Donald Trump demands absolute loyalty from his inner circle, and they have already broken the law to make him happy.
Donald Trump has made it clear to his network of underlings that above all else — including the law — he demands absolute loyalty.
Recent revelations from former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos give a chilling hint into how far those within the Trump cult of personality may be willing to go.
ABC News reports that based on information from a source close to the federal investigation into the Trump team, Papadopoulos lied under oath "out of what he claimed was loyalty to President Donald Trump."
Papadopoulos recently pleaded guilty to lying under oath when he was questioned by the FBI about the Trump campaign's communication with Russia during the election. He is now an informant working with special counsel Robert Mueller, while the Trump administration has desperately tried to downplay his role.
At first, Papadopoulos told investigators that Russians reached out to him before he joined the campaign. He later admitted that was false.
"Loyalty" was key to the friction between Trump and former FBI Director James Comey. After Trump fired him, Comey testified that Trump told him, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty" at a private dinner between the two men.
Trump reportedly felt Comey had been disloyal when he refused to lie and say that Trump was not under investigation. That unwillingness to show "loyalty" led to Comey's firing, which later triggered the special counsel investigation, which now includes possible obstruction of justice.
Trump's demand for loyalty also reared its head in his public spat with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions endorsed Trump ahead of many of his fellow senators, and was seen as a key member of the Trump inner circle. He even lied while under oath about meeting Russian officials while operating as part of the Trump campaign.
But when Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation as outside pressure mounted, Trump viewed it as a disloyal act. He began attacking Sessions publicly, making it clear he felt Sessions should have put his thumb on the scale in Trump's favor.
The ethics and laws of such a move don't concern Trump. He demands loyalty. He needs loyalty. No matter what.
The men and women who surround Trump make it clear on a daily basis that their loyalty is to Trump, not to the country, or even to their own political party. The public knows about just a few of the consequences of the tug of war over loyalty and the demands Trump has placed on those in his thrall.
But what isn't known thus far is how far these people have gone to please Trump. It is obvious that laws and ethics and morality are no obstacle to them.
What else is being done, behind closed doors, to demonstrate complete loyalty to Trump?