Fox Business host Lou Dobbs has blamed the “deep state” conspiracy theory for the arrest of Steve Bannon, the former Trump campaign manager who on Thursday pleaded not guilty to a charge of skimming donations from a fundraising campaign for a border wall with Mexico.
Bannon himself is a key propagator of the theory that unknown government operatives are working against the Trump administration – but has also said the idea is “for nut cases” and should not be taken seriously.
Addressing the story on his show on Thursday night, Dobbs, one of Donald Trump’s favorite Fox hosts, said Bannon “was arrested this morning, not by the FBI or US Marshals but by inspectors of the US Postal Service while Bannon was cruising aboard a mega yacht, owned by a Chinese billionaire”.
“Yes, you heard that correctly – an elite police unit of the Postal Service. They’re called the US Postal Inspection Service and they had authority to arrest Bannon and they did so … Somehow, the deep state launched agents of the US Postal Service to arrest Mr Bannon.”
The “deep state” is supposedly a conglomeration of bureaucrats and law enforcement agents which exists to thwart Trump’s agenda. Bannon enthusiastically propagated the theory when he was Trump’s campaign manager in the 2016 election and then a senior adviser in the White House.
However, since leaving Trump’s employ he has repeatedly cast doubt on the theory.
In Deep State: Trump, the FBI and the Rule of Law by James B Stewart, published last October, Bannon said the “deep state conspiracy theory is for nut cases”, because “America isn’t Turkey or Egypt”.
There is a formidable government bureaucracy in the US, he told Stewart, but “there’s nothing ‘deep’ about it. It’s right in your face.”
Bannon also described to the journalist Michael Wolff, for his book Siege: Trump Under Fire, advice he gave to a ghostwriter working on Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State is Undermining the Presidency, a book by Trump aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie.
As quoted by Wolff, Bannon said: “You do realise that none of this is true.”