The Trump administration and many in the media are trying to figure out the identity of "Anonymous", a person we're told is a senior member of the White House staff who wrote an unprecedented op-ed piece portraying Trump as a danger to the nation.
The unsigned column drew disavowals from at least 11 advisers to Trump, including Vice President Mike Pence, Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Pompeo said it "shouldn't surprise anyone" that the New York Times chose to print "such a piece" and if the piece actually was written by a top USA official the outlet "should not have chosen to take a disgruntled, deceptive, bad actor's word for anything".
Mr Trump, a Republican, sought to portray the op-ed as a reflection of yet more anger by Democrats who have never accepted his surprise 2016 presidential election win.
Trump lashed out in characteristic fashion, and the Times even ran a story about the op-ed and the ensuing fallout on its front page on Thursday. I can only imagine the conversations at the New York Times about publishing such a thing. The excerpts said aides sometimes tried to limit what they saw as damaging behaviour by disregarding his instructions.
"We have a president who's there, but he is not capable of doing the job or living up to the responsibilities". And some of the most senior members of the Trump administration were forced to deny they were the author of the attack on their boss. "This guy", Kimmel said before showing video evidence of Pence using the word on multiple occasions.
"You should not be lapping up the benefits of being a senior administration official, no doubt while scouting for lucrative opportunities for when you leave your post", she said.
The author wrote that there was a resistance working within the administration to thwart the president's worst impulses.
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But quickly, Colbert's monologue took a more serious turn as he criticized the author of the op-ed.
Donald Trump responded with fury, on Twitter and in comments at public events at the White House.
The author wrote that "there were early whispers within the Cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president".
Some of the guessing game over the authorship centred on whether the author worked in the White House or a federal agency.
President Donald Trump prepares to sign three Executive Orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Jan. 23, 2017.
Anonymous officials who have been quoted in previous news reports have often been identified as "a senior White House official", which narrows the scope to people working specifically for the White House - instead of the broad number of agencies within the Trump administration, such as the Department of Education.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement in which she described the piece as "a new low for the so-called paper of record'". "It would have to clearly depend upon who was writing this, and the amount of trust and confidence that we had in going ahead", Ancrum said.
"The media's obsession with the identity of the anonymous coward is recklessly tarnishing the reputation of thousands of great Americans who proudly serve our country and work for President Trump".