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Politics Trump's top trade adviser 'hunting' for anonymous op-ed author

23:26  21 february  2020
23:26  21 february  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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President Donald Trump ' s top trade adviser , Peter Navarro, has been leading the charge inside the West Wing that Victoria Coates is the author of the book " Anonymous ," according to three people familiar with the situation.

After the initial anonymous op - ed ran in September 2018 attacking Trump ' s "amorality" and attesting that the writer and other top officials were working "to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations," all of the high-profile members of the Trump administration publicly denied writing it.

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President Donald Trump's top trade adviser Peter Navarro said Friday he has been "hunting" for the author of the anonymous New York Times op-ed and the book, "A Warning," but avoided the question when pressed about who, specifically, he believes to be the author.

CNN reported Thursday that Navarro has been leading the charge inside the West Wing that now-departed National Security Council official Victoria Coates is the author, according to three people familiar with the situation.

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The publication of the Op - Ed in September 2018 condemning Mr. Trump as essentially unfit for office and describing a “resistance” within the administration trying to keep the government on course set off frenzied speculation about its author . It prompted discussion within the White House at the time about

If the anonymous author has a high-level security clearance, the president emphasized, “and he goes into a high-level meeting concerning China or Russia Trump ’ s comment Friday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should investigate who wrote the newspaper op - ed isn’t the first time he has demanded

"Ever since that op-ed came out, there's been a pall cast over everybody in the administration, everybody's a suspect. So within the administration, everybody's hunting, as it were, for anonymous," Navarro said Friday on CNN's "New Day."

Asked if that included him, Navarro said, "Of course, it's a vocation with everybody."

Navarro was pressed specifically on whether he believes Coates is the author, as the sources say he has been saying internally at the White House, but he wouldn't say.

"Suspects are everywhere," he said, going on to rail against reporting from "so-called senior administration officials."

Once the unsubstantiated rumor that Coates was the author began circulating inside the West Wing, the book's publishers denied it, but their denial did little to stop Navarro from continuing to insist it was her, two people said.

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An anonymous Trump administration official who published a September 2018 essay in The New York Times, about the active resistance to the The author , who has not been publicly identified, created an uproar when he or she wrote in an Op - Ed last year that many of President Trump ’ s senior officials

Trump Blasts New York Times for Anonymous Op - Ed . President Trump denounced a critical Op - Ed from an anonymous White House official Mr. Trump ’ s mood vacillated from fury to calm throughout Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. Some of his top aides worked the phones to figure out who was

When asked what he's been doing to find Anonymous, Navarro was mum: "You read the book. You read the op-ed. You think about it -- that's about it."

For the last several weeks, Navarro has been on a hunt to determine who is Anonymous, two people said, a move that would likely ingratiate him with the President.

Navarro searching for Anonymous was first reported by the Daily Beast.

Several officials were initially amused by Navarro's tactics, but then became concerned that it could affect Coates' standing with the President, the same officials said.

Several officials who heard Navarro push this said they do not believe Coates is the author and several described her as loyal to the President's agenda. However, the workplace became untenable given these dynamics, so Coates began looking for an exit, officials said, which led to her move to the Energy Department on Thursday.

Coates declined to comment when reached by CNN.

Asked Tuesday if there was a search for who "Anonymous" was, Trump said: "Yeah there is, it's not so much a search, I know who it is. I can tell you that, but I know who it is."

The national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, elevated Coates to deputy national security adviser when he took the job last fall.

A week ago he insisted she would not be moved out of the National Security Council, but within days it became apparent that was not a long-term option. He confirmed her move to the Department of Energy.

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