For the first time, the full, explosive record of the unthinkable: how a US president compromised American foreign policy in exchange for the promise of future business and covert election assistance.
Looking back at this moment in history, historians will ask if Americans knew they were living through the first case of criminal conspiracy between an American presidential candidate turned commander in chief and a geopolitical enemy. The answer might be: it was hard to see the whole picture. The stories coming in from around the globe have often seemed fantastical: clandestine meetings in foreign capitals, secret recordings in a Moscow hotel, Kremlin agents infiltrating the Trump inner circle...
Seth Abramson has tracked every one of these far-flung reports and now, in Proof of Collusion, he finally gives us a record of the unthinkable - a president compromising American foreign policy in exchange for the promise of future business and covert election assistance. The attorney, professor and former criminal investigator has used his exacting legal mind and forensic acumen to compile, organise and analyse every piece of the Trump-Russia story. His conclusion is clear: the case for collusion is staring us in the face. Drawing from American and European news outlets, he takes readers through the Trump-Russia scandal chronologically, putting the developments in context and showing how they connect. His extraordinary march through all the public evidence includes:
* How Trump worked for thirty years to expand his real estate empire into Russia even as he was rescued from bankruptcy by Putin’s oligarchs and Kremlin agents.
* How Russian intelligence gathered compromising material on him over multiple trips.
* How Trump recruited Russian allies and business partners while running for president.
* How he surrounded himself with advisers who engaged in clandestine negotiations with Russia.
* How Trump aides and family members held secret meetings with foreign agents and lied about them.
By pulling every last thread of this complicated story together, Abramson argues that - even in the absence of a Congressional investigation or a report from Special Counsel Mueller - the public record already indicates a quid pro quo between Trump and the Kremlin. The most extraordinary part of the case for collusion is that so much of it unfolded in plain sight.
President Trump and his underlings "conspired with a hostile foreign power to sell... control over America's foreign policy in exchange for financial reward and covert election assistance," argues this scattershot investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal. Drawing mainly on press accounts, CNN legal analyst Abramson (Northerners) constructs a detailed, labyrinthine chronicle of contacts between Trump and his associates on the one hand and Russian officials, oligarchs, and fixers on the other. From this tangle of interactions, Abramson constructs a "theory of the case," inferring that Trump et al. offered to lift U.S. sanctions on Russia and pursue pro-Russian policies in exchange for the Russian government's permitting a Moscow real-estate deal, helping Trump's campaign with hacking and propaganda, or just bribing him. Contrary to the certainty or actionability implied by the book's title, Abramson's repetitive, eye-glazing narrative produces clouds of suspicious dots to connect, but these only occasionally rise to the level of criminal allegations. He reasonably suggests that Trump's firing of FBI director James Comey may constitute obstruction of justice; more dubiously, he asserts that Trump's campaign-trail gibe of "Russia... I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails" was an illegal solicitation of a campaign contribution. Abramson's exhaustive amassing of published evidence is useful, if hard to wade through, but there's no smoking gun to clinch his claim of having proved anything.