Journalists / co-authors of an insider narrative in conversation with Jacob Soboroff
Washington Post national investigative reporter Carol Leonnig and White House bureau chief Philip Rucker, both Pulitzer Prize winners, provide the definitive insider narrative of Donald Trump's unique presidency with shocking new reporting and insight into its implications: A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America.
“I alone can fix it.” So went Donald J. Trump’s march to the presidency on July 21, 2016, when he accepted the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland, promising to restore what he described as a fallen nation. Yet over the subsequent years, as he has undertaken the actual work of the commander in chief, it has been hard to see beyond the daily chaos of scandal, investigation, and constant bluster.
It would be all too easy to mistake Trump’s first term for one of pure and uninhibited chaos, but there were patterns to his behavior and that of his associates. The universal value of the Trump administration is loyalty - not to the country, but to the president himself - and Trump’s North Star has been the perpetuation of his own power, even when it meant imperiling our shaky and mistrustful democracy.
Leonnig and Rucker, with deep and unmatched sources throughout Washington, D.C., tell of rages and frenzies but also moments of courage and perseverance. Relying on scores of exclusive new interviews with some of the most senior members of the Trump administration and other firsthand witnesses, the authors reveal the forty-fifth president up close, taking readers inside Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as well as the president’s own haphazard but ultimately successful legal defense. Here for the first time certain officials who have felt honor-bound not to publicly criticize a sitting president or to divulge what they witnessed in a position of trust tell the truth for the benefit of history.
This peerless and gripping narrative reveals President Trump at his most unvarnished and exposes how decision making in his administration has been driven by a reflexive logic of self-preservation and self-aggrandizement—but a logic nonetheless. This is the story of how an unparalleled president has scrambled to survive and tested the strength of America’s democracy and its common heart as a nation.
Carol Leonnig is a national investigative reporter at The Washington Post, where she has worked since 2000 and covers Donald Trump's presidency and other subjects. She won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on security failures and misconduct inside the Secret Service. She also was part of the Post teams awarded Pulitzers in 2017, for reporting on Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, and in 2014, for revealing the U.S. government's secret, broad surveillance of Americans. Leonnig is also an on-air contributor to NBC News and MSNBC.
Philip Rucker is the White House Bureau Chief at The Washington Post, leading its coverage of President Trump and his administration. He and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award for their reporting on Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. Rucker joined the Post in 2005 and previously has covered Congress, the Obama White House and the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. He serves as an on-air political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, and graduated from Yale University with a degree in history.
Jacob Soboroff is a correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC. For his reporting on the child-separation policy, he received the 2019 Walter Cronkite Award for Individual Achievement by a National Journalist and the 2019 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism. He has appeared on Today, Morning Joe, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and numerous other programs. He co-presented (with Katy Tur) the four-part event docuseries American Swamp on MSNBC. He lives in Los Angeles.
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