Tuesday Reads: Multiple Trump Tell-All Books Releasing In September

Two Women at the Table, August Macke

Good Morning!!

Two Trump tell-all books came out today: Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, by Michael Cohen and Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump, by Peter Strzok. Here are the latest revelations from the two books in the press:

NBC News: Cohen calls Trump a racist ‘cult leader,’ says he disparaged Obama, Black leaders, Chicago.

Cohen spoke with NBC News’ Lester Holt ahead of the release Tuesday of his new book, “Disloyal: a Memoir,” which discusses his experience working for Trump.

“In the book, obviously, I describe Mr. Trump as a cult leader, and I was in this cult,” Cohen said.

“So one of the purposes of writing the book is really from one former cult member to the current ones,” he continued. “I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Open your eyes as I have. And I want you to appreciate that Donald Trump cares for no one or anything other than himself.”

In the interview, Cohen mentioned several instances in which Trump made remarks that Cohen considered racist, one of them when he was driving with Trump through a predominantly Black Chicago neighborhood and Trump said, “Only the Blacks could live this way.” [….]

After former South African President Nelson Mandela died in 2013, Cohen said, Trump “asked me if I had known of any country that’s run by a Black that’s not an s—hole.” [….]

Cohen also spoke about Trump’s “hatred” for former President Barack Obama. Cohen said the disdain “basically starts and with the fact that he’s Black and that he was the first Black president in this country.”

None of that is particularly earth-shattering news at this point.

Three Women at the Table, by August Macke

Also from NBC News: Michael Cohen explains why Trump likes Putin and what Trump really thinks of his supporters.

Cohen said Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 campaign because he assumed he would lose and wanted to make sure he could borrow money from Russian sources for his real estate empire.

As previously detailed in court records, Trump also had dispatched Cohen to try to build a Trump Tower Moscow, a 120-story building in Red Square with a free penthouse apartment for Putin.

“The whole idea of patriotism and treason became irrelevant in his mind,” Cohen writes. “Trump was using the campaign to make money for himself: of course he was.”

It wasn’t a new concept, Cohen writes. When a Russian oligarch bought Trump’s mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2008 for nearly double what Trump paid for it — a $50 million profit — Trump believed Putin was secretly funding the deal, Cohen writes….

With Putin, it wasn’t just self-interest — Trump genuinely admires the Russian leader, Cohen says.

Trump worships wealth and power, Cohen writes.

“Everyone other than the ruling class on earth was like an ant, to his way of thinking, their lives meaningless and always subject to the whims of the true rulers of the world,” he writes.

“The cosmic joke was that Trump convinced a vast swath of working-class white folks in the Midwest that he cared about their well-being. The truth was that he couldn’t care less.”

I expect Peter Strzok’s book will be more substantive than Cohen’s, but it is getting much less attention so far. A couple of reports:

Associated Press via Market Watch: Peter Strzok says he saw Trump as counterintelligence risk while at FBI — and still does.

Strzok said he intended for his book to lend insight into the Clinton probe, Russian election interference and, “first and foremost, the counterintelligence threat that I see in Donald Trump.” [….]

Painting by Richard Diebenkorn

As the investigation progressed, Strzok came to regard the Trump administration’s actions regarding Russia as “highly suspicious” and the president as compromised by Russia, including because of what Strzok says were Trump’s repeated efforts to mislead the public about dealings with Moscow.

Those concerns deepened after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director and bragged to a Russian diplomat that “great pressure” was removed. That interaction was like a “five-alarm fire,” Strzok says, and the FBI began investigating whether Trump himself was under Russia’s sway.

“I hadn’t wanted to investigate the president of the United States,” Strzok writes. “But my conviction on that point had been eroded by Trump’s continued suspicious behavior with the Russians and his ongoing attacks on our investigation.”

Even now, including in an interview Monday with MSNBC, Strzok is of the view that Trump poses a national-security threat. “Without exaggeration,” he said, “President Trump’s counterintelligence vulnerabilities are exponentially greater than [those of] any president in modern history.”

Read more about Strzok’s revelations at the link.

NBC News: FBI agent who helped launch Russia investigation says Trump was ‘compromised.’

Despite the cinematic title, Strzok reveals no new evidence that the president acted as a tool of Russia. But his insider account provides a detailed refutation of the notion that a group of anti-Trump denizens of the deep state cooked up the Russia “hoax,” as Trump likes to call it, to take down a president they didn’t support.

To the contrary, as he tells it, career public servants inside the FBI and the Justice Department were gobsmacked in 2016 by what they uncovered about a presidential campaign that seemed to find unlimited time to meet with Russians, practically inviting exploitation by a foreign adversary.

“I was skeptical that all the different threads amounted to anything more than bumbling incompetence, a confederacy of dunces who were too dumb to collude,” Strzok writes, summing up his view of the case for a Trump campaign conspiracy with Russia before he was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in July 2017 over his biased texts. “In my view, they were most likely a collection of grifters pursuing individual personal interests: their own money- and power-driven agendas.”

Edvard Munch, At the Coffee Table

But he also believed, he wrote, that even if Trump didn’t formally conspire with the Russian election interference operation, the president was badly compromised. He was compromised, Strzok writes, because of his questionable business dealings, the hush money paid on his behalf to silence women, shady transactions at his charity and, most importantly, “his lies about his Russia dealings,” including his secret 2015 effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow even as he told the world that he had no business with Russia.

“Putin knew he had lied. And Trump knew that Putin knew — a shared understanding that provided the framework for a potentially coercive relationship between the president of the United States and the leader of one of our greatest adversaries,” writes Strzok, who was deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.

Trump is tweeting madly this morning, trying to distract from the latest insider books, but he’ll have a lot of them to deal with this month.

Next Tuesday will bring the release of Bob Woodward’s latest book Rage. Trump made the mistake letting Woodward interview him 12 times, and Trump or someone else gave Woodward Trump’s love letters to and from Kim John Un.

On September 29, Andrew Weissmann’s book Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation comes out. Weissmann was a top prosecutor during the Russia investigation. On September 22, Washington Post reporter Devlin Barrett’s book October Surprise: How the FBI Tried to Save Itself and Crashed an Election wbe released. That should be embarrassing for James Comey as well as Trump.

In other bad news for Trump, his campaign appears to be running out of money.

The New York Times: How Trump’s Billion Dollar Campaign Lost Its Cash Advantage.

Money was supposed to have been one of the great advantages of incumbency for President Trump, much as it was for President Barack Obama in 2012 and George W. Bush in 2004….

By Edward Hopper

His rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., was relatively broke when he emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee this spring, and Mr. Trump and the Republican National Committee had a nearly $200 million cash advantage.

Five months later, Mr. Trump’s financial supremacy has evaporated. Of the $1.1 billon his campaign and the party raised from the beginning of 2019 through July, more than $800 million has already been spent. Now some people inside the campaign are forecasting what was once unthinkable: a cash crunch with less than 60 days until the election, according to Republican officials briefed on the matter.

Brad Parscale, the former campaign manager, liked to call Mr. Trump’s re-election war machine an “unstoppable juggernaut.” But interviews with more than a dozen current and former campaign aides and Trump allies, and a review of thousands of items in federal campaign filings, show that the president’s campaign and the R.N.C. developed some profligate habits as they burned through hundreds of millions of dollars. Since Bill Stepien replaced Mr. Parscale in July, the campaign has imposed a series of belt-tightening measures that have reshaped initiatives, including hiring practices, travel and the advertising budget.

Under Mr. Parscale, more than $350 million — almost half of the $800 million spent — went to fund-raising operations, as no expense was spared in finding new donors online. The campaign assembled a big and well-paid staff and housed the team at a cavernous, well-appointed office in the Virginia suburbs; outsize legal bills were treated as campaign costs; and more than $100 million was spent on a television advertising blitz before the party convention, the point when most of the electorate historically begins to pay close attention to the race.

Read the rest at the NYT.

Supposedly, Trump is thinking about putting his own money into the campaign. I’ll believe that when I see it.

Bloomberg: Trump Weighs Putting Up to $100 Million of His Cash Into Race.

President Donald Trump has discussed spending as much as $100 million of his own money on his re-election campaign, if necessary, to beat Democratic nominee Joe Biden, according to people familiar with the matter.

Maxim Bugzester, Five Women Talking Around a Table

The billionaire president has talked about the idea with multiple people, though he hasn’t yet committed to any self-funding, according to people briefed on internal deliberations. Though Trump personally contributed $66 million to his 2016 campaign, it would be unprecedented for an incumbent president to put his own money toward winning a second term.

President Donald Trump has discussed spending as much as $100 million of his own money on his re-election campaign, if necessary, to beat Democratic nominee Joe Biden, according to people familiar with the matter.

The billionaire president has talked about the idea with multiple people, though he hasn’t yet committed to any self-funding, according to people briefed on internal deliberations. Though Trump personally contributed $66 million to his 2016 campaign, it would be unprecedented for an incumbent president to put his own money toward winning a second term.

The Trump campaign and the RNC still have not released their fund-raising numbers for August. I wonder why?

More stories to check out today:

NBC News: Kamala Harris meets with Jacob Blake’s family in Wisconsin.

CNN Politics: Trump launches unprecedented attack on military leadership he appointed.

CBS News: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is out of coma and responsive after suspected poisoning, hospital says.

CNN: Trump is parroting the Kremlin line on the Navalny poisoning.

The New York Times: Trump Emerges as Inspiration for Germany’s Far Right.

Vanity Fair: “He is Throwing Gasoline on a fully Raging Fire”: Trump’s Kid-Glove Handling of White Supremacists Could Create a Home-Grown Crisis.

Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post: Trump is shouting his racism. He must be stopped.

Adam Serwer at The Atlantic: For the First Time, America May Have an Anti-Racist Majority.

The Washington Post: Records shed light on online harassment of Jamal Khashoggi before his killing.

The Washington Post: House Oversight Committee will investigate Louis DeJoy following claims he pressured employees to make campaign donations.

The Guardian: Julian Assange warned by judge after outburst during extradition trial.

12 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Multiple Trump Tell-All Books Releasing In September”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Wanted to leave you some cute before I work.

  2. Enheduanna says:

    Learning the Dump campaign is broke is very gratifying. More than any other outcome of this disastrous episode in our nation’s history I hope that family is completely ruined financially and socially.

  3. quixote says:

    The value of Cohen’s book is showing that the Dump despises his followers. That’s the essential thing to peel off the support of those deplorables.

    Now Dems / Lincoln Project / Meidas Touch need to make national ads of it. “Here’s what he tells you to your face. Here’s what his lawyer knows.”

    • quixote says:

      Dump’s whole appeal to them is that they think he’s on their side. That he’s for white men on top (the one thing that is true about him, but he didn’t say *which* white men). That he’ll beat up brown people, and *not* the people dumb enough to support him.

      So this could finally really hurt him with them if it’s hammered home to them clearly enough.

    • bostonboomer says:

      This is even worse:

      • quixote says:

        I saw that too, and also thought it would lose him loads of support. But then I thought one of the evangelicals ways of dealing with his putridity might give them a way out. They have this notion that, sure, he’s a stinking mass of garbage, but he’s the Lord’s tool toward a good goal.

        Whether they’ll be okay with his rottenness extending to them, specifically, or whether that’s a step too far even for a tool, will be interesting to see.

  4. bostonboomer says:

  5. NW Luna says:

    I am so looking forward to Comey getting dragged for his tipping the election to Trump.

    • quixote says:

      The only remotely adequate punishment would be spending the rest of his life in the stocks, pelted with rotten bananas.

      He’s getting off scot-free even if a few people finally wake up to the damage he did.