"Trump seethes as a 'resistance' spills into view"

That was the headline on the story from the New York Times newsroom about President Trump's reaction to an anonymous editorial written by a "senior administration official" that said some in the government were working to "thwart" the worst inclinations of an unstable president.

"The root of the problem is the president's amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making," wrote the op-ed author, identified by the paper only as a high-ranking Trump official. "Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it's over."

Trump continued his attacks against the media Thursday morning on Twitter, simultaneously blasting "the deep state," "the left" and "the fake news media" after having called the op-ed "gutless" Wednesday evening.

Nearly all of Washington is caught up in a guessing game attempting to figure out who the "senior administration official" might be. According to the Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender, some White House aides even called reporters "to ask who may be behind the op-ed — whether it came from inside the White House or a cabinet-level agency."

In an interview with CNN, Times opinion page editor Jim Dao revealed few details, other than claiming the anonymous staffer approached the paper through an "intermediary" prior to the release earlier this week of explosive excerpts from Bob Woodward's new book, Fear: Trump in the White House. Dao also noted that only "a very small number of people within the Times" know the identity of the writer. He wouldn't clarify how the Times defines "senior."

"I don't believe the op-ed page would do this unless they believe it was somebody senior enough to qualify to give them such blanket anonymity on what amounts to an ad hominem take on the president," Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman said on CNN Thursday morning.

Here's what you need to know over the controversy surrounding the anonymous op-ed, and how people in and out of Trump's White House are responding.

Former speechwriter: ‘Unmoored’ could be clue to identity of writer

While many pointed to the use of the word "lodestar" as a clue to the identity of the anonymous op-ed writer, one former speechwriter said the word that stood out to him was "unmoored."

"It's an unusual word. The only people I know who have used it are people who have worked aboard ships or served in the Navy," said David Kusnet, a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton who was first to reveal that political columnist Joe Kline was the anonymous author of the 1996 novel Primary Colors.

"Another thing I noticed is it reads like a speechwriter. There's a lot of alliteration, a lot of parallel phrases," Kusnet said. "What I'm thinking is that either it was written for somebody by their speechwriter, or it was written by someone… who has written for other people before."

List of top Trump officials who have denied writing the op-ed

As of Thursday afternoon, every member of Trump's cabinet has publicly denied authoring the anonymous bombshell that appeared in the New York Times. The list includes:

Vice President Mike Pence
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley
CIA Director Gina Haspel
Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer

During his Fox News show last night, Tucker Carslon suggested he knew the author of the controversial op-ed, but wouldn't not release the name publicly.

"We think we've got a pretty good idea who wrote this piece," Carlson said "We've called the White House for comment on it tonight, but until we can confirm the identity, of course, we're not going to accuse anyone in public."

Op-ed draws a rare rebuke from the first lady

First lady Melania Trump issues a rare public rebuke directed at the high-level Trump official who wrote the op-ed, claiming in a statement "people with no names are writing our nation's history."

"If a person is bold enough to accuse people of negative actions, they have a responsibility to publicly stand by their words and people have the right to be able to defend themselves," Melania Trump said. "To the writer of the oped — you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions."

Unlike her husband or the White House, she did not attack the Times for publishing the letter and said a free press "is important to our democracy."

Sarah Sanders calls Times op-ed a ‘deceitful act’

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a blistering statement Thursday morning, claiming the speculation over which Trump official wrote the op-ed "is recklessly tarnishing the reputation" of thousands of staffers who work in the current administration.

Sanders also shared the phone number of the Times opinion desk in the statement, claiming editors at the newspaper "are the only ones complicit in this deceitful act."

Maddow, Hannity, Carlson and others react to op-ed

Fox News host Tucker Carlson suggested he knows which Trump staffer wrote the anonymous op-ed that appeared in the New York Times.
Fox News
Fox News host Tucker Carlson suggested he knows which Trump staffer wrote the anonymous op-ed that appeared in the New York Times.

Reaction over the op-ed in the political and media worlds was mixed. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said, "this feels like the end of something, and I don't know what happens next," while former Secretary of State John Kerry said the op-ed revealed a president "not capable of doing the job or living up to the responsibilities." On Fox News, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade suggested that the president respond by giving his children more prominent roles in his administration. Sean Hannity, among Trump's most ardent supporters in the media, called it a "pretty amazing, stunning betrayal." And Tucker Carlson claimed he had a "pretty good idea who wrote the piece," but refused to name an individual until he's able to "confirm the identity."

Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple actually agreed with the president that the op-ed was a "gutless exercise, calling it a "PR stunt" by a Trump official looking to paint themselves as "precious and valued patriots."

"Mr. Senior Administration Official gets to use the distributive power of the New York Times to recast an entire class of federal appointees. No longer are they enablers of a foolish and capricious president," Wemple wrote.

No, this isn’t treason

On Wednesday afternoon, Trump called the editorial "gutless." Later, on Twitter, he said that the Times should turn over the anonymous author to the government "at once" and suggested the act might actually be considered treason, a notion that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R., S.C., refuted almost instantly.

"This is not treason under the Constitution," Graham said. "This is not a treasonous act against the nation. This is a disloyal and cowardly act against the president."

For what it's worth, here's how Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution defines treason:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.