A senior White House adviser, Stephen Miller, recently claimed the impeachment inquiry imperiling Donald Trump’s presidency was a product of the “deep state”, a conspiracy theory which holds that a permanent government of civil servants and security operatives exists to thwart the will of the people.
President Trump himself has tweeted of the existence of the “Deep State” that he, and now his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, have been the targets of.
As you surely know by now, In August, an unidentified member of the intelligence services filed a whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s behavior. It was processed through official channels, then withheld from Congress. On September 25, after the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, announced an impeachment inquiry, the complaint was released. It detailed a phone call, the transcript of which has also since been released that appeared to show that Trump was withholding military aid from Ukraine, unless they helped Trump in his attempts to damage former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s leading Democratic rival.
Last weekend, as Trump surrogates joined in the furious offensive, Miller told Fox News Sunday that he was well aware of “the difference between a whistleblower and a deep state operative”.
Much of the deep state conspiracy theory’s power in US politics under Trump has been generated by the far-right Breitbart website, which Steve Bannon ran before joining the 2016 Trump campaign and after his time in the White House.
Breitbart has recently published a new essay entitled, “Lessons of Impeachment, from Watergate to Monicagate to Bidengate. The byline on the piece is “Virgil,” the pseudonymous author of the original Deep State series. In it, the author quoted Bannon, and added, “Yes, this is the deep state in action, and it’s out for blood.”
But although once a prime mover in the formation and propagation of the deep state conspiracy theory, according to Steve Bannon himself, it should not be taken seriously. Bannon states his opinion in a new book, Deep State: Trump, the FBI and the Rule of Law by James B Stewart, which will be published on 8 October. The “deep state conspiracy theory is for nut cases”, Bannon is quoted as saying, because “America isn’t Turkey or Egypt”.
There is a formidable government bureaucracy in the US, he adds, but “there’s nothing ‘deep’ about it. It’s right in your face.”