Pompeo: 'I don’t believe there is a deep state at the State Department'

Pompeo: 'I don’t believe there is a deep state at the State Department'
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday rejected the possibility of a "deep state" existing at the State Department, following President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE's latest claim that there is a group of employees in federal government working to undermine his administration.

“I haven’t seen the comments from the president. I don’t believe there is a deep state at the State Department,” Pompeo said during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. 

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His answer during the diplomacy hearing came after a member of the panel, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), pressed the recently confirmed head of State on whether he agrees with the president that a "criminal deep state" exists within the federal government. 

Trump has repeatedly claimed that there is a "deep state," a conspiracy that a group of unelected officials is operating behind the scenes at the highest levels of government to influence policy.

Trump tweeted about the existence of internal opposition on Monday amid reports that the FBI used an informant to investigate possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential race.

Pompeo, who previously served as CIA director before being confirmed last month, also denied the possibility that there was a deep state at the spy agency earlier this year.

Lieu continued to ask in the hearing whether Pompeo observed any opposition efforts while he served as CIA chief.

“This term ‘deep state’ has been thrown around — I will say this, the employees that work for me at the CIA, nearly uniformly, were aimed at achieving the president’s objectives and America’s objectives,” he said.

When asked whether he believes this to also be true when he interacts with colleagues at the FBI and Department of Justice, Pompeo said “yes,” but also added that “there are always exceptions to every rule.”

“I don’t think any government organization is exempt from having malfeasance,” Pompeo continued.

Earlier this year, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesJuan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America Trump expected to nominate Texas GOP lawmaker to replace Dan Coats: report House Republicans claim victory after Mueller hearings MORE (R-Calif.) stated that he would investigate other federal agencies, like the State Department, after releasing a controversial memo alleging surveillance abuses by officials there.

"We are in the middle of what I call phase two of our investigation, which involves other departments, specifically the State Department and some of the involvement that they had in this," Nunes said on Fox News in February.

"That investigation is ongoing and we continue work towards finding answers and asking the right questions to try to get to the bottom of what exactly the State Department was up to in terms of this Russia investigation."

Updated at 1:18 p.m.