Trump's War on the Deep State

IN WASHINGTON now, the “deep state” generally means officially nonpartisan and politically inactive people who are in and near government, and are in practice partisan and often hyperactive in their opposition to the administration. This sort of thing occurs to some degree in almost every administration, but is rare once new administrations have settled in and installed loyalists in all key positions. In contentious times, during rending national controversies and after a radical change of administration, a

This is why Donald Trump went to war against the entire political class.

March-April 2018

The deep state was almost the whole state, and it pitched in to sabotage the administration. For nearly that long, the Republican leaders sat on their hands waiting to see if he would be impeached or not. His nominees were a long time in being confirmed. There were leaks of White House conversations, including with foreign leaders—outright acts of insubordination causing Trump, a decisive executive, to fire some fairly high officials, including the malign director of the FBI, who then informed Congress that he had leaked a self-addressed memo (probably illegally, as it was technically government property), in order to have a special prosecutor named to torment the president over the fatuous Russian allegations, although Comey testified that Trump himself was not a target or suspect and the Russians had not influenced the outcome of the election. (This was a sober position compared to the wholesale fabrications of the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, that a thousand Russian agents had swarmed the key battleground states and had delivered Wisconsin to Trump.)

The president has strengthened the White House staff. The FBI and Justice Department have been ripped apart in their partisanship and misuse of the dossier on which the collusion argument and the surveillance of the Trump campaign were based. And the dossier, a pastiche of falsehoods from gossips in the Kremlin, has been exposed as a smear job paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, and the whole impeachment movement has collapsed. The hunters are the prey and Trump will prosecute, sack, or intimidate the deep state. But it is there, can arise quickly and can be very dangerous. Forewarned is forearmed.

Conrad Black is a writer and former newspaper publisher whose most recent book is Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full (PublicAffairs, 2007).