(CNN)President Donald Trump’s top trade adviser Peter Navarro said Friday he has been “hunting” for the author of the anonymous New York Times op-ed and the book, “A Warning,” but avoided the question when pressed about who, specifically, he believes to be the author.
CNN reported Thursday that Navarro has been leading the charge inside the West Wing that now-departed National Security Council official Victoria Coates is the author, according to three people familiar with the situation.
“Ever since that op-ed came out, there’s been a pall cast over everybody in the administration, everybody’s a suspect. So within the administration, everybody’s hunting, as it were, for anonymous,” Navarro said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”
Asked if that included him, Navarro said, “Of course, it’s a vocation with everybody.”
Navarro was pressed specifically on whether he believes Coates is the author, as the sources say he has been saying internally at the White House, but he wouldn’t say.
“Suspects are everywhere,” he said, going on to rail against reporting from “so-called senior administration officials.”
Once the unsubstantiated rumor that Coates was the author began circulating inside the West Wing, the book’s publishers denied it, but their denial did little to stop Navarro from continuing to insist it was her, two people said.
When asked what he’s been doing to find Anonymous, Navarro was mum: “You read the book. You read the op-ed. You think about it — that’s about it.”
For the last several weeks, Navarro has been on a hunt to determine who is Anonymous, two people said, a move that would likely ingratiate him with the President.
Navarro searching for Anonymous was first reported by the Daily Beast.