Another warning sign

Basically any senior White House official you might talk to has a story about how he or she kept the president from making some terrible mistake by some act of manipulation. Many Republican members of Congress do too. And to hear them tell it is often to be left grateful they acted as they did (though of course people are always heroes in their own stories). But those stories also describe profound dysfunction around the American presidency, and at times highly inappropriate behavior by unelected appointees in the employ of an elected president…

There are serious professionals on this White House team, at the NSC and elsewhere. But a White House dealing with an intense crisis needs to rely on established patterns of mutual trust and respect and familiar procedures for handling and channeling information, putting options before the president, and keeping things calm and organized. More than a year in, this White House lacks almost all of that. Confronted with a serious crisis, their system could easily crumple.