He tested the limits in Helsinki, Finland, when — standing shoulder to shoulder with Vladimir V. Putin — he sided with the Russian president’s assurances over his own intelligence community’s assessment that the Kremlin had interfered with the 2016 election.

He has pushed his party over and over with his firing of an F.B.I. director, his attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his policy to separate migrant children from their parents, his threats to intervene in the investigations closing in on him and his unorthodox pardons.

Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, lamented that the White House had become a “three-ring circus.” The anonymous piece in The Times this week was “similar to what so many of us hear from senior people around the White House, you know, three times a week,” he told the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday, adding, “You don’t run the country as a soap opera.”

After reading the anonymous essay depicting efforts within Mr. Trump’s own government to contain him, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the retiring Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, asked, “Who wouldn’t have written a letter like that?”

But that is a minority sentiment, at least publicly so. More representative is Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, who told reporters on Thursday, “What I concern myself about are the results of government, and the results of government are good results.”

The president’s staunchest allies defend him without caveats. Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, said he would explore potential legislative tools that could help identify the author of the essay.

Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, suggested that Mr. Trump could use a lie-detector test to ferret out the piece’s author. Others suggested that the essay would play in the president’s favor, proof of the entrenched “deep state” that he has claimed is undermining his presidency.



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Categories: Political Spinlines

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