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Trump’s paranoid purge of White House staff is crippling his ability to get anything done: columnist

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According to Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Bernstein, Donald Trump’s preoccupation with the post-impeachment purge of anyone in his administration that he thinks may have crossed him is crippling any initiatives he may want to put forward and is now freeing Republican lawmakers to buck him on policy decisions.

To make his case, Bernstein questioned the conventional wisdom that the GOP-controlled Senate’s refusal to oust Trump on impeachment charges has strengthened the president by citing major defeats suffered by the president in recent days.

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“Just this week, the Senate gave Trump another black eye: Eight Republicans joined Democrats to support a war-powers resolution that would constrain the president’s options in Iran,” the columnist explained. “Granted, that number is far short of what would be needed to override an expected veto. But it’s hardly a show of support: Eight senators who just last week voted to acquit him in the impeachment trial now voted to reduce his ability to do whatever he wants in foreign policy — something that Trump’s lawyers argued was an inherent power of the presidency.”

Noting that a Trump appointee to the Federal Reserve is also floundering due to Republican resistance, Bernstein claimed that Trump is “systematically undermining his own ability to do his job” due to White House turmoil.

“Consider foreign policy and national security. Trump was already stripping his National Security Council of expert staff. Now, as Justin Sink of Bloomberg News reports, he’s considering banning the standard practice of having professional staff monitor his calls to foreign leaders,” he wrote. “This is an excellent plan if he’s planning to commit crimes in future calls, and not a terrible idea if he embarrasses himself and doesn’t want it to be known within the government or leaked to the media. But if he wants to use those calls to actually govern, it’s a disaster.”

“Not only will it make it easy for foreign nations to invent their own version of what was said without fear of being corrected; it will also make it almost impossible for the U.S. to follow through on Trump’s decisions,” he elaborated. “After all, in many cases the people who have to carry out the policies won’t know what commitments the president has made. He may think that he speaks and things happen all by themselves, but that’s not how the U.S. government works.”

Bernstein cautioned, “The more Trump rids himself of staff he doesn’t trust and tries to govern with a handful of family and loyalists, the more the government will be an unwieldy, uncoordinated mess of fiefs run by those skilled at flattering Trump and then going off and doing what they want.”

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