Trying to constrain Trump is “a pipe dream,” said one current White House official. “Everyone who has tried had eventually failed in some way.”

“It’s just looking like everything is coming apart,” said a former White House official. Another former senior West Wing aide agreed that the White House seemed to be “a little bit unraveling” in recent days.

Some current White House officials say they are simply exhausted after all the constant fighting, and lack the energy to try to constrain a wilful president bent on having his own way. It’s normal for officials to return to the private sector after a few years of pressure-cooker public service, but the Trump administration has seen extraordinary levels of turnover, and the administration’s current ranks are thin and getting thinner. A current White House official described a “who cares” attitude creeping through the building under Mulvaney’s hands-off management style.

But others in the White House relish the daily hand-to-hand combat as House Democrats careen toward what looks like an inevitable impeachment vote.