Former CIA Acting Director John McLaughlin expressed gratitude Wednesday for the “deep state” and its role in the impeachment push against President Donald Trump.
McLaughlin embraced the term when asked during an event with other former intelligence officials whether a CIA whistleblower complaint that sparked an impeachment inquiry feeds into Trump’s complaints that the “deep state” is out to get him.
“There is something unique you have to agree that now the impeachment inquiry is underway, sparked by a complaint from someone within the intelligence community, it feeds the president’s concern, an often used term about a ‘deep state’ being there to take him out,” Margaret Brennan, the moderator for the event, asked McLaughlin.
“Thank God for the ‘deep state,’” replied the former spook, who served as acting director at the CIA in 2004.
McLaughlin appeared at the event, hosted by the Hayden Center, alongside former CIA Director John Brennan, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. They discussed the role of the intelligence community ahead of the 2020 election.
McLaughlin praised the anonymous whistleblower who filed the complaint against Trump, which centers on the president’s actions toward Ukraine. House Democrats have deposed several State Department and White House officials as part of a so-called impeachment inquiry.
“Everyone here has seen this progression of diplomats and intelligence officers and White House people trooping up to Capitol Hill right now and saying these are doing their duty and responding to a higher call,” said McLaughlin, who has also served as CIA deputy director.
“With all of the people who knew what was going on here, it took an intelligence officer to step forward and say something about it, which was the trigger that then unleashed everything else.”
Democrats and former intelligence officials have bristled at the term “deep state,” which Trump and his allies first used to describe an undefined group of bureaucrats who led the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
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