NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The knockdown, drag-out, untold story of the other scandal that rocked Nixon’s White House, and reset the rules for crooked presidents to come—with new reporting that expands on Rachel Maddow’s Peabody Award–nominated podcast
“Both a thriller and a history book, Bag Man is a triumph of storytelling.”—Preet Bharara, New York Times bestselling author of Doing Justice and host of the podcast Stay Tuned with Preet
Is it possible for a sitting vice president to direct a vast criminal enterprise within the halls of the White House? To have one of the most brazen corruption scandals in American history play out while nobody’s paying attention? And for that scandal to be all but forgotten decades later?
The year was 1973, and Spiro T. Agnew, the former governor of Maryland, was Richard Nixon’s second-in-command. Long on firebrand rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when—at the height of Watergate—three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down before it was too late, before Nixon’s impending downfall elevated Agnew to the presidency. The self-described “counterpuncher” vice president did everything he could to bury their investigation: dismissing it as a “witch hunt,” riling up his partisan base, making the press the enemy, and, with a crumbling circle of loyalists, scheming to obstruct justice in order to survive.
In this blockbuster account, Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz detail the investigation that exposed Agnew’s crimes, the attempts at a cover-up—which involved future president George H. W. Bush—and the backroom bargain that forced Agnew’s resignation but also spared him years in federal prison. Based on the award-winning hit podcast, Bag Man expands and deepens the story of Spiro Agnew’s scandal and its lasting influence on our politics, our media, and our understanding of what it takes to confront a criminal in the White House.
MSNBC host Maddow (Blowout) and journalist Yarvitz expand on their podcast of the same name in this rollicking study of the 1973 resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew. In their colorful retelling, Agnew's crimes were simple and sleazy: as Baltimore County executive and governor of Maryland, he took bribes from companies in exchange for awarding them public-works contracts and kept taking payoffs in the White House. Maddow and Yarvitz convincingly argue that President Richard Nixon and future president George H.W. Bush (then serving as Republican National Committee chairman) obstructed justice by trying to quash a Department of Justice investigation into Agnew's dealings, and spotlight heroism by the young U.S. attorneys in Maryland who nailed Agnew, and that of Attorney General Elliot Richardson (already overseeing the Watergate investigation), who resisted White House pressure before letting Agnew plead guilty to tax evasion in order to smooth his resignation. The authors style Agnew a proto-Trumpian practitioner of "bruising, know-nothing, confrontational conservatism" who argued, as President Trump later would, that indicting him would be unconstitutional. Maddow's fans will enjoy this entertaining and well-researched recap of Agnew's comeuppance and its barely-veiled yearning for prosecutors to haul Trump into court.
Typical Leftist Schlock
Opening disclaimer - I’m a Republican voter, a party line guy. That said, I read this book like a lot of books written by those with left-leaning ideas in hope of gaining a better understanding of their position and rationale, and hopefully find some common ground.
This book, like most written by today’s leftists in America, loses me and I assume most others when they immediately start from the position of levying a wide array of accusations based off of weak to nonexistent evidence. The lack of journalistic standards that went into this book is simply breathtaking, and is a case study for why trust in our media is at an all-time low. It all gets back to the basic premise that there is a total lack of accountability among our mainstream news organizations; they fail to report the news, and only give their opinions. This book is 100% an opinion piece as it fails to cite any material research that justifies the assertions contained within.
Well done easy read
I enjoyed it immensely and learned a lot
Very enlightening as to how it applies and the similarities with Agnew's behavior and Trumps's behavior
Very good reading !So much I had forgotten about.