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Here's what Trump supporters mean when they talk about the 'deep state'

 (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Leaks to reporters. Supposed wiretaps of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. Federal court rulings against the ban on travel and refugee resettlement.

For allies of Trump — aides, politicians and right-wing news sites — these are evidence of the existence of a “deep state,” a secretive, coordinated network inside the government dedicated to undermining the administration.

Asked by reporters recently whether the deep state exists, Sean Spicer, the president’s press secretary, offered this observation: “I don’t think it should come as any surprise that there are people burrowed into government during eight years of the last administration and may have believed in that agenda and want to continue to seek it.”

But whether it goes beyond that is a topic of debate. Here’s some background on the deep state:

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