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WH Officials Think Anonymous Trump Staffer’s Op-Ed Article Was Illegal

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White House Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway suggested over the weekend that an anonymous op-ed written by a senior staffer within President Donald Trump’s administration, decrying his leadership style and controversial viewpoints, constitutes an illegal act. She’s just not sure which law has been broken.

While speaking with host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Conway asserted that Trump’s demands for a Department of Justice investigation of the op-ed writer were warranted, to determine if any “criminal activity” transpired.

Yet when pressed by Tapper to elaborate, Conway gave a vague answer. Tapper asked for what reason the administration was “inferring it may be criminal.”

“For what I understand, there can be an investigation if there is criminal activity that happened,” Conway responded. When Tapper responded by pointing out there didn’t appear to be anything suggesting a crime occurred at all by publishing the op-ed, Conway defended her stance.

“I don’t know that and I don’t think you know that,” she quipped back.

Conway added that the anonymity of the author suggested there was reason to believe the individual was performing other actions while supposedly serving the administration’s interests, and that the unknown aspect of what they were up to justified the need for an inquiry.

“Anybody who would do this you don’t know what else they’re saying,” Conway said.

Hers seems to be the official position within the White House, which is pressuring the DOJ to open an inquiry at the behest of Trump’s public statements on the issue. Several administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, opined that dissent against the president itself was a criminal activity, if the person was working under the auspices of being a loyal employee to Trump.

“The Constitution of the United States vests all executive power in the president of the United States,” Pence said to Fox News’s Chris Wallace. “To have an individual who took that oath literally say that they work every day to frustrate the president advancing the agenda he was elected to advance is undemocratic.”

Since the publication of the op-ed, in which an anonymous senior official in Trump’s White House described an administration in chaos and tumult (with some, including him/herself, doing their best to rein in the president’s temperament to prevent disaster), many have been critical of the author’s intent.

Many on the right have pushed for a DOJ inquiry to look into the matter. As far as the other side goes, while some on the left have heaped praise for the opinion piece on social media, others haven’t been so celebratory, pointing out that the author, despite their misgivings on some issues, is still promoting Trump’s agenda in many significant ways. By staying anonymous, they argue, they aren’t doing enough to challenge the president’s actions.

Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0


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