Thirty pieces of silver or a few billion rubles: By counterterrorism expert Nance’s account, either adds up to treason.
In his predecessor volume The Plot To Destroy Democracy: How Putin’s Spies Are Winning Control of America and Dismantling the West (2018), the author gave Donald Trump some benefit of the doubt with the thought that perhaps he’d unwittingly fallen into schemes on the part of Russian intelligence, being “too stupid to suss it out.” Here, in an account that begins with Trump’s plea during the 2016 campaign for Russia, “if you’re listening…to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Nance holds that Trump’s open act of soliciting the aid of a foreign and rival government was an act of treason—and a knowing one as well. The pairing was natural, by the author’s account, since Russia harbored the same hatred for nonheterosexuals and nonwhites that the Republican Party so openly manifests. Nance’s argument is scattershot and heated, but he does a good job of showing how the Russian campaign to infiltrate the Trump campaign was staged and was so willingly accepted, with key agents taking roles in the Miss Universe contest, swaying the National Rifle Association, and conning Donald Trump Jr., “an avid shooter of defenseless animals.” Moreover, he shows that Trump had opened the door for all of this collusion decades earlier, when he signaled that only he could make the decisions necessary to fix the world’s problems, taking out a full-page New York Times ad in 1987 to condemn NATO and demand that the U.S. “stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves,” exactly in keeping with the Russian line. Trump emerges as treasonous, to be sure, as do others in his administration, notably Attorney General William Barr—and the book is timely, inasmuch as they’re now busily explaining new charges of collusion with Ukraine and other nations in the 2020 campaign.
Occasionally overwrought but right on the money in enumerating Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors.