While the president suggested that the anonymous writer was not a senior official, he said that the person might nonetheless have a security clearance that allows him or her to attend sensitive national security meetings involving China, Russia or North Korea. "It would be very hard if it was, if they got caught", Trump said.
Senior officials and White House staffers, many of whom were appointed by Mr Trump, are so convinced the President is unfit for office that they are trying to stop him from within.
Trump has such trouble telling the truth, Dowd argues - per Woodward - that even though they agree he has done nothing wrong, the president would still probably contradict himself or tell a falsehood in any discussion with the Justice Department's investigators.
"I mean, that is really remarkable", he said, before joking: "And I have to say, I'm surprised by how good a writer Ivanka is".
Now a top security official, Coats may share numerous concerns that Anonymous raised in the op-ed.
While serving as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, whom some lawmakers described as a buffer against White House chaos along with Mattis, managed for a while to dissuade Trump from leaving the Iranian nuclear accord.
By email, by tweet and on camera, the denials paraded in from Cabinet-level officials - and even Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday - apparently crafted for an audience of one, seated in the Oval Office.
Trump said that it is a disgrace that somebody can publish an anonymous article.
Mr Trump cited "national security" as he called on attorney general Jeff Sessions to open an investigation to unmask the author of the piece who claims to be part of an administration "resistance" movement straining to thwart the president's most risky impulses.
Besides these foreign policy fears, the op-ed describes the ways that Trump has veered from Republican norms on trade and press freedom. They were reported to have sent each other text messages with the phrase "the sleeper cells have awoken", according to "The Washington Post". "If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!"
The New York Times opted to publish the unsigned column, which alleges that a "quiet resistance" of senior administration officials is "working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations".
"It was not his op-ed", chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said.
"Can you understand why people would think, and Trump would think, that after what he did for you, [what you did] was so despicable?" asked McGuirk.
It's also happened to members of the Trump Administration.
"The (Pyongyang) regime expressed a clear preference for dealing only with President Trump", said Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. "We fully recognize what is happening".