Over the past few weeks, according to White House sources, Trump has been quizzing confidants about whether Mulvaney is tough enough as the Democratic-controlled House barrels toward an impeachment vote. The same person close to Trump, who asked to remain anonymous to speak candidly about personnel issues, noted that Mulvaney, who took the job in December, might not be battle-tested. For most of the time Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated Trump’s conduct as part of the Russia investigation, Mulvaney was in a peripheral role as budget director and acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “He wasn’t in the foxhole in the last go-round,” this person told me. The White House did not make Mulvaney available for comment for this article…

It’s not unusual for Trump to question associates about how aides are performing, and it doesn’t always mean he wants a particular person gone. Over the past couple of weeks, Trump has also mused that ousting Mulvaney at this moment of his presidency might make matters worse. The president is wary of being seen as shaking up his senior staff with no assurance the next chief will be an improvement, the person close to Trump said.

For his part, Mulvaney doesn’t seem worried—about any of it. In staff meetings, Mulvaney has said that impeachment is likely to boomerang and result in a decisive defeat for Democrats in the 2020 election, the White House official told me. As for Trump questioning whether Mulvaney is up to the task, the official added: “That’s not a leading indicator at all. [Mulvaney] could not be happier about the challenges of the job, and is pleased with the role. His feeling is the president is similarly happy with him. The relationship is as strong as it’s ever been.”