The result: a White House solar system in which the president functions as the sun and his aides and advisers circle around him, but with no clear lines of orbit. Giuliani, for instance, weighed in during a recent interview with The Washington Post on a topic totally outside his Russia-investigation purview: Iran.

“The president down the road is thinking regime change in Iran,” Giuliani said. “There is no doubt that at some point, we have to make that change. What side of history do you want to be on?”

At least two people in Trump’s circle — one current White House official and one former — likened the dynamic in the West Wing to HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” They chose the show, they said, not because of the internecine conflicts and deadly family feuds, but because of the general sense of confusion and seesawing fortunes.

“I would liken it to ‘Game of Thrones’ a little bit, not for the obvious reason, but from a factual standpoint,” said the current official. “No one knows where anyone else is, and everyone is playing everyone else a little bit. Everyone is essentially in business for themselves.”