In a Friday press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked if the White House believes “there’s such a thing as the deep state actively working to undermine the President.”
Though he did not use the phrase "deep state" in his response to Yahoo News reporter Hunter Walker, Spicer replied affirmatively.
“I think there’s no question when you have eight years of one party in office that there are people who stay in government who are affiliated with, joined and continue to espouse the agenda of the previous administration,” he said. “So I don't think it should come as any surprise that there are people that burrowed into government during the eight years of the last administration and, you know, may have believed that agenda and want to continue to seek it."
“I don't think that should come as a surprise to anyone,” he added.
Trump and his senior advisers, including chief strategist Steve Bannon, reportedly believe that leftovers from the Obama administration are actively working to discredit his authority and leak damaging information to the press. This concern fueled Trump’s allegation over the weekend that Obama himself ordered Trump Tower wiretapped during the campaign.
That information is believed to have come from a Breitbart News story that circulated around the White House last week.
Though Trump allies like Fox News host Sean Hannity have urged him to “purge” these disloyal officials, the administration does not currently have a plan to do so.
Asked by Walker if the Director of the CIA or Director of National Intelligence has a “presidential mandate" to root out those individuals, Spicer said no.