-Ed Leads to Speculation

President says Times 'must' reveal anonymous source
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2018 5:44 AM CDT
Updated Sep 6, 2018 6:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – "TREASON?" tweeted President Trump after the New York Times published an op-ed from an anonymous administration official who described his leadership style as "impetuous" and "adversarial" and spoke of a "resistance" inside a deeply unstable administration. In a follow-up tweet, the president told the newspaper to reveal the author's identity, if it wasn't a "phony source," the Guardian reports. "If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once," Trump said, adding: "I'm draining the Swamp, and the Swamp is trying to fight back. Don’t worry, we will win!" More:

  • "I don't like them." Speaking at a meeting of sheriffs from around the country Wednesday afternoon, Trump described both the source and the Times as "failing," CBS reports. "When you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who is failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons—and the New York Times is failing—if I weren't here, I believe the New York Times probably wouldn't even exist," he said. They don't like Donald Trump and I don't like them," he said of the Times.
  • People "stunned" within the Times. The Times' newsroom is separate from its opinion department, and sources tell Vanity Fair that people within the paper were "totally stunned" to read the "cry for help" from inside the administration. "It’s a parlor game. Everybody's trying to figure out who it is, including the Washington bureau," one senior journalist says. "It feels like a crazy moment."

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  • Sanders wants an apology. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the Times it should apologize for the " pathetic, reckless, and selfish op-ed." She also said the source is a "coward" who should resign. "He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people," she said.
  • "Volcanic" anger. In the White House, the hunt for the op-ed's author is on, insiders tell the Washington Post. The sources say Trump reacted with "volcanic" anger to the op-ed and said he suspects the official either works in the Justice Department or on national security issues. Aides are analyzing language patterns in an effort to find the author, insiders say. They say aides have been texting each other the phrase: "The sleeper cells have awoken."
  • The guessing game. The AP looks at the "guessing game" people are playing to determine the author. Among the clues: The word "lodestar," frequently used in Mike Pence's speeches; could the author be someone close to him, or was it used to throw people off? The Times says the author was described as a "he" by somebody unaware of the author's identity, meaning it isn't necessarily a man.
  • Defending anonymity. The Times is defending the controversial and "exceedingly rare" decision to grant anonymity to the author of the op-ed. "It was clear early on that the writer wanted anonymity, but we didn’t grant anything until we read it and we were confident that they were who they said they were," says op-ed editor James Dao. He says the author set out a "very principled position that deserved an airing."
  • Is Trump in his element? With the op-ed, the Robert Mueller investigation, and Bob Woodward's new book, Trump may seem embattled, but his critics should remember that he has "skirted calamity" many times in his career before and gone on to brag about surviving the crisis, writes Michael Kruse at Politico. He says Trump ally Roger Stone told him the "fearless" president makes even Richard Nixon look like a "cream puff." "Nixon was smarter," he quotes Stone as saying, "but Trump is tougher."
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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