The White House and its allies are stepping up their attacks on a foe typically associated with fragile democracies, military coups and spy thrillers.
The “deep state,” an alleged shadowy network of powerful entrenched federal and military interests, has increasingly become the focus of Republicans who accuse such forces of trying to undermine the new president.
Though senior White House staff members don’t use the exact label, the notion behind it has taken hold. President Donald Trump claims his predecessor tapped his phone and America’s intelligence agencies have conspired to leak harmful information to embarrass him. His chief strategist has vowed to dismantle the permanent Washington “administrative state.” White House spokesman Sean Spicer says “people that burrowed into government” are trying to sabotage the president.
“Of course, the deep state exists. There’s a permanent state of massive bureaucracies that do whatever they want and set up deliberate leaks to attack the president,” said Newt Gingrich, a Trump confidant.
“This is what the deep state does: They create a lie, spread the lie, fail to check the lie and then deny that they were behind the lie.”