US President Donald Trump has encouraged the equity division to explore a mysterious New York Times article by an authority in his organization.
He said Attorney General Jeff Sessions “ought to explore who the creator of that piece was on account of I truly trust it’s national security”.
Mr Trump likewise said he was thinking about making a move against the daily paper, causing its offer cost to plunge.
Be that as it may, it is misty what lawful grounds any prosecutor could follow up on.
The Department of Justice said accordingly: “The division does not affirm, deny or generally recognize the presence or non-presence of examinations.”
In the interim, the New York Times said in an announcement: “We’re certain 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.”
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Mr Trump was asked by reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday whether he was was considering taking action over the New York Times op-ed.
“We’re going to see,” said Mr Trump, who was on his way to a rally in North Dakota. “I’m looking at that right now.”
Members of his administration and inner circle from the vice-president downwards have been lining up to condemn the column and deny authorship.
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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has urged Mr Trump to conduct lie detector tests to find out who wrote the piece.
In Wednesday’s column, the writer slammed Mr Trump’s “amorality” and said a number of US officials were part of a “quiet resistance” inside the administration.
The author said they were “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations”.
Media captionTrump calls senior official’s anonymous editorial ‘gutless’
Mr Trump told Fox & Friends in an interview broadcast earlier on Friday that the op-ed was “unfair”.
“What’s unfair, I don’t mind when they write a book and they make lies because it gets discredited,” Mr Trump said.
He said it’s more difficult “when somebody writes and you can’t discredit because you have no idea who they are”.