RUSSIAN ROULETTE by Michael Isikoff and David Corn: Review

Review by Jim McCarthy

Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald TrumpAny who have followed the byzantine architecture that constitutes the Trump-Putin relationship and the Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential election will find little new facts in this narrative by two seasoned polemicists. Russian Roulette is likely to continue to serve as a guideline to the final report by Robert Mueller as well as a portrait of the two enigmatic leaders. It is to be hoped that whatever gaps remain will be filled in by the final report of the Special Counsel.

Isikoff and Corn trace events from Trump’s Miss Universe pageant in Mosco in 2013 through his several meetings with the former KGB agent as President. Putin’s animosity toward Hillary Clinton is integrated into the labyrinth of Russia’s meddling, including an allegation that the US interfered in its elections.

The failure of US officials to fully appreciate the extent and depth of the election meddling remains a puzzling reluctance in light of intelligence information. The authors take pains to apologize for the absence of response from the Clinton campaign and the DNC about the hacks that fueled seismic resentment among their supporters.

In total, this book places in bold, italic font the questions surrounding the sharp turn of US policy toward Russia in 2016 and, even more particularly, the transformation of the GOP in the same regard from hawks to apologists. Isikoff and Corn have performed a necessary work of investigative journalism, even-handedly, providing a valuable roadmap to the as-yet not-fully-connected dots in an extended kaleidoscope and web of stories, statements, evidence, and actors.   

Categories: Book Review, Issues


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