‘Deep State’ Conspiracy Theories Ramp Up After Andrew McCabe’s Exit From FBI

In a move that stunned many, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe stepped down amid the Trump administration’s growing animosity for the agency. At this point, the official story is that this the decision follows revelations that McCabe allegedly mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, but the politics behind this event are a bit more complex.

Recently, murmurs among conservatives have centered around an alleged “secret society” that supposedly exists within the FBI. These rumors began after text messages sent between FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, a senior FBI agent serving on Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion investigation team, were made public.

Among these messages, one caught Republicans’ eyes: “Are you even going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society,” wrote Page to Strzok.

This comment has been swiftly taken out of context as proof that not only is there an anti-Trump bias within the FBI, but also that FBI agents are “holding secret meetings of-site” — at least, according to Republican Senator Ron Johnson. Johnson insists that the messages raise “so much suspicion.”

However, it appears likely that the messages between Page and Strozk were simply meant to be sarcastic.

Though Trump supporters have been quick to run with this narrative, this idea of an undemocratic effort to undermine conservative politics — sometimes referred to as the “deep state” — is far from new.

The term, by its very definition, is a conspiracy theory. And it is one that President Trump and his administration have been promoting even before his election victory.

Some may recall that, in the lead-up to the vote, Trump made the troubling implication that if he were to lose to Clinton, he would not necessarily concede defeat. The justification being that, presumably, Trump would have been unfairly slighted, either through voter fraud or other tampering.

After Trump won — despite losing the popular vote — he issued an executive order to create a special investigation into voter fraud. This was an effort to both save face and provide evidence of a supposed attempt to cheat him out of the presidency.

This initiative was soon followed by Trump’s strange proclamation that the former administration had illegally wiretapped him and his associates in an attempt to take him down. In one of many tweets on the matter, Trump actually used the term “deep state”:

These are hardly the only times Trump and his supporters have fallen back on the deep state defense. To makes claims of a “deep state” is both foolish and, more importantly, terribly convenient.

The truth is, yes, there are forces working to undemocratically influence the political process in the United States. But it’s not as insidious as a secret cabal of FBI agents and Obama/Clinton provocateurs working in the shadows. This subversion happens in broad daylight by public figures whose faces regularly appear on the nightly news.

Gerrymandering, campaign finance laws, lobbyist-influenced lawmaking and voter suppression laws — such as voter ID requirements – are just a few ways that democracy is being undermined in the United States. But these topics aren’t as sexy as Hollywood film based on a Tom Clancy novel or the latest prime time TV thriller. And they also don’t fit the desired narrative that portrays right-wing populism as being forever victimized and marginalized.

Trump and his base rose to the forefront on the premise that he would “drain the swamp” — ferret out those who were propping up a corrupt institution. In practice, though, this is little more than the result of heavy branding; Trump, despite being a Washington outsider, is hardly an opponent of working within the current system.

However, the Trump administration knows that to keep their supporters, they must constantly present themselves as David in a fight against Goliath — even though Goliath is nowhere to be found.

Photo Credit: Tim Evanson/Flickr

42 comments

Marie W
Marie W13 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Ruth S
Ruth S6 months ago

Thanks.

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Eric L
Eric Lees6 months ago

Now it's looking like Obama along with Clinton is being pulled in. Be careful what you wish for neo-liberals, you may not like how deep the corruption goes.

I say shine the light in and let the truth come out. It may be our only chance to unite we the people and take out the Oligarchy.

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Cathy B
Cathy B6 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Winn A
Winn A6 months ago

Thanks

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Winn A
Winn A6 months ago

Noted

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Stephen Brian
Stephen Brian6 months ago

Republicans have been primed to believe in some kind of bias within the FBI, and not by any sort of deliberate rabble-rousing. Let's look over its politically relevant activity: 1. Its investigation into how evidence of malfeasance that interfered in the Democrat Primary was leaked completely overshadowed any investigation into the malfeasance itself. 2. It committed major resources to investigating Trump and company, and leaked results all over the place, without any specific crime to investigate which might lead to prosecution, concentrating on the targets rather than the law. 3. It renewed an investigation using a report from campaign-era opposition-research as probable cause. That really looks like political bias in the Bureau's operations.

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Chad A
Chad Anderson6 months ago

Thank you!

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David F
David F6 months ago

After a year of investigating and millions of dollars, no one still knows what crime Mueller is investigating.
What we do know is he has not found a trace of Russian collaboration with the RNC or president Trump. Anything like that would have been long since leaked.

What we also know as fact, and no thanks to Mueller, some part of $12 million from the Hillary campaign wound up in Russian government pockets in an attempt to influence and overturn our election.

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John B
John B6 months ago

Thanks for the excellent post.

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