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President Donald Trump. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

A bombshell New York Times op-ed on Wednesday, written by an anonymous senior administration official, immediately triggered suspense across the political spectrum, leaving journalists and observers guessing the author's identity.

Our thought bubble: The NYT op-ed, in which the author said he's part of a "resistance" working to thwart the president's agenda, reinforces and feeds into Trump's preconceived idea about a vast "Deep State" inside his administration.

What they’re saying:
  • President Trump: "Anonymous. Can you believe it? Anonymous. Meaning gutless. A gutless editorial."
  • Press Secretary Sarah Sanders: “The individual behind this piece has chosen to to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States. He is not putting the country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”
  • Ari Fleischer, former George W. Bush White House Press Secretary: "It's impossible to evaluate how important it is without knowing how high up the author is. There are hundreds of people at the WH who think they're 'senior' officials. ... If it's a career official, or even a disenchanted, mid-level political appointee, it's not such a big deal. The NYT giving it anonymity (Mr. X), makes it appear bigger than it likey is."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CNN: "I've never heard that before. This palace intrigue. I don't mean to bust a bubble here, but most people in south Carolina are not going to take the op-ed in "The New York Times" very seriously. … President trump, in my world, where I live, in South Carolina, most people are very pleased with what the president's doing."
  • Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): "This is what all of us have understood to be the situation from day one... I understand this is the case and that’s why I think all of us encourage the good people around the President to stay. I thank General Mattis whenever I see him."
  • Geraldo Rivera, Fox News commentator: "Reading #NYT op ed from "resistance underground" in Trump Whitehouse made me gag. A chicken shit traitor, an unelected bureaucrat without courage to either go public or quit, who professes without specifics to have "saved" nation from @realDonaldTrump is just a self-serving punk."
  • Brian Stelter, CNN media correspondent: "This unnamed op-ed is ALMOST unprecedented. Per an NYT spokesperson, the paper has only done this a few times in its history, most recently for this piece by an unnamed asylum seeker from El Salvador."

The New York Times released a statement standing by its rare anonymous op-ed saying, "We are incredibly proud to have published this piece, which adds significant value to the public's understanding of what is going on in the Trump administration from someone who is in a position to know."

The timing: The piece comes a day after excerpts from a damning book about Trump's presidency authored by veteran journalist Bob Woodward revealed that top officials close to Trump are increasingly worried about his leadership and conduct in office.

Go deeper

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.