Cue the Pink Panther music, and turn up the midnight oil, “Anonymous” — the White House staffer who penned the scorching editorial in the New York Times and the book, “A Warning” — may have finally been outed by the Trump administration. Now the lead detective on this case will make Inspector Clouseau seem like Hercule Poirot on steroids. Would you believe Peter Navarro, Trump’s painfully inept and embarrassing economic adviser — whom he calls “My Peter?” And Navarro is just one of a team of staffers that have taken it upon themselves to rout out this snake in their grass — and bear in mind, Trump says, he’s “surrounded by snakes” which is his pet name for Never Trumpers. Nobody is safe in Trumpworld, least of all Anonymous. Read this brief back story on the atmosphere in the White House these days and then we’ll get to today’s headline of the deputy national security adviser who’s head is rolling — at least as far as the Department of Energy. Daily Beast:
Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
That view has inspired the West Wing’s efforts this month to purge the White House of perceived subversives, such as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified to Congress about Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president. Vindman is not suspected of being Anonymous, but was removed from his NSC post last week in retaliation for his (legally mandatory) testimony before a House panel investigating conduct that led to the president’s impeachment.
It’s not clear whether Anonymous actually remains in an administration post, or has moved on. Reporting since his or her Times column has floated a variety of potential culprits. Every administration official who’s been asked has denied being Anonymous. But then that’s what Anonymous said he or she would do.
“For now,” the person wrote in A Warning, “if asked, I will strenuously deny I am the author of this book, including when the president demands we each disavow it.”
Ooooh, wicked. King Donald doesn’t like that attitude, I’ll warrant. This is what the rack and thumb screws are for. So today, either Anonymous was unmasked, or at least a scapegoat was found and in this political climate, that is the direction we’re going, make no mistake. Either way, deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates is set to be removed from the National Security Council and moved to the Department of Energy because word on the street is she might be Anonymous. Axios:
Why it matters: Coates’ working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as “Anonymous” — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues. […]
Driving the news: As Politico first reported, Coates has been the target of a whisper campaign in recent weeks making a circumstantial case that she was the identity behind an op-ed in the New York Times and later a bestselling book describing a resistance movement against President Trump in his own White House.
One of the literary agents behind Anonymous’ book, “A Warning,” went so far as to release a statement saying explicitly that Coates is not the author, did not edit the book, did not see it in advance and did not know about it.
Between the lines: Coates’ potential reassignment comes as Trump, fresh from acquittal in his impeachment trial, institutes personnel moves to bring early loyalists back into the White House and tests purges of staff he considers disloyal throughout the federal government.
If you thought this administration was a chaotic madhouse before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
The purge is on. Here’s a little music to get you in the mood.”The pressure’s high just to stay alive.” Yeah, if you work at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.