White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders assured reporters Tuesday that it was not the White House’s official position that the Justice Department was part of a “deep state” plotting to sabotage the Trump administration — at least, not the “entire” Justice Department.
Sanders also said the President had called for longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s arrest, despite the lack of any charges against her, because he “wants to make clear that he doesn’t feel that anyone should be above the law.”
At a press briefing Tuesday, a reporter asked about Trump’s tweet earlier in the day, in which he personally targeted Abedin and ousted FBI Director James Comey for arrest:
Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
“What did the President mean when he said the ‘Deep State Justice Department?’” ABC News’ Cecilia Vega asked. “And does this administration believe that the deep state is a real thing? That there is this shadow government out there actively plotting to sabotage him?”
“Look, the President finds some of those actions very disturbing,” Sanders said, without specifying further. “And he thinks that we need to make sure, if there is an issue that it is looked at, but if there was anything beyond that I would refer you to the Department of Justice.”
Vega pressed: “Does he believe the entire Justice Department and its more than 100,000 employees are part of this deep state?”
“Obviously, he doesn’t believe the entire Justice Department is part of that,” Sanders replied. “One of the things that the President has done is appoint Christopher Wray at the FBI because he wants to change the culture of that agency and he thinks he’s right to do that.”
“Is the President requesting that the Department of Justice investigate Huma Abedin?” Politico’s Matthew Nussbaum asked later. “How did he reach the conclusion that she should be in jail given she hasn’t been indicted or convicted of any crime?”
“Look, obviously, the facts of the case are very disturbing and I think the President wants to make clear that he doesn’t feel that anyone should be above the law,” Sanders said. “In terms of any investigation, that would be something the Department of Justice would need to decide.