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Trump’s Loyalty Demands Met by ‘Treason’ in His Inner Circle

Watergate investigative reporter Bob Woodward’s book detailing a chaotic West Wing and former staffers actively deceiving and undermining Trump, coupled with an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times describing senior administration officials’ attempts to
The New York Times published an anonymous opinion piece titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” on September 5.The New York Times published an anonymous opinion piece titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” on September 5.
Following the recent revelations, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has urged administration officials to invoke the constitutional process for the Cabinet to find Trump incompetent and remove him from office

US President Donald Trump is facing another set of revelations that call into question the loyalty of his inner circle, this time within the White House.

Last month, two longtime business confidants struck cooperation deals with federal prosecutors, potentially trading information on Trump's dealings for better treatment, Bloomberg reported.

Now, Watergate investigative reporter Bob Woodward's book detailing a chaotic West Wing and former staffers actively deceiving and undermining Trump, coupled with an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times describing senior administration officials' attempts to thwart the president, has further undermined his trust in his staff.

Trump, who considers loyalty a paramount virtue, made his frustration apparent during a rally Thursday night in Billings, Montana, likening the Times' op-ed to treason.

"You look at this horrible thing," he said. "Is it subversion? Is it treason?"

The author of the op-ed asserted Trump is acting "in a manner detrimental to the health of our republic" and claimed "many" officials inside the administration are working against the president's "more misguided impulses."

Back in Washington, the strain was evident from the latest episodes of an administration-wide soap opera defined by paranoia and distrust.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a plea to reporters hunting for the identity of the mystery administration official who wrote the column: "Stop".

>'Anonymous Coward'

The search for the person Sanders described as an "anonymous coward" was "recklessly tarnishing the reputation of thousands of great Americans who proudly serve our country and work for President Trump," she said in a statement. Her request seemed to underscore the extent to which speculation over the author had consumed the West Wing.

Even after the statement from Sanders, top administration officials continued issuing their own statements denying their involvement in the publication and denouncing the author.

By the time Trump boarded Air Force One for Montana, chief of staff John Kelly—who accompanied the president on the trip—was the only Cabinet member or Cabinet-level official not to issue a public denial. First Lady Melania Trump issued a statement saying the author of the column was "sabotaging" the country and warning that accusations "can lead to severe consequences."

>25th Amendment

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren seized the moment to urge administration officials to invoke the constitutional process for the Cabinet to find Trump incompetent and remove him from office.

"This is about the safety of our children, the national security of our nation, and the future of our democracy," Warren said on Twitter. "If senior officials believe the president is unfit, they should stop hiding behind anonymous op-eds and leaking info to Bob Woodward, and do what the Constitution demands they do: invoke the 25th Amendment and remove this president from office."

Former administration officials took to social media to stir the pot, while underscoring how little loyalty the president seemed to receive from those whom he had given jobs within his administration.

>Whodunit

The White House would not say if it was undertaking an internal investigation into who the op-ed writer might be.

Still, those closest to Trump seemed to hope that their statements denying involvement in the Times' op-ed might assuage the embattled president.

It is a strategy they adopted to some success just a day before, when the president appeared buoyed by statements from Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis denying anecdotes attributed to them in Woodward's book.

Trump told reporters he appreciated the support from both men, noting that they appeared to share his outrage over their depiction as dismayed by his leadership.

>Attacking Woodward

But even as Trump tried to signal that he enjoyed combat over critical books—saying that even with their release seemingly "every week" that he liked "to take them on when they come out"—the chaotic behind-the-scenes machinations of the White House's rapid response efforts were apparent.

In a meeting with the emir of Kuwait, the US president told reporters that Mattis and Kelly had issued their statements "without my even knowing about it." Hours later, as he met with Republican leaders, Trump said Mattis told him that he would like to write a statement to respond to the allegations contained in the book. The White House offered no explanation of the apparent contradiction.

And even as the administration tried to undercut Woodward's reporting, new evidence emerged to support some of the claims in the book. After Trump disputed that former economic adviser Gary Cohn had stolen a draft letter that would terminate a trade agreement with South Korea, news organizations published a copy of the letter that had been given to the author and included in the book. Woodward said he stands by his reporting.

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