'TREASON?' That was President Donald Trump’s response to a shocking anonymous article written by a senior member of the White House. It revealed a 'quiet resistance' of insiders had dedicated themselves to undermining Trump’s 'misguided impulses” in order to save America from his wayward presidency.
The piece in the New York Times has triggered the biggest 'Who Dunnit?' in America since Deepthroat saw off President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal.
So who is the secret author of perhaps the most explosive article ever written in US politics?
Here are some of the suspects in the mystery all Washington DC is taking about.
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE
As Vice President, Mike Pence is already a heartbeat away from the Oval Office but is known to want the main job. Scrupulously loyal to Trump in public, he likes to see himself as the grownup in the room. Bookies made him favourite to be the traitorous author after a bright spark spotted the use in the article of the term “lodestar” – meaning guiding principle - which is an unusual word but one often deployed by Pence in speeches and statements.
LIKELIHOOD? 4/10 Doesn’t seem like Pence’s style to go public, even anonymously
CHIEF OF STAFF JOHN KELLY
A recent book by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward claims retired general John Kelly refers to Trump as “an idiot” and has described working at the White House as “crazytown.” Kelly has clashed publicly with the President, and is said to be dedicated to steering the country through the turbulence of the Trump era – the same motivation the author claims for seeking to undermine the president.
LIKELIHOOD? 7/10 The General can barely disguise how insufferable he finds the President
HEAD OF DEPARTMENT FOR HOMELAND SECURITY KIRSTJEN NIELSEN
A close ally of John Kelly, Kirstjen Nielsen was rebuked by the President over the issue of immigration, after she failed to back his much-derided policy of separating illegal migrants from their children. She was said to have drafted a resignation letter which she then withdrew. Perhaps she decided revenge was a dish better served cold – and anonymously.
LIKELIHOOD? 6/10 May have seen it as her duty to hold Trump back
WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS
One of the most loyal members of the White House, even Sarah Sanders is said to have tired in recent months of defending the indefensible. She looked abashed when challenged over the administration’s failure to act on gun control in the wake of repeated school shootings. In response to the New York Times article, Sanders gave a White House briefing deriding the 'gutless anonymous source' as a 'coward.' But does she protest too much?
LIKELIHOOD? 2/10 The ultra-loyalist is the rank outsider
ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS
Perhaps the suspect with the greatest motive for wishing to destroy Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been castigated by the President for recusing himself from the probe into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia, which opened the door for the determined Special Counsel Robert Mueller to turn his fire on the President’s allies. After yet another recent attack on his character, Sessions took the unusual step of insisting his Justice Department would remain impartial in the face of presidential provocation.
LIKELIHOOD? 8/10 Who could blame him after the abuse he’s suffered