But it’s not only Capitol Hill Democrats that are preparing for a new reality. Whatever the White House says in the face of Trump’s ultimate acquittal in the Senate, U.S. administration officials and foreign officials acknowledge Trump will increasingly manufacture his own foreign policy decisions, with his personal associates, without the input of his intelligence and national security agencies. That means Trump will more likely have the ability to run his personal political errands—and business agenda—with little, if any, scrutiny. And when that scheme falls apart, and Trump’s personal associates turn on him, or decide to detail the behind-the-scenes shenanigans, the U.S. will lose credibility on the world stage.
“We’ve already seen this happen with [John] Bolton,” one U.S. official with an extensive foreign policy portfolio, said, referring to the former national security adviser. “His own officials will go to conferences, or hold meetings, and we’ll be blindsided by discussions the White House has had behind our backs. And how do you think this makes us look? Disorganized for one. But also that we’re a country, or at least a government, divided.”