- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Twelve; 1st edition (March 13, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781538728758
- ISBN-13: 978-1538728758
- ASIN: 1538728753
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 937 customer reviews
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- #13 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Security
- #21 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Intelligence & Espionage
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Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump Hardcover – March 13, 2018
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"Two of the best and most accomplished investigative reporters of their generation, two of the best investigative reporters we have in this country...[A] superpower reporting team."―Rachel Maddow
"RUSSIAN ROULETTE is...the most thorough and riveting account."―The New York Times
"RUSSIAN ROULETTE performs an important service in tracing how establishment Washington...came to understand that what Russia was (and reportedly is still) up to was not routine espionage...[RUSSIAN ROULETTE] is engaging, smart."― The Washington Post
"[RUSSIAN ROULETTE] does an outstanding job of putting the Russia-Trump story into context, separating rumor from fact and adding new information...A smart, solid, even-handed book that future historians will use as a starting point."―Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
David Corn is a veteran Washington journalist and political commentator. He is the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine and an analyst for MSNBC. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including Showdown: The Inside Story of How Obama Battled the GOP to Set Up the 2012 Election and Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War (co-written with Michael Isikoff). He is also the author of the biography Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades and the novel Deep Background.
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The story begins with a history of Trump, Russia, and the Miss Universe contest held in a suburb near Moscow. We see early on Trump’s keen interest to do business in Russia and his desire to meet Putin. It is important to note that when things went badly for Putin and Russia, Putin saw the hidden hand of America trying to impose their worldview. Putin saw the West repeatedly humiliating him, for example, over Libya and Syria, which he considered his back yard. The finger was often pointed at Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State. Another key moment occurred in February 2013 when Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of staff of Russia’s armed forces, published an article advocating that “Russia adapt its military strategies to the modern world.” Russia was becoming aware of a new world in which battalions and fighter aircraft would be a thing of the past, replaced by hackers and skilled propagandists exploiting rifts in the ranks of the adversary. The goal: destroy NATO, the European Union, and seriously harm the United States. We are all familiar now with the Internet Research Agency and the compromise of social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The story now segues to the hack of the DNC by APT29 (Cozy Bear) and APT 28 (hackers associated with Russian military intelligence). These groups have been active for many years hacking into the systems of aerospace, energy, media, and government. Some time is spent discussing Trump’s connection to the Russian-born Felix Sater, a NY real estate developer. We also see Trump bragging about how his firm was riding high on money flowing out of Russia. Trump Jr. touted Russia as a key source of profits, and Trump was always trying to secure a project in Moscow. The authors note, “Was he trying to leverage his status as the Republican front-runner to finally score a Moscow deal?” It is an interesting thought.
Paul Manafort played an important role in the Trump campaign for a few months, and the authors devote a chapter to this person. Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state at the time, had stated that “He’s been a Russian stooge for fifteen years.” There is a lot to say here, dating back to the notorious lobbying and consulting firm Black, Manafort, and Stone. We learn of the relationship between Manafort, Deripaska, and Akhmetov, among others. Of course, then there’s Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. The FBI determined that they were being cultivated by cutouts for Russian intelligence, “as part of a sophisticated operation to infiltrate and influence the Trump campaign.” Then there’s the Trump Jr meeting with Veselnitskaya and others, which figured prominently in the news. Moving on, there is some interesting details on the Christopher Steele dossier and Fusion GPS. I interestingly noted that the information provided by the dossier was “akin to preliminary intelligence reporting – information not analyzed, vetted, or ready for distribution.” It was not meant to be gospel, but a raw product of intelligence gathering.
The ensuing chapters discuss the details of the DNC hack, Podesta’s email hack, the search for Clinton’s emails, the Obama administration’s response to the Russian interference in the election, the Internet Research Agency and their compromise of Twitter and Facebook, and what the intelligence community was learning about the Russian attack. If you followed the news, much of this will be familiar to you, but the authors go into a bit of detail on these matters.
Corn and Isikoff are professional writers and they know how to tell a story. Even though they begin with Trump, the connections between the two countries began in the 1990's. Savvy Mikhail Gorbochov was succeeded by Boris Yeltsin, who was followed by Vladimir Putin, a cagey former KGB foreign intelligence officer. Each of the three American presidents who dealt with Putin in turn had different views of the Russian leader. The authors go into detail about Putin's control of his world, where oligarchs and businessmen came and went, while Putin remained in power and the political and financial corruption flourished.
But Donald Trump met Vladimir Putin a few years before he became US president. He was trying to do business - hotel business - in Moscow and visited the country in 2013 with his Miss Universe contest. The authors go on to discuss Putin's relationship with Trump in the years since.
No one reading this book will change his mind about Donald Trump. That cake's baked for most of us. But, if you're looking for a well written political book, you really should read "Russian Roulette".