The Trump administration and many in the media are trying to figure out the identity of "Anonymous", a person we're told is a senior member of the White House staff who wrote an unprecedented op-ed piece portraying Trump as a danger to the nation.
Amid intense speculation on who the mystery author is, on Thursday four top White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said they were not the author and slammed the Times for publishing it.
On Wednesday night, Trump tweeted a demand that if "the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!" "Frankly the word of the New York Times is not worth taking".
In the end, they decided not to set off a constitutional crisis, and instead "vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office", the person wrote.
The anonymous "senior" official's title and their experience working "in the Trump administration" allows for a wide range of people to scrutinise. Vice President Mike Pence's office said it was "above such amateur acts".
Still, officials conceded that the sentiment expressed in the op-ed wasn't all that different from what has already been said by some at the White House and administration to journalists and lawmakers.
Under that theory, Michael Socolow, a communications professor at the University of ME, outlined a six-point argument on Twitter, including that Coats publicly laughed at Trump when he was told the USA president wanted to invite Vladimir Putin to the White House.
Despite the Times citing the author of the op-ed as a senior official in Trumpland, STC isn't buying it. saying everyone in Washington considers themselves "senior" officials.
A "very small number of people within the Times who know this person's identity", Dao reportedly said, adding that the company had spoken with the senior official directly. "I am into fiction like General Mattis, so maybe I'll take a look at this one".
'So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until - one way or another - it's over, ' they said.
That led to a Times reporter, Jodi Kantor, tweeting that "Times reporters must now try to unearth the identity of an author that our colleagues in Opinion have sworn to protect with anonymity?"
Dana Perino, the former White House press secretary under George W. Bush, called the mysterious author of the op-ed "extremely self-indulgent".
"This is just another example of the liberal media's concerted effort to discredit the President", White House Press Secretary Sanders said.
"These are individuals who don't support the president's agenda, the agenda of lower taxes, less regulation. less government bureaucracy, an agenda he put forth to the American people during his campaign and two years later he is fulfilling", Lewandoski pressed on only to have Berman push back. "Don't worry, we will win!"