“We just want to see the news,” said one senior Trump administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
“We want to be part of the process.
We don’t want to have a story that’s just not going to make the news.”
A third official said the Post would stay in business, despite the mounting pressure on it from the president and congressional leaders to sell.
The administration is also considering a possible sale to the Chinese, who have been aggressively buying newspapers.
But the paper has already said it is prepared to remain on the Post’s masthead.
The decision comes at a time of intense political pressure on the paper as it faces a wave of legal challenges from former employees and a federal judge who is probing the paper’s reporting on Trump and other administration officials.
The paper has also faced fierce criticism from Republicans and some Democrats for its reporting on the president’s campaign, including his unsubstantiated claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
The president and his allies in Congress are pressing the Post to hand over all of the newspaper’s internal documents to the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump associates.
They are also threatening to subpoena some of the paper, including the editorial pages.
A Post spokeswoman declined to comment on the pending discussions.
But a senior administration official said Trump’s lawyers are also “considering” the sale.
The White House has long argued that the paper is the single largest media outlet in the country, and it has been the subject of a number of lawsuits.
It also has been at the forefront of a campaign by some Democrats and media outlets to pressure the paper into releasing information.
“The White House is not averse to going through the motions and making the paper public, but we’re not willing to put up with the Trump administration’s bullying and intimidation,” said an administration official familiar with the talks.
The Post has also come under pressure for its coverage of the White House, including from the Trump White House and several former officials.
Several of the most prominent media figures have criticized the paper for its handling of the Russia story, including former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former national security adviser Mike Flynn.
“To the extent there are any discrepancies between the White [House] and the news organization that we’re reading, I think we have a pretty good understanding of it,” Spicer said in a July interview with ABC’s This Week.
In a series of tweets on July 18, the president said the paper “got it wrong on Russia.”
“The Washington Post has been dishonest with its reporting about the Russian hacking,” he tweeted.
“They lost control of the story and they lost credibility.
We need to get it right.”
Priebus has also questioned the paper in public, saying it “was the one to lie to the American people.”
A senior White House official said Priebus’ tweets and a subsequent Facebook post were “completely inappropriate and irresponsible.”
The official said White House officials have “always been focused on transparency and accuracy in the media, but there are times when the president is the one calling out media reporting” and that he has taken some actions to make sure his Twitter feed is “more accurate.”
But Spicer and other White House staff members have been “out of line” in their criticism of the Post and its reporting, the administration official told POLITICO.
The official also said Trump and the president-elect have discussed the Post in private meetings.
The Trump administration has said that the Post will continue to operate in a “normal” manner.
The Times also is in talks with a possible buyer, but the negotiations are at a standstill, the Times said.
Trump has repeatedly dismissed the Post as a “dishonest” publication that has “total political bias.”
But the president has repeatedly tweeted that he would pay the paper $1.5 billion to be taken off the masthead, a sum that would dwarf any offer for a major U.S. newspaper.
The negotiations are being handled by Robert Greenblatt, the former executive chairman of Time Inc. and a White House aide.
The sale of the Times would be subject to regulatory approvals, the White Senate Office of Legal Counsel said.
“It is our understanding that the President and his advisors have made the decision to proceed with the sale and that the sale will be conducted in a normal, compliant and transparent manner,” said the office.
The newspaper’s current owner, McGraw-Hill Companies, which owns the Post, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move comes as other media organizations have faced mounting pressure to sell as the Trump presidency has become increasingly combative and even confrontational.
The Washington Post recently lost a libel suit in federal court in Chicago over a series by former White Nationalist George Will.
The suit accused Will of publishing false statements about the paper.
The lawsuit was filed in August and the Post lost its case in November.