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Whenever I finish a book like Russian Roulette, I ask myself the same question: why is anyone still debating whether there was collusion. Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump is a book by journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn. In the meantime comes “Russian Roulette,” a new book by two veterans of Washington political journalism, Michael Isikoff and David Corn.
As the authors acknowledge, given Trump's later infatuation with Putin and his eagerness to overlook Russian transgressions this trip should have served as Trump's supervillain origin story:. What could possibly explain Trump's unwavering sympathy for the Russian strongman? His refusal to acknowledge Putin's repressive tactics, his whitewashing of Putin's abuses in Ukraine and Syria, his dismissal of the murders of Putin's critics, his blind eye to Putin's cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns aimed at subverting Western democracies?
There would be hints later of puerile goings-on in Moscow. Unconfirmed rumors of "weird sexual antics" that would feature heavily in the Christopher Steele dossier years later.
The authors quote gossip columnist A. The girls have no morals. You have to get out there. The authors don't know what was in the letter but it's a fantastic detail to include, if only because it fits our imagination of how supervillains communicate. Trump drops out of Russian Roulette for some time as it lays out how ties between Russia and America frayed during the Obama years.
Obama famously failed in his attempt at a "reset" of ties by courting Dmitry Medvedev during the brief interregnum in Putin's reign. The book chalks that failure up to several factors.
The administration's unwarranted optimism and reluctance to confront both are recurring themes here made for a deadly combination with Putin's paranoia and aggression. Although Washington had assumed the Cold War was over, the Russians didn't agree; they just kept quiet. The result of all this inattention was a shadow war that one side never realized had been declared. Just as paranoia would be President Trump's default response, Putin saw everything through an antagonistic lens.
And, like a parody of some right-wing wingnut's online screed about feckless liberals, the Obama administration consistently ignored or downplayed the threat. When the Panama Papers leak exposed how many of Putin's sidekicks were hiding their millions around the world, he assumed the story was independent investigative journalism, but instead an American attempt "to weaken us from within, make us more acquiescent and make us toe their line.
Isikoff and Corn note that "it was if no one in the U. That reluctance to act on a foreign threat—and the inability to imagine Trump beating Clinton—carried on well into the presidential campaign. This continued well after it became clear government-supported Russian hackers had not only brazenly stolen electronic files and communications from the Democratic National Committee, but were weaponizing leaks of that material to sew chaos and swing the election in favor of Trump.
The Soviets started that one. Although Isikoff and Corn commendably keep invective out of their writing, the sections of their book covering the Obama administration's paralyzing fear of interfering in the election are nevertheless laced with incredulity. The parts of Russian Roulette that have received the most attention, though, are about whether the Trump campaign directly colluded in espionage and criminal activity with Russian intelligence. The authors provide an excellent and detailed timeline of all the major points in this aspect of the story, from Trump's eager dupe Carter Page getting suckered by Russian agents to the FBI launching a secret investigation of Trump's links to Putin while also very publicly looking into Clinton's mishandling of government emails.
Their coverage of Christopher Steele's opposition research dossier on Trump—the one with the lurid golden-shower anecdotes—is based a bit too much on how that material became a political football and not enough on its less-salacious and still highly disturbing content.
Isikoff and Corn don't pull punches, though. Their writeup of the infamous June meeting in Trump Tower between Donald's surrogates and a rogue's gallery of Kremlin-connected figures is one of the most definitive yet written.
It makes clear that even though the Trump team walked away without any usable anti-Clinton dirt, that was clearly their intention: As more layers are ripped away from the sordid and nation-shaming affair, and Republican quislings burn down the nation's institutions to keep their leader from being exposed for the traitor he likely is, Isikoff and Corn's inability to find some link showing Trump directing some lackey to offer Putin X in exchange for Y doesn't matter.
Context matters. Intent matters. Both are made crystal clear in Russian Roulette. Just as Trump announced to the world on NBC that he fired FBI director James Comey because of the "Rush-er" investigation, he also told everybody flat out that he was all too happy to use foreign intelligence services to beat his political opponent:.
I will tell you this—Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the thirty thousand emails that are missing. I think you'll probably be rewarded mightily by our press.
Russian Roulette is a public service, for certain. But although it does its best to answer the question, we already know the answer. The reissue of Protomartyr's first album No Passion All Technique offers early signs of the band they would become on subsequent albums.
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Corn and Isikoff spend a great deal of time explaining how the American election was compromised by Russian interference in They take a step by step approach which reads like a legal brief. In , General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces wrote an article that argued that information warfare could be used to weaponize political divisions within another nation. Instead of conventional warfare of the past, hackers and skilled propagandists trained to exploit existing rifts within the ranks of the adversary would be employed.
Russia has penetrated media organizations, lobbying firms, political parties, governments, and militaries in all these places. Again, Obama believing he needed Putin on Iran and Syria, did nothing. At first they could not find the breach, but finally when it was located they had difficulty closing it. Their cyber assault would snare the top official in the Clinton campaign, John Podesta, and no one in the campaign had a clue.
Corn and Isikoff do an admirable job providing the links in the chain dealing with the hacking of the DNC and Clinton campaign, as well as their links to Russian intelligence. The preliminaries to the June 9, meeting between Trump, yr. Manafort, Kushner, Goldstone and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, her translator, a Agalarov executive implicated in Russian money laundering, and Rinat Akmetshin, a former Russian intelligence officer and lobbyist in Washington is carefully explored with the now infamous comment by Trump.
Further, the buffoonish Carter Page went to Moscow to express his pro-Putin views with the permission of Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowski — seen by Moscow as a signal from the Trump campaign.
It is clear that what motivated Putin in this game of political intelligence, and hacking, was to end the American sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.
For the Russian president it was simple, elect Trump who had hinted strongly he would be favorable, and as a secondary benefit gain his revenge against Hillary Clinton.
The question is why was Trump so favorable? The answer to these questions becomes clearer when the authors discuss the Russian concept of kompromat, a strategy to obtain compromising material on people they want to manipulate employing blackmail and threats to achieve their goals.
The authors explain how it was employed and it goes a long way to explain why Trump is so obsessed with the Mueller investigation as one can only wonder what Putin has on Trump. Corn and Isikoff review details of the actual presidential campaign following their respective party conventions. All the information that the public was bombarded with for months is present including the role of social media, particularly important today with the digital relationship between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica making news headlines and its relationship to the Trump campaign.
The authors analyze events to determine their impact on the election. The presidential debates are covered as was the ongoing indecision on the part of the Obama administration to educate the public that they had proof of Russian interference in the election and that an FBI investigation of Russian influence during the campaign was ongoing.
After a careful examination of the campaign the authors conclude that Julian Assange and Wikileaks were acting in concert with the Russians.
If you are confused with the daily bombardment of information, Corn and Isikoff have done a service in putting it all together in a succinct and easy to read format.
View all 4 comments. Apr 21, Esil rated it really liked it Shelves: While Russian Roulette pulls together a lot of information about how Russia interfered in the US election, the information in the book has been overtaken many times over by the daily headlines since its publication. Having said that, Russian Roulette does a good job of laying out what was known by the authors at the time they researched and wrote the book. Unfortunately while it all sounds like a scary dystopian novel, 3.
I listened to the audio, which was perfectly acceptable. View all 8 comments. The Russian government is an asshole government. They were beating them up, threatening them and their loved ones, and even killing their pets while they were out.
I miss him every minute of everyday, but he was a bit naive when it came to Russia. Just like he handled the Republicans, he was too optimistic about believing in their humanity. Silly Obama. Former Secretary of State, and winner of the presidential election by 4 million votes but yet is not the president of the U.
So, when Hillary ran for president, he was going to do everything in his power of which he has a lot of to disrupt our election.
How the Russia story began: 'Russian Roulette'
The president just like almost everyone else at that time Oh silly Obama, why must you be such a nice guy? The more you know the more prepared you are for whatever the future holds.
We are on a precipice. View all 5 comments. Mar 21, Dan rated it really liked it. It is difficult for a journalistic book written on current unfolding events to be a great one. There is simply not enough historical distance between the events of and earlier and today and the news keeps unfolding like the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook targeted political ad news.
Russia has been actively cultivating Trump for more than a decade. The book alleges numerous bribes that Trump paid to Russia It is difficult for a journalistic book written on current unfolding events to be a great one.
The book alleges numerous bribes that Trump paid to Russia for licensing and potential real estate deals and the book also alleges numerous prostitution compromat, not just the most salacious claim.
His whole business empire is at risk. Good book, not particularly dramatic. It will go down in history as the definitive first history of the scandal that has consumed our country for over two years now. It was well researched and well written. I would think skeptics of Russian meddling would change their tune after reading.
Hoping the sequel is titled: View 2 comments. This book marshals some interesting facts and figures, but I'm giving it a less-than-stellar rating because it seeks to blame one President -- in this case, Barack Obama -- for America's cyber-incompetence.
The fact is, this or any other nation's ability to be hacked by outsiders has been around ever since there has been easy access to the Internet, and possibly even before, when the predecessor of today's 'net existed only in large universities and research facilities. Messing with the American This book marshals some interesting facts and figures, but I'm giving it a less-than-stellar rating because it seeks to blame one President -- in this case, Barack Obama -- for America's cyber-incompetence.
Messing with the American electoral process is the most obvious insult to our wired civilization, but "hacking" has been around a long time. Is it possible that the 20th Century was America's century because we excelled in physical and electro-mechanical things: If so, then the 21st Century is not the century of the electro-mechanical but the purely digital, and we are losing it.
Probably every President from Clinton on deserves part of the blame, since preserving our country from foreign attack is the province of the federal government, in particular our Commander-in-Chief, and next to nothing has been done to repel such attacks on the American cyber-front.
View 1 comment. Miss Universe Moscow Description: 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. This will be the book that is studied in the history classes in future times as it lays out the core of the jigsaw in unambiguous and easy to understand terms.
View all 16 comments. Best summary of the Russian attacks on our democracy that I've read so far. Trump is a co-conspirator, a traitor, and an illegitimate occupier of the White House. The sooner he and his circus of criminals are removed, the better. This is a comprehensive look at everything we currently know about Russian interference in the election, connections between Trump's campaign and Russia, and reactions of both campaigns and the media to the scandal. I recommend the audio, as dealing with all the Russian names was easier for me when hearing them than it would have reading them.
A lot of this was stuff I'd already heard, but there were many details that were unfamiliar to me and it was quite staggering to have it all put toge This is a comprehensive look at everything we currently know about Russian interference in the election, connections between Trump's campaign and Russia, and reactions of both campaigns and the media to the scandal.
A lot of this was stuff I'd already heard, but there were many details that were unfamiliar to me and it was quite staggering to have it all put together in one place. It's unbelievable to me that so many people don't seem to find this alarming simply because it benefited their candidate.
In any case, this is a must read for political junkies! Oh, and god I hope there's a juicy sequel! This was a fascinating read, and at times reads like a spy novel.
It starts at the beginning of it all and leads the reader through all the twists and turns of each new development in this saga. Interesting how long it took the reporters to start putting it all together, as was the same for the intelligence community. May 11, Lorna rated it really liked it Shelves: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump is a well-researched book by veteran journalists and investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn, one of international espionage and political intrigue set in motion to interfere with the presidential election.
However, if you have been paying attention to the daily news, there is not any new or groundbreaking information disclosed in this book. It is impossible to stay ahead of the dai Russian Roulette: It is impossible to stay ahead of the daily, and often hourly, breaking news pertaining to the Trump administration.
However, one of the biggest strengths of this book is that all of the information pertaining to Donald Trump's involvement with Russia and Vladimir Putin is now in one place and set forth chronologically in a riveting manner with the identification of all of the players in a clear timeline. It is a "who's who" of the Russian oligarchy and how they interfaced with Donald Trump and his family as well as many of those previously associated with the Trump campaign.
It becomes quite clear that Robert Mueller and his investigators have done a remarkable job in working their way through this morass of data, and no doubt, have many of the answers before the questions are being asked. What happens remains to be seen but this book lays a great foundation. Apr 21, Mymymble marked it as to-read.
When I find myself in tweets of trouble, Mother Russia comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, covfefe View all 7 comments. Mar 24, Robert rated it liked it Shelves: This would have been more fun to read - if I hadn't already watched Rachel Maddow every night for this past year of Trumpian horror.
They put everything in order and took a few of the characters and what a plethora of WEIRD characters there are and added some details.
How did Trump find these dudes? One of the best lines and a chapter heading comes fro This would have been more fun to read - if I hadn't already watched Rachel Maddow every night for this past year of Trumpian horror. One of the best lines and a chapter heading comes from Steve Bannon when he hears that now-indicted George Papadopoulos is publicly listed as a "foreign policy adviser": In fact Mar 16, Robin Case rated it it was ok.
Not impressed. I found the writing style to be a little low brow and annoying. A lot of fluff and ugly pointless fill. A lot of name dropping. Trump's behavior is about par for this group. You can skip this one and never miss it. Nothing new of any substance. Gossip and not much more than that. If you followed the election you already know this stuff. May 14, Brenda rated it it was amazing. Everyone should read this book. Especially here in the United States. The U. Why Americans are not more upset about this is beyond me.
Apr 05, Jeff Dickison rated it really liked it. This is a well written book, all too familiar, and very depressing. I was a member of the Air Force Security Service in the 60's and the Russians are still using some of the same tactics to ensnare stupid and crooked Americans. The book is not really finished because the scandal is not still finished, and won't be until Trump and this thugs are in jail.
To think that Americans elected this piece of crap!
Mar 25, Denise Morse rated it it was amazing Shelves: Extremely well-written, well researched and the definitive guide to everything happening in the world right now relating to Trump and Russia. The book truly lays out everything in an easy to understand, chronological order.
So many insights and so many connections. It is a must read. Spoiler alert: Jul 07, J. For What It's Worth: Let's start off with a quick confession. I've been a politics junkie of late, and nothing is more fascinating in this era than the Trump-Russia probe. A tale of a doomed, reverse Excalibur, where he insert your guess here who dares grasp the sword is fated t For What It's Worth: A tale of a doomed, reverse Excalibur, where he insert your guess here who dares grasp the sword is fated to live forever in the dumpster of history.
And everyone who will be his accomplice --is splattered and stained with the same shame. For The General Reader: I can't rate its accessibility for the average reader, because I came to it having read hundreds, maybe thousands of pages about this already. So a daunting cast of characters was, for myself anyway, almost entirely comprised of persons I knew something about already. I can say, though, this doesn't try for being a completist sort of account, either.
It struck me that it seemed well-paced and concise, though probably best suited to a general readership with some familiarity with the material. Several thoughts came to mind in reading through this.
In no particular order: For The Record: Trump is definitely a Russian asset. Or perhaps as importantly, even just the nights they were out late. So Trump is somewhere on the spectrum, even if not very consciously so, and even if we go only by his own public admissions. Think back.
Net value: That Donna Brazile had handed off one of the debate questions to the Clinton people. Junk level anecdotes. Barely a news item there in any of it. But the media narrative says the Dnc hacks were the foundation of the whole Russiagate thing, and the right wing points to it as being standard election dirty tricks, that there was no actual criminal activity, that Mueller is on a witch hunt, etc etc. Not the effectiveness of the data they dropped.
But rather in the sense that all of it, the thousands of pages, the death by a million cuts, swelled the disinformation being filtered into the American electorate. That overall, Clinton was untrustworthy because of emails or something, and Trump was coarse but just the antidote to that smirking liberal elitism which despises real Americans--yes, but the bigger picture.
Because the Dnc thing is like number on a list of Trump-Russian-Intelligence interactions, starting long long ago with the Russian funny-money downloading his properties in the 8os.
That ensnared silly, grabby, tabloid-trashy Trump. Because that kind of implies agent, actor, some independence but aligned with a foreign minder, on certain accounts.
Because that hat-check girl can actually cut off her arrangement, steer clear, but Trump can't. Simply described, Trump is a puppet.
And his every move is furtive, guilty, a default denial before the accusation even arises … For The Trainspotters: Some fun factoids emerge in Russian Roulette, notably a few that aren't quite common knowledge: Clinton campaign manager Rob Mook, armed with warnings from the Fbi, " The Clinton team would plant phony information about Clinton or the campaign within the Dnc computer system and wait to see if the Trump campaign or its allies later made public use of it.
If they did, it would prove that the Trump camp was in league with the Russians. Probably a good call. But they could have done it anyway, kept it quiet, and tucked it up their sleeve for insurance. Interesting because almost all of the Steele Dossier material has been borne out so far, and if this is the case, that person is in a position to know a lot of things.
The mere existence of such a person would be direct evidence of collusion, full stop. For Fuck's Sake: All this isn't about some zany "dirty tricks" from a bygone election. Asymmetrical war isn't cold war, with its brinksmanship and balance-of-power nuances.
It is direct confrontation via other means, actual hot war, with the lesser party intending to inflict Pearl Harbor or type physical damages on the stronger party, with surprise as the defining element. It was two days before the election, and Clint Watts was still trying to warn America. The former FBI analyst and two colleagues published a report noting that they had monitored more than seven thousand media accounts in the previous thirty months and had discerned a "small army of social media operatives" with the goal of "moving misinformation and disinformation from primarily Russian-influenced circles into the general social media population.
There are two prongs to the Trump Russia story, as I see it. First is the long and dire history of citizen Trump, his failed loans, marriages, businesses, careers, his later bankruptcies and finally, self-reinvention. Which came with the aid of his money-laundering escapades involving secret, dirty Russian money. The Second is the closely related campaign from the New Russia, the mafia state, the entity that regrets its failed status since the Wall came down and the country went gangster.
This is the asymmetrical-war-plan of disinformation and disruption, using financial and cyber means mainly-- though in a last resort, military, as in Ukraine-- to reassert itself into what it considers its rightful superpower status. Apr 13, Char Freund rated it really liked it.
My interest in history is more investigative. Why did that happen? What if y happened instead of x? How did we get to here? Where does this end? So this book answers a lot for me. I read the bios of the Cabinet members and saw how they fit into his plan to appoint members who would self destruct each position.
I looked for sources of Facebook posts before the election and discovered no valid source and proof to discredit many of the posts. Several even told me that Europeans had proof of all of this years ago.
So I was going to read the book regardless. The authors are both credible and had been unbiased in their previous works. It was easier to understand than I expected. The chronological series of events form a connect the proven and documented dots so well that you have to ask why the media chose to waste time on superfluous events instead.
Since it is impolite to talk politics in the US, I tried to contain my opinions as much as possible. And this is a big request, to view the ongoing investigation in the same manner. Let the facts emerge before deciding the verdict. Aug 21, Eleven rated it really liked it. National tragedies probably shouldn't be this entertaining.
Mar 21, Cristobal rated it it was amazing. How exasperating. Mar 28, Mal Warwick rated it really liked it Shelves: Unless you've experienced sensory deprivation for the last year and a half, you know that Russians influenced the election.
Overwhelming evidence has come to light and dribbled out through hundreds of news stories and books. Not to mention the indictments that have already come down through Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump campaign's multiple links to the Kremlin. Much less well known outside the confines of the American intelligence establishment are the facts about exactly what Unless you've experienced sensory deprivation for the last year and a half, you know that Russians influenced the election.
Much less well known outside the confines of the American intelligence establishment are the facts about exactly what steps the Russian government took to destabilize US society and help Donald Trump win the White House. The book's subtitle is the key: If you've closely followed the unfolding story about the multiple connections between Donald Trump's associates and top Kremlin officials, the so-called oligarchs, and the Russian mafia, you're unlikely to find much in Russian Roulette that will surprise you.
The book contains abundant detail, fleshing out the often-sketchy stories that have surfaced in the press; seemingly, every individual name that has come to light over the past eighteen months in the reporting of this unfolding scandal figures in the authors' account. The true value in Russian Roulette lies elsewhere. Isikoff and Corn's book excels in its detailed description of the massive effort mounted by Russian intelligence to deepen the divisions and distrust within American society, destroy Hillary Clinton's reputation, and help Donald Trump win the presidency.
In Russian Roulette, you'll meet the players central to the massive Russian campaign, including the St. At a minimum, two hundred Russians were engaged in the Kremlin-driven effort over at least two years. Only in recent months has the full extent of this campaign come to the attention of the US public. Vladimir Putin and the election Despite the repeated denials from the White House and Trump loyalists in Congress and on Fox News, there can be no doubt whatsoever that the Russian influence campaign was real.
Early in January , two weeks before Donald Trump's inauguration as President, the heads of the four top US intelligence agencies issued a joint statement. Russia's goals were to undermine faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Hillary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. Given the rivalry within the intelligence community—and the time it took them to reach agreement on the wording—this assessment is remarkable.
Did the Russians help Donald Trump win? More than million votes were cast in the presidential election.
Innumerable factors contributed to Trump's victory, including strategic errors by Hillary Clinton and her staff, Trump's demagogic skills, successful years-long Republican efforts to suppress minority voting, the failure of the Obama White House to highlight and respond to the Russian influence campaign, and James Comey's misleading announcement eleven days before the election that the FBI was investigating a fresh collection of Hillary Clinton emails.
If a mere 70, votes had changed hands in the three swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin, Clinton would have won the Electoral College as well as the popular vote.
Given these facts, it's impossible to determine whether the Russian campaign was decisive. And the joint statement by the intelligence community insisted that "'We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the election.
Isikoff and Corn drive this point home with a colorful detail: Putin's operation—which had fueled divisions within the United States and influenced an American presidential election—had succeeded. Russian Roulette is his third book. Previously, he was The Nation's Washington correspondent. He won the prestigious George Polk Award for his reporting in Jan 20, Farhana rated it really liked it Shelves:As the authors acknowledge, given Trump's later infatuation with Putin and his eagerness to overlook Russian transgressions this trip should have served as Trump's supervillain origin story: What could possibly explain Trump's unwavering sympathy for the Russian strongman?
In the debate, Obama was able to pounce on this concept with what would be the zinger of the debate season. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry.
They funded it in five days, and once home, was inspired to write a whole new album ripe with optimism -- and right when we need it the most.
The two Russian operatives had left behind a trail of radioactive contaminants — in hotel rooms, bathrooms, and on a British Airways aircraft.