Virgil, in his immortal way, has gained possession of a second transcript of a meeting of the Deep State Executive Committee. Although he has been unable to verify this document or identify the attendees, he believes it to be an accurate portrayal of ongoing Deep State activities against President Trump. The transcript of an earlier meeting can be found here.
Chair: “The Executive Committee will come to order. We’ve made a lot of progress, so let’s get right to it; let’s go ‘round to all of our operating divisions. First, the Core Deep State Division.”
Member #1: “The big news from CDSD, of course, is the defenestration of Flynn—
—“Yes, we leak on Flynn, and Flynn gets fired. What’s not to like?
“And now, The Washington Post is speculating that Flynn could be guilty of a felony. Those are the flames of a good rumor to fan!”
(Even louder applause)
Chair: “Indeed. And now, of course, the news is that Admiral Harward has turned down the job as Flynn’s replacement at the NSC. More ‘disarray’ stories!
In fact, it’s clear that we have rattled Trump. Here’s what he had to say on the 15th:
From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked. It’s a criminal action, criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on.
“Yes, it’s a leak-o-rama, and Trump is the fish in the barrel, if I might be permitted to mix a metaphor.”
Member #1: “Even now, it’s not so clear that the Trump people have come to grips with a change that the Obama administration made in its final days—that is, to open up ‘sharing’ among the 17 agencies in the ‘intel community.’ There was a headline in The New York Times last month, ‘NSA Gets More Latitude to Share Intercepted Communications,’ that detailed the collapsing of the silos between the agencies—I wonder if the Trump people really understood what it meant.”
Chair: “Yes, that was a deft move, I think, by Ben, John, and Jim. The rules that safeguarded the Obama presidency were amended just in time for the un-safeguarding of his successor. As Trump himself might say, ‘Sad!’”
Member #2: “It’s too late for the Trumpkins now. Even if they reverse the order, we’ll find a way around it—we’ve proven our capability. We are legion!”
Chair: “Yes, but still, we always want to protect our people. We don’t insist on strict legality, but we do have to be careful. As Gregg Jarrett of Fox News—
“—reminded his audience of neanderthals, under 18 USC 798, it’s a crime punishable by up to 10 years to leak classified information on a US citizen.”
Member #3 “So what? They’ll never get a conviction from an inside-the-Beltway jury!”
Member #4: “Yeah! We’ll nullify!”
Chair: “Yes, yes. If and when we have to fight that fight, we will. Any federal employee accused of anything anti-Trump will be able to count on getting the finest representation from the best DC law firm, pro bono—“
Member #5: “—and the same with Snowden, if the Russians send him back to the US as a favor to Trump. He’ll never get convicted!”
Chair: “We certainly hope not; after all, Snowden’s a hero. Although I must say, now that we see what our friends at the NSA and other agencies can do—do to Trump, that is—I’m starting to like them better.
(Mix of grumbles and applause)
“Be that as it may, we don’t have to settle these matters now. Still, I have some concerns. I see, for example, that Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, wants the Justice Department’s Inspector General to look in on what’s happened, leak-wise.”
Member #6: “That’s fine! The DOJ IG is one of us!”
Chair: “I knew it! Okay, so what else from Core?”
Member #1: “We’ve been having fun. As our friends at The New York Times wrote the other day about the hemorrhage of leaks:
So far, the White House has had little success in trying to shift the narrative from the Russian contacts to accusations about the leaking of sensitive information by the intelligence agencies, as well as by the FBI.
“Yes, no success for them. The Trumpkins can’t change the narrative because we are the narrative. We own it!
“And on a smaller note, we can note with satisfaction this February 16th headline in Politico: “White House dismisses 6 over failed background checks.” At the beginning of any administration, it’s pretty standard that a few people flunk their SF86 questionnaire and/or background check, but it’s not standard that we’re all reading about it in near-real time. We’ve smeared some Trump underlings, good ’n’ hard!
“And meanwhile, the Resistance continues in the agencies. There’s this report in The New York Times, citing the heroism of our brothers, sisters, and others, at the EPA:
Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency have been calling their senators to urge them to vote on Friday against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s contentious nominee to run the agency, a remarkable display of activism and defiance that presages turbulent times ahead for the EPA.
“Of course, as the Chair reminds us, we do have to be careful. A right-wing rag, The Washington Examiner, published a story the other day, headlined, “GAO: Cyber attack threat from federal employees.” Which, of course, is exactly accurate, but we don’t need the Government Accountability Office flagging that.
“And there are other worrisome developments: For example, the House Science and Technology Committee, controlled, of course, by the Repuglicans, has taken note of the fact that federal employees are increasingly turning to encryption, as Politico puts it, to ‘thwart Trump.’
“That’s exactly what they’re doing, of course, but we don’t need the public to know about it.
“Indeed, the Committee is showing more aggressiveness than we might like. In a February 14th letter to the EPA’s IG, it noted that of 3.1 million text messages sent or received by EPA employees on government-issued devices, just 86 were archived for the federal records. That is, only about one-fortieth of one percent were retained.”
Member #7: “So what can the Repubs do about this? EPA employees have civil-service protection and unions.”
Member #1: “Yes, that’s correct. And so it’s not so clear that they can do anything to stop EPA people from using federal equipment like that. We do, indeed, have the system pretty well wired. We’ll just have to watch developments, that’s all.
“Meanwhile, by complete coincidence, the FBI is releasing the raw notes from its investigation of Trump’s company’s fair-housing practices from more than 40 years ago. It’s a small thing, but very unflattering to Trump! Sad!”
Member #7: “Question: Is there anything that Attorney General Sessions can do to stop this?”
Member #1: “Sure, he can try. He can convey his thinking to FBI Director Comey. And then, of course, we’ll all be reading about the next day!”
Chair: “Thank you, CDSD. Great job, as always. Next, we will hear from the Guerrilla Theater Division.”
Member #8: “We at the GTD have been a little bit quiet. We are in between mega-protests, you might say. Still, working with the Indivisible people, we’ve laid out a good road map for the months to come, targeting Republicans’ Congressional offices back in their states and districts. I saw that The Drudge Report just bannered a headline: ‘Lawmakers brace for protests during Congressional recess.’ That’s us!”
Member #9: “I was a little concerned to see that incident in California, in which a Republican staffer—a 71-year-old woman—for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher was jostled and knocked down; she had to be taken to the hospital. That was concerning to me, and I’ll bet to a lot of folks.”
Member #8: “The GTD takes a different view. As we say, in a revolution, things happen. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”
Member #9: “So the end justifies the means? I’m not sure that all of us agree with that. And what if there are legal ramifications? What if prosecutors start linking an individual violent protester to the rest of us? There could be significant RICO-type conspiracy exposure. Some of us have assets to protect.”
Member #8: “Oh, I see. So you’re a Conciliationist. I wonder—”
Chair: “That’s quite enough! We will have no sharp words here at this meeting! We want an honest exchange of views, but our hostility must be directed toward the real enemy, Trump, and never towards each other.
“I think that the issue of potentially criminal behavior is one that needs to be watched closely. We don’t want to cross any lines and end up like the campus protesters and rioters of the 1960s, who inadvertently helped Richard Nixon and other backlash Republicans.”
Member #8: “I’ll just point out that in the case of the Rohrabacher protest, not a single protester was arrested. We got away clean. And always, when confronting the fires of evil, we must fight fire with fire.”
Member #9: “Fight fascism with fascism?”
Chair: “All right, thank you both; you will please both take your seats. Very well, we will have to consider these guerrilla-theater issues in a subcommittee. Now let’s move on; let’s hear from the Popular Culture Division.”
Member #10: “The bestest news, of course, is that Saturday Night Live has turned into all-Trump-bashing all the time. Alec Baldwin, Kate McKinnon, perhaps Rosie O’Donnell—the show is turning into 90 minutes of clubbing Trump! And the ratings are up!
“And I just saw that Kate had dinner with Hillary Clinton—so bygones are bygones, and now Kate can move on toward perfecting her portrayal of Kellyanne Conway. Although many of us think that she’s already pretty darn perfect!
“And in other fabulous news: The tough-on-Trump Stephen Colbert has overtaken the soft-on-Trump Jimmy Fallon in the ratings. Indeed, it’s a contest now, every night, to see who can hit Trump the hardest.”
Chair: “Excellent, excellent. Now let’s hear from the Media Division.”
Member #7: “We have good news: We have, shall we say, persuaded The Wall Street Journal news side into joining with us. As we know, the Murdoch minions who think that they run the paper had been aloof from our campaign, and so we turned up the heat. The Times, for example, hit the Journal with both barrels, news and editorial. And so, thanks to that and plenty of other pressure, the Journal news side switched sides—they’re now with us.”
Member #4: “Let’s hear it for Jim Rutenberg and David Leonhardt!”
Member #7: “As evidence of our breakthrough, check out this Thursday headline in the Journal: ‘Spies Keep Intelligence From Trump.‘ That is, Trump is not to be trusted—even the spooks think so! The Office of the Director of National Intelligence firmly denied the story, but who cares—the damage is done!
“And there’s more: I can point to another success at, if you can believe it, Fox News.
“Yes, Fox! On Thursday afternoon, Shepard Smith defended CNN’s Jim Acosta’s questioning of Trump during the White House press conference a few hours earlier. Smith looked at the camera and aimed his comments directly at Trump. And I quote:
It is crazy what we are watching every day. He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all, and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we are fools for asking the question. That you call us fake news and put us down like children for asking these questions on behalf of the American people is inconsequential. The people deserve that answer, at very least.
Member #8: “That is good, although, of course, Smith will have to do a lot more than that.”
Member #7: “He will, don’t you worry, he will.
“I’d also like to take note of an interesting commentary in Axios by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen. As they wrote the other day, ‘The media—often, but not always, with an assist from anti-Trump career government employees—is the new US Oversight Committee.’ Yes! That is, indeed, the role that we aspire to: The Oversight Committee for the United States!
“Now I will say, in closing, that there’s a little bit of disturbing news. That is, there was a bad story in the Times—the Times!—criticizing the very idea of the deep state.
“The headline reads: ‘As Leaks Multiply, Fears of a ‘Deep State’ in America.’ The piece openly compared what’s happening here to what’s been happening in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Turkey. As the article said, this is ‘bad for everyone…inch [ing] deeper into the gray zone of counter-democratic activities.’”
Chair: “Thank you. I’ll make a note to myself: It’s time to have a talk with the Sulzbergers. The quicker we can persuade Carlos Slim, or Mike Bloomberg, to buy the paper outright, the better.
“Now to the Politics Division.”
Member #11: “Thank you. We’ve had some disappointments. There are still some Democrats in the Senate, such as Heitkamp and Manchin, who are way too friendly with Trump.
“And yet we seem to have brought other red-state Dems around, such as Donnelly and McCaskill.
“So it’s an ongoing process. We would love to primary all these right-wing Democrats and take them out, but we’re not sure a progressive can win. And we certainly can’t afford to lose their seats to the Republicans. Please be assured that these questions are receiving the utmost attention from the minority leaders.
“On a brighter note, we are well on our way to forcing the Republicans in Congress—both in the Senate and in the House—to begin formal investigations of Trump, Flynn, Russia, the whole mess. That’s the ideal, of course; we get the Republicans to do the heavy lifting, and we praise them to the skies—at least until the next election.
“Also, we look forward to reaching out to Evan McMullin, the renegade Republican who trashes Trump at every opportunity. I don’t know much about him, but given his own background in the deep state, I think we might have the opportunity to work more closely with him. Unless, of course, we already are, sub rosa…”
Chair: “Thanks very much, PD. But we’re running out of time. So let’s hear, now, from the Corporate Division.”
Member #12: “Thank you. I know that we’re pressed for time, so I’ll be brief. We got Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour, to take back his praise of Trump, in the form of a full-page ad in The Baltimore Sun, no less. As celebrities and athletes threatened to boycott him and take away the cool, urban appeal of the brand, the stock was tanking. And so Plank had no choice but to back away. Such wonderful humiliation!
“Next, we have to get through to Elon Musk, and also, we have unfinished business with CEOs such as Ginni Rometty of IBM.”
Chair: “Thanks, CD, for that brief but inspiring report. Now to Legal.”
Member #4: “Perhaps the biggest single challenge we face is persuading Jeff Sessions to recuse himself on Russia-related matters.
“That’s a tall order, of course. At present, Sessions has no intention, zero, of recusing. But we have just begun to fight, in public and behind the scenes. We have virtually the whole of the Justice Department on our side, and so we’re working with the IG, the OLC, and others, in the law schools and legal societies, as well as the punditariat, to mousetrap him into recusing. Because if we can, the resulting investigations, and leaks, will make Watergate look like a dress rehearsal. Wish us luck!”
Chair: “Yes, that reminds me. I must call Eric Schneiderman. So much to be done… But that’s enough for now. Thank you all, and we’ll see you next week.”
[Editor’s Note: This is a work of satire. Publius Vergilius Maro, 70 BC-19 BC, known as Virgil, was the author of “The Aeneid”—and that was fictional, too.]