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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Politicians and government officials across Trumpworld are adopting the "never admit defeat" tactics of their boss and crying "WITCH HUNT!" after finding themselves in legal hot water.

Why it matters: By appealing to the president’s distrust of the nefarious "Deep State," these Trump acolytes attempt to convince him — and his base — that they're being targeted by shadowy forces inside the government.

The "blame the Deep State" cardholders:
  • Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) — one of Trump's earliest supporters — has been adamant that the brutal 47-page indictment alleging he and his wife routinely and illegally used campaign funds to pay for their lavish lifestyle is a ploy by the DOJ to take him, and anyone else with whom they differ, down.
“This is political — period. This is the U.S government — what I would call the deep state ... they want to rig the election their own way, because they can’t beat me in a real election.”
— Rep. Duncan Hunter to the San Diego Union Tribune
  • White House National Security analyst Adam Lovinger had his high-level security clearance yanked by Pentagon officials following allegations of misconduct, such as when he reportedly took a classified report onboard an airplane. Lovinger's attorney, Sean Bigley, told Axios that Lovinger's case is a prime example of the "Deep State" "weaponizing" clearances in an effort to thwart the president's agenda and carry out political vendettas.
  • Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted on sweeping corruption charges in 2011 and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. In May, Trump said he was considering commuting the rest of his sentence. Soon after Blagojevich's wife Patti made the rounds on Fox News and and wrote blistering op-eds to appeal to Trump, claiming that "the same people" who took down her husband are now going after the president.
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who has denied accusations that he ignored sexual abuse claims while a wrestling coach at Ohio State University, has publicly pointed to the fact that the law firm hired by OSU to investigate the allegations is connected to the Clintons and is linked to the Steele dossier. And while Jordan hasn't gone so far as to call this "a conspiracy," other notable Republicans, like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), maintain the "Deep State" is out to get him.

The bottom line: These men have taken a page straight out of Trump's playbook — deny, deny, deny, and accuse the accuser — whether with an eye on a potential pardon or help reviving their battered reputations. And, like the president's campaign to discredit the FBI and those he deems political enemies, these men have succeeded in sowing seeds of doubt among those on the right.

Go deeper

20 mins ago - World

Biden huddles with European allies on Ukraine ahead of Putin call

Putin in the Kremlin. Photo: Grigory Sysoyev/Sputnik via Getty

President Biden will seek to convince Russia's Vladimir Putin in a phone call Tuesday that the price of invading Ukraine would be steeper than anything he's faced in the past.

Driving the news: Biden held a call on Ukraine this evening with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., while Secretary of State Tony Blinken called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer America's "unwavering support."

Justice Department closes Emmett Till murder probe

A faded photograph is attached to the headstone that marks the gravesite of Emmett Till in Burr Oak Cemetery in Chicago. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

The family of Emmett Till announced Monday that the Department of Justice has formally closed its second investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till.

Why it matters: The DOJ reopened the probe in 2018 after the white woman at the center of the case reportedly recanted her allegation that Till, a Black 14-year-old, sexually harassed her prior to his murder.

GOP Rep. Devin Nunes to retire, will be CEO of Trump media org

Rep. Devin Nunes. Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who serves as the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, will retire at the end of the year and become CEO of Trump's new media organization.

Why it matters: Nunes, once considered a moderate member of the party, became one of the fiercest defenders of former President Donald Trump throughout both of Trump's impeachments and the Intel committee's Russia investigation.

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