Best Book on Trump-Russian Scandal

Michael Isikoff and David Corn are among the very top reporters who have been covering the Trump Russian scandal. Corn is the reporter who initially broke the Dossier story (no, it was not Buzzfeed), and Isikoff broke the story about US intelligence looking into a Trump-Kremlin connection via Carter Page. Since this initial work, these two reporters have been, along with dozens of others, putting into the public view the famous ice-berg tip that we all know Robert Mueller has the rest of hidden away somewhere.

Last night, at midnight, they released Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, which is a compendium of all we know now. As they noted in a recent interview (see below), this is a good time to bring this all together and summarize it for the American People. The story is far ranging and complex, and we have been exposed to an asynchronous and arbitrarily ordered series of vignettes, making a comprehensive understanding of what happened difficult.

The previously released Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff, served that purpose in its own way, using primarily (mostly) confirmable gossip to frame the Trump campaign, transition, and early white house, and that was quite helpful. Corn and Isikoff’s work is more of the graduate level version, digs deeper, starts earlier in the story, and of course, is more up to date.

From the publisher:

Russian Roulette is a story of political skullduggery unprecedented in American history. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry. After U.S.-Russia relations soured, as Vladimir Putin moved to reassert Russian strength on the global stage, Moscow trained its best hackers and trolls on U.S. political targets and exploited WikiLeaks to disseminate information that could affect the 2016 election.

The Russians were wildly successful and the great break-in of 2016 was no “third-rate burglary.” It was far more sophisticated and sinister — a brazen act of political espionage designed to interfere with American democracy. At the end of the day, Trump, the candidate who pursued business deals in Russia, won. And millions of Americans were left wondering, what the hell happened? This story of high-tech spying and multiple political feuds is told against the backdrop of Trump’s strange relationship with Putin and the curious ties between members of his inner circle — including Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn — and Russia.

Russian Roulette chronicles and explores this bizarre scandal, explains the stakes, and answers one of the biggest questions in American politics: How and why did a foreign government infiltrate the country’s political process and gain influence in Washington?

I’m reading it furiously, and have a lot more to cover but I’ve seen enough to say that at this moment in time, if you are going to read one book on the Trump-Russian scandal, make it this one.

Rachel Maddow says of the book, that this helped her understand better what has been happening. Since Maddow is among the top 10 people on the plant with respect to her understanding of what has happened (probably even understanding much of this more than some of those involved!), that is saying a lot.

I will also add that a major point made by these authors is that to understand Trump and Russia, you need to go back a few years and understand what Trump, Putin, various Oligarchs, Manefort, Page, and others were doing before there was any real solid idea of a Trump for President campaign. This, dear reader, is what I’ve been saying all along. Just sayin’.

Here is an interview with the authors on the Rachel Maddow show:

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25 thoughts on “Best Book on Trump-Russian Scandal

  1. So we wake up this morning to find out that the president fired Tillerson — likely because Tillerson blamed Russia for the recent poisoning of the former double agent and the agent’s daughter, while the official administration line is to refuse doing so.

    Then Trump announced that he had informed Tillerson last week that the firing was in the works. Tillerson’s aid reported that no, Tillerson had never been informed (per comment by Tillerson) and that he learned the news from a twitter post someone had shown him.

    Then Trump fired the aid that made that announcement.

    What a shit-show this administration has grown into.

    1. And the person tagged to replace former CIA head Pompeo is a big promoter of torture and was involved in covering up (destroying) documentation of CIA torture documentation. There seems to be no end to the despicable people around trump.

    2. If he was only informed today, why did he cancel weekend meetings, cut short his trip, and return on Monday?

    3. I didn’t say he found out today. I said (and so did Tillerson and his people) that despite Trump’s claim that he had contacted Tillerson to tell him before he (Trump) announced the firing, that wasn’t true, he hadn’t. Tillerson found out after the fact.

      I am over being amazed at how you can make up, so quickly, claims about what happened (both for this and the book) that are so obviously opposed to observable fact that nobody other than a conspiracy monger would believe them.

  2. These two made their reports based on Steele presenting them with his findings. They got ‘confirmation’ from other Hillary people in the government. Now they publish this book to try and resurrect the case and protect Steele. No doubt he and Glenn Simpson are again major sources.

    1. >he had contacted Tillerson to tell him before he (Trump) announced the firing, that wasn’t true, he hadn’t. Tillerson found out after the fact.

      Trump’s tweet was today. At what point do you think Tillerson found out if it wasn’t today?

      >I am over being amazed at how you can make up, so quickly, claims

      You don’t think Steele was the source for Isikoff and Corn’s columns? You don’t think he presented them the dossier in person? I am just making these up as part of a grand conspiracy?

  3. After the Republicans had seriously lost the first inning of the space race, John F. Kennedy came along challenged us to go to the moon before the Russians, and we did so, with the added side benefit that we learned how to make integrated miniaturized electronic circuits, leading to another added side benefit, the modern miniature computer, leading to another side benefit, the US of A leading the world in computer technology for a few decades.

    Donald Trump on the other hand, has sucked up to the Russians and challenged us to become more racist, misogynistic, childish, lazy and egocentric. Basically more divided and more stupid, just what Russia wants!

    Donald is desperately extorting support for his border wall, a wall which he thinks will force Mexicans to recognize his might and power, but which only makes him look like the biggest twit on the planet. I wonder what added benefits our nation can expect from The Great Wall of Trump? What great strides in technology will humanity gain by pouring millions of tons of cement and billions of dollars into our southern sands…Anybody? I’m kinda at a loss on this one.

    Kennedy picked a fight with the toughest hombre on the planet at the time.
    Trump picks a fight with our friends and southern neighbors.
    Kennedy’s fight advanced humanity.
    Trump’s wall is a fuck wit challenge.
    Kennedy fought the Russians.
    Trump sucks up to them.

    Oh Republicans, you have become so lame.

  4. Trump said he had contracted Tillerson before making big announcement. That didn’t happen: state department says it didn’t happen, Tillerson’s aide said that wasn’t true (and got fired himself for it), and Tillerson says it didn’t happen.

    “Tillerson said Trump had called him around noon Tuesday from Air Force One, while en route to California — several hours after the president had publicly announced Tillerson’s firing on Twitter.”

    The other conspiracy is your depiction of Steele as a third rate bumbler.

    1. Tuesday it is then. I can believe either side, but why did Tillerson cut short his trip? This is consistent with being informed on Friday.

      Steele had information about a meeting with Michael Cohen in Prague. Michael Cohen never went to Prague. A different Michael Cohen went to Prague, according to Jake Tapper.
      How did Steele end up reporting that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen met with Russians in Prague and was a major player in the conspiracy? It wasn’t just Steele getting names mixed up. He reported that his source said Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and somehow this gets matched up with travel info on a different Michael Cohen who is not Trump’s lawyer.
      Reports from the book are saying that Steele did not believe the dossier, Simpson did not believe it, Steele’s business partner and fellow former agent did not believe it, and it looks like the authors don’t believe it now.

  5. It will be interesting to see how this book stacks up against Luke Harding’s Collusion, which I’ve just read. It’s very good.

  6. It can’t really be a good book on Trump Russia scandal if it doesn’t mention that Mueller’s investigation is in violation of federal law and Justice Department regulations. Russia investigation is a counterintelligence investigation.
    Rules for special counsel state that they are appointed for criminal investigations and prosecutions, and that the AG or subordinate(Rosenstein) must specify the criminal matter to be investigated or prosecuted, and that a public statement must be given about this. Rosenstein has never stated a crime that Mueller is to investigate.

    1. The people at FBI and DOJ who put surveillance on Trump campaign are slowly being brought to justice. Sally Yates, Andrew McCabe, Michael Kortan, James Comey(likely not a direct conspirator) all gone.

    2. “Rules for special counsel state that they are appointed for criminal investigations and prosecutions”

      You mean like guilty pleas, indictments, and impending trials? Check …

  7. Keep your imagination and unsupportable claims of the investigation being a conspiracy coming mikeN — it’s always good for a laugh to read such drivel.

    1. Liberal talking points keep changing. Before the claim was that Steele ‘dossier’ wasn’t used to get FISA warrant. Now it’s that it was used for warrant on a former employee but not on campaign. Soon it will be yea they spied on Trump Tower as Trump tweeted; it would have been wrong not to do it.

  8. So Trump was trying to pull off a deal to make a Trump tower in Moscow when Moscow invaded the Crimean Ukraine and was subsequently sanctioned by the Obama administration. With the Russian bank he was working with being sanctioned, all Trump’s plans ended up in the trash, further increasing Trump’s rage at Obama and at the US Government which Trump, in Tasmanian Devil style, is trying to dismantle.

    What I find particularly remarkable is the ability of the so called “American” Republicans to contort their core beliefs into a knot to allow them to defend a morally bankrupt con man whom the constitution clearly calls out for impeachment, and their ability to cast a blind eye on Trump’s handler, the murderous villain Putin. That is what I find truly amazing.

    1. What I find particularly remarkable is the ability of the so called “American” Republicans to contort their core beliefs into a knot to allow them to defend a morally bankrupt

      Why do they do it?

      a. He isn’t black
      b. He isn’t black
      c. The modern right has never cared about morals, integrity, honesty, the poor, minorities, or the economy, they only care about men who aren’t black

      A recent survey of evangelicals contained over half (in the survey: I forget the margin of error so can’t say what the estimate for entire group was) said the affair with Stormy Daniels wasn’t a moral failing. (Of course, evangelicals’ core is racism, so…)

      I am amazed at Trump’s willingness to tell lies that about things that are trivial, especially when it is trivially easy to show they are lies. Step back to when he began talking about the stupid idea of tariffs (not needed) and trade wars. He stated repeatedly that the US was running a deficit with Canada — it was pointed out that that simply was not the case, with lots of conservative, left wing, and government sites rolling out the statistics to show it was false. He then said that he knew it wasn’t true, but had used that line in a discussion with Trudeau to apply pressure and kept it up publicly to carry on the pressure. Then it came out that no such talk (phone or in person) with Trudeau had occurred, that was a lie as well. The last I knew he was back to the trade deficit bullshit.

      If Greg didn’t have a guy posting here who routinely spouted his own lies in defense of Trump’s lies I wouldn’t believe any single person would ever do so.

    2. Trump:

      “I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid … And I thought they were smart.”

      Stupid. The operative word here is ‘stupid’.

      People respond to confidence. It’s shorthand for the hearer meaning: he apparently knows what he’s talking about, so no need to think about it.

      I hate to do this but, Star Trek TNG:

      CRUSHER: I mean, you’re acting like you know exactly which way to go, but you’re only guessing. Do you do this all the time?

      PICARD: No, but there are times when it is necessary for a captain to give the appearance of confidence.

      Of course Trump is a whole different order of critter, if you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it, and Trump lies all the time. But basically he’s a bullsh*tter. He just can’t turn it off…

      And in barrooms all across America, blowhards face down in their beers are saying, “Hooray! He’s just like me!”

    3. ‘It was as if [his] brain circuits were missing a device that would modulate the extreme spikes of impulsive opinions that popped into his mind.’

      ‘He would assert something—be it a fact about world history or a recounting of who suggested an idea at a meeting—without even considering the truth.’

      ‘He was not a model boss or human being, tidily packaged for emulation. [He] could drive those around him to fury and despair.’

      ‘The key question is why [he] can’t control himself at times from being so reflexively cruel and harmful to some people.’

      Which of the above quotes are about Trump and which are about Steve Jobs?

    4. It doesn’t matter which quotes refer to whom mikeN, because

      * it is widely accepted that Jobs was a real dick as a boss and a person
      * it is widely known that Jobs was a successful businessman, responsible for pushing out one of the most innovative items in the recent era, the Iphone (regardless of your opinion of it, its influence can’t be denied)

      It also widely known that
      * Trump is a shitty businessman
      * Even more of a blatant liar than Jobs
      * Has no clue what he’s doing as president
      * Is an all around vile person: racist, bigot, misogynist, serial marital cheater

      Seriously, did you really think you had anything resembling a “touche” point in that drivel?

  9. Re Trump and Steve Jobs ( who i am entirely unfamiliar with except he has something to do with apple computers ).
    Hahahahaha
    What a wierd game . Not even quotes for comparison from the men. But by others.
    By fuck I could play that game using real quotes from real people, thus entirely eliminating possible bias or perception of
    bias. ( maybe the quotees like or dislike or have some other agenda against Trump or this Steve Jobs bloke.

    1. Afterthought. I could play that Tibetan Llama bloke with any rightwing yank
      christian pastor nutter type just to get started….
      Oh and that Tesla inventor prat, paired with that cocksucker Churchill.

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