Just hours after the New York Times published a bombshell op-ed written by an anonymous senior official in the Trump Administration, without any evidence, media personalities started calling out by name potential suspects.
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell dedicated an entire segment Wednesday night to explaining what he called “an educated guess.” He claimed that the most likely author was Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. O’Donnell listed “it was a campaign speech that could only come from a former politician,” “it’s what his old friend John McCain would want him to do,” and Coats’ “calling out Russia for meddling in the election” as indicators that Coats was the only person that could have written the piece.
O’Donnell wasn’t the only one on his network to claim that Coats was the most likely suspect. MSNBC Contributor Ron Klain later in the show agreed with O’Donnell. “I share your guess and for a lot of the same reasons. I mean, he’s someone from whom there’s no love lost between him and Donald Trump. One of the few members of the administration who publicly differ with the president. As you say would have to be from the national security team to write that piece, it cites our handling of Russia as a success. No one but someone from the national security team would think that. And then it has this political overlay, the language about free markets, and free people and embracing of tax cuts as a major success. That’s a Republican politician,” Klain said. He later concluded, “You add that all up, and I think it fits Dan Coats like a glove.”
CNN’s Chris Cillizza also wrote an article listing 13 potential people who could have written the op-ed. Cillizza also speculated on Dan Coats, but added a few other names to the list —including Vice President Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump, and even First Lady Melania Trump as potential authors.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow also floated the idea that Mike Pence could have written the op-ed, citing the use of the word “lodestar”, and “cold comfort,” as language Pence has used before, and is used in the op-ed.
Not everyone in the media who had a hunch went to the airwaves and started calling out names. Fox News Host Tucker Carlson stated Wednesday, “We think we got a pretty good idea who wrote this piece. We’ve called the White House for comment on it tonight, but until we confirm the identity, of course, we’re not going to accuse anybody in public.”