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'The Deep State': Jason Chaffetz says 'it's real' in new book

Entrenched government bent on staying in power, destroying Trump, ex-congressman says

FILE - House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. The concerns detailed in Chaffetz's book, set to be released Sept. 18, largely stem from investigati
FILE - House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. The concerns detailed in Chaffetz's book, set to be released Sept. 18, largely stem from investigations undertaken during his time as chairman.
Molly Riley, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Don't look for references in Jason Chaffetz's new book, "The Deep State," to the mysterious "Q," a supposed federal government official behind internet conspiracy theories aimed at bolstering President Donald Trump.

"I haven't had any firsthand experience with that. It's not something I've looked at or paid any attention to," the former Utah congressman told the Deseret News. "I can't say definitively it's not true. But that's totally different than the deep state problems I see here."

The "Q" signs and T-shirts that surfaced at Trump campaign rallies this summer express support for often extreme theories spread online that are tied to what's seen as a plot headed by the president to take down their version of the deep state.

“The Deep State," by Jason Chaffetz
“The Deep State," by Jason Chaffetz
Amazon

The concerns detailed in Chaffetz's book, set to be released Sept. 18, largely stem from investigations undertaken during his time as chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Chaffetz, who stepped down from his 3rd Congressional District seat last year and became a contributor to Fox News, has plenty of harsh words about an entrenched government he believes is bent on staying in power at all costs.

"People can scoff at the deep state, but I'm here to tell you it's real, and it's not a tinfoil hat experience," he said, warning that the bureaucrats "fight back. They don't hide. They try to outlast and embarrass. They're not bashful about it because they know there's no consequence."

Chaffetz counts himself among the deep state's chief enemies, but it's Trump who appears on the cover of his book, above a picture of former President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic 2016 presidential candidate.

The book's subtitle explains what Chaffetz sees as happening to his fellow Republican in the White House: "How an Army of Bureaucrats Protected Barack Obama and Is Working to Destroy Donald Trump."

In Chaffetz's case, the deep state came for him in 2015.

That's when some 45 Secret Service members accessed his long-ago application to join the agency and one top official wrote in an email, "Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out. Just to be fair."

Chaffetz said that since the widely reported incident was about him, it was funny. But as he notes in the book, "If federal agency employees can pull these illegal tricks on a congressman, imagine what they might do to a regular citizen."

He says he was not entirely serious about working for the Secret Service and that it "was for the best" that he didn't get the job because "I think history has shown my talents can be better used elsewhere."

Trump is described in the book as a disruptive force who turned on the New York-based media and the coastal elites, and "loved America so much he was not going to 'play the game.'"

Chaffetz writes that Trump's election wounded the deep state, now "waging all-out war against this president," and his plans, including for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

He says the deep state benefits from illegal immigration because as long as it continues, "we need more and more government to figure it out," with help from consultants and encouragement from businesses that profit from low-cost labor.

The real solution is the wall Trump campaigned on, Chaffetz says.

"Not a puny fence. Not a passable river or a walking path with guard rails that is ADA compliant. A wall. Our borders will not be safe until the wall is built."

Much of the book focuses on Chaffetz's wranglings with a variety of federal agencies brought before the House oversight committee, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, which he labeled the federal government's worst-managed.

His efforts to investigate the deadly 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, "a massive deep state iceberg — one that to this day has not fully surfaced," are extensively covered in the book.

Chaffetz says the U.S. State Department deployed people to spy on the congressional inquiry, including an attorney "sent by the deep state to ensure I didn't screw up their narrative" during his trip to Libya shortly after the attack.

But it was his run-ins with the new Republican administration in 2017 that Chaffetz said played a big role in his decision to leave Congress less than a year into his fifth term.

Trump's key appointees, especially then newly installed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, took what Chaffetz called a "very hands-off approach" to helping Congress pursue investigations, resulting in the deep state "continuing to run things."

Even leaders of the GOP-controlled Congress weren't interested, he said.

"I became disillusioned and deeply frustrated that Congress could not do its job," Chaffetz wrote. "If we couldn't find the wherewithal to defend our power under these most favorable circumstances, when would we?"

He said that "contributed to my decision weeks later to leave Congress." At the time, Chaffetz said his primary reason for resigning was to spend more time with his family, but acknowledged he felt "so sour" about congressional inaction.

Sessions' decision not to use the Department of Justice to enforce subpoenas issued by the oversight committee "was a huge part of my leaving Congress, a huge part," Chaffetz told the Deseret News.

He said Sessions saw the situation as too political and treated it the same as his predecessors in the Obama administration.

"The deep state stays there no matter who wins the presidency," Chaffetz said. "It really came to a crescendo and it really solidified in my mind how bad this problem really is."