McDonough, as has been widely reported, wants to cap at 10 percent the amount of White House time that gets spent responding to the furors of the moment rather than advancing the president’s broader agenda.

Among other White House staff, solace is taken from a number of factors.

First, they believe that there is no direct link between the president and any of the misbehavior that is being probed.

Second, they contend that the only thing that could truly jeopardize him, or his top aides, is inappropriate meddling in future investigations or those currently underway.

Third, they say that maintaining a steady focus on the large issues of national importance will pay off in the long run.

Obama supporters who have left the White House make similar points.