An eye-popping exposé of what amounts to a Cabinet appointment for Vladimir Putin in the Trump White House.
The facts are being revealed daily: In one bit of fresh Trump news uncovered by Yahoo News investigative reporter Isikoff and Mother Jones Washington bureau chief Corn (co-authors: Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, 2006), Russian authorities lobbied the incoming administration extensively for a Putin regime–friendly secretary of state, and voilà, Rex Tillerson was appointed. That Tillerson is out of office is just one denouement of a tale that may start with the premise, as one intelligence insider put it, that the White House is now occupied by a “Manchurian candidate.” And why might Trump be so characterized? There lies the meat of this book, a careful, piece-by-piece look at the business dealings between Russia and various tentacles of Trump’s shady business empire, including attempted spinoffs from the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow that collectively explain “Trump’s unwavering sympathy for the Russian strongman”—a sympathy that includes refusing to enforce congressionally mandated sanctions. Quite simply, write the authors, “Trump would not criticize the man whose permission he would need to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.” Tied up in what is a resounding refusal to put national interests over personal ones are a mess of related circumstances, including side notes on Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden, and the Panama Papers; Barack Obama’s failure to act on intelligence that reported Russian infiltration of the American electoral process; an unhurried intelligence apparatus that assumed that Hillary Clinton was going to win; and now, a compromised president who, for all his protestations to the contrary, seems thoroughly in the pocket of the Russian government. “Never before,” write the authors, “had a president’s election been so closely linked to the intervention of a foreign power.”
If you’re puzzled why the sitting president isn’t going after the Russians for election tampering and other bad behavior, this is just the book to explain.