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The incredible, harrowing account of how American democracy was hacked by Moscow as part of a covert operation to influence the U.S. election and help Donald Trump gain the presidency. Russian Roulette is a story of political skullduggery unprecedented in American history. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry. After U.S The incredible, harrowing account of how American democracy was hacked by Moscow as part of a covert operation to influence the U.S. election and help Donald Trump gain the presidency. Russian Roulette is a story of political skullduggery unprecedented in American history. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry. After U.S.-Russia relations soured, as Vladimir Putin moved to reassert Russian strength on the global stage, Moscow trained its best hackers and trolls on U.S. political targets and exploited WikiLeaks to disseminate information that could affect the 2016 election. The Russians were wildly successful and the great break-in of 2016 was no "third-rate burglary." It was far more sophisticated and sinister — a brazen act of political espionage designed to interfere with American democracy. At the end of the day, Trump, the candidate who pursued business deals in Russia, won. And millions of Americans were left wondering, what the hell happened? This story of high-tech spying and multiple political feuds is told against the backdrop of Trump's strange relationship with Putin and the curious ties between members of his inner circle — including Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn — and Russia. Russian Roulette chronicles and explores this bizarre scandal, explains the stakes, and answers one of the biggest questions in American politics: How and why did a foreign government infiltrate the country's political process and gain influence in Washington?


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The incredible, harrowing account of how American democracy was hacked by Moscow as part of a covert operation to influence the U.S. election and help Donald Trump gain the presidency. Russian Roulette is a story of political skullduggery unprecedented in American history. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry. After U.S The incredible, harrowing account of how American democracy was hacked by Moscow as part of a covert operation to influence the U.S. election and help Donald Trump gain the presidency. Russian Roulette is a story of political skullduggery unprecedented in American history. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry. After U.S.-Russia relations soured, as Vladimir Putin moved to reassert Russian strength on the global stage, Moscow trained its best hackers and trolls on U.S. political targets and exploited WikiLeaks to disseminate information that could affect the 2016 election. The Russians were wildly successful and the great break-in of 2016 was no "third-rate burglary." It was far more sophisticated and sinister — a brazen act of political espionage designed to interfere with American democracy. At the end of the day, Trump, the candidate who pursued business deals in Russia, won. And millions of Americans were left wondering, what the hell happened? This story of high-tech spying and multiple political feuds is told against the backdrop of Trump's strange relationship with Putin and the curious ties between members of his inner circle — including Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn — and Russia. Russian Roulette chronicles and explores this bizarre scandal, explains the stakes, and answers one of the biggest questions in American politics: How and why did a foreign government infiltrate the country's political process and gain influence in Washington?

30 review for Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    Can there be such a thing as a definitive account of a complex, evolving political scandal? Perhaps not, but if such a thing were possible, Russian Roulette would be that book. There is a professionalism and solidity to Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s reporting that insures Russian Roulette's continuing relevance, despite the changing landscape of scandal, the revolving carousel of malefactors. Isikoff and Corn are good, old-fashioned journalists, with a brisk, economic reportorial style (their Can there be such a thing as a definitive account of a complex, evolving political scandal? Perhaps not, but if such a thing were possible, Russian Roulette would be that book. There is a professionalism and solidity to Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s reporting that insures Russian Roulette's continuing relevance, despite the changing landscape of scandal, the revolving carousel of malefactors. Isikoff and Corn are good, old-fashioned journalists, with a brisk, economic reportorial style (their two voices are indistinguishable), and a knack for choosing just the right facts and presenting them in just the right order to illuminate the murky depths of a complex situation. They exhibited those qualities in Hubris, that useful book on the “selling of the Iraq War,” and they exhibit those qualities here too. Since I have read a good deal about Trump, his attendant rogues and their crimes, I found much familiar material here, but, even when Corn and Isikoff were telling me things I already knew, the writers always made the timeline clearer, and clarified the important distinction between what is known, what can be surmised, what is mere speculation. I also found the book particularly helpful in its historical background: Putin’s rise, the KGB roots of current Russian intelligence, Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, the wide-ranging Clinton foundation, and—perhaps most important of all—Trump’s quest for the “holy grail” of a great Russian hotel and a personal relationship with his favorite autocrat. In every case, Russian Roulette told me just enough to prepare me for the rest of the story, without ever overtaxing my intellect or exhausting my patience. (This is true even of the IT and hacking aspects of the tale, and that is saying something.) Perhaps, though, the saddest and most informative part of the book is its account of the Obama administration in the days immediately before the election, how everything—including Obama’s overweening humility and McConnell’s unrelenting partisanship—conspired to prevent America from learning the truth about Russia. It is an account of lost possibilities and failures of courage—lapses that the American people are still paying for, and will continue to pay for throughout the years to come. Finally, for those who like a brief take-away, here it is. Is there a “pee-pee tape”? I doubt it. Is there criminal collusion in the White House? I'd be willing to bet on it. (But I'd only bet if the stakes aren't too high. I refuse to play Russian Roulette.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”Putin had once called the collapse of the Soviet Union the ‘greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.’ He was a Russian nationalist to his core. He wanted to extend Russian power, restoring its spheres of influence. He was an autocrat in the long tradition of Russian strongmen.” Thank you! America! To me, the biggest threat to the continued security of the world is Vladimir Putin. He wants to build through creating chaos. I grew up under the auspicious umbrella of the Cold War. We wer ”Putin had once called the collapse of the Soviet Union the ‘greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.’ He was a Russian nationalist to his core. He wanted to extend Russian power, restoring its spheres of influence. He was an autocrat in the long tradition of Russian strongmen.” Thank you! America! To me, the biggest threat to the continued security of the world is Vladimir Putin. He wants to build through creating chaos. I grew up under the auspicious umbrella of the Cold War. We were replacing war with spycraft, much the same way American football has replaced gladiator combat. Not that there weren’t bobbles. The Cuban Missile Crisis was too real, too close. The possibility of something going wrong during that jostling of superpowers that would light the tinder of WW3 certainly raised the blood pressure and anxiety of everyone in the United States and the Soviet Union, not to mention all the European countries who resided in-between. The spectre of nuclear holocaust had escaped the celluloid images of movies and become tangible in the bright light of day. During the October 22nd, 2012, Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, there was an exchange about Russia that I found personally very uncomfortable. Romney, in his book, had stated that Russia was our greatest geopolitical enemy. In the debate, Obama was able to pounce on this concept with what would be the zinger of the debate season. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” The right answer, of course, for this debate season was all about stopping al-Qaeda not Russia. Obama scored points with his base and independent voters with that response. We do like to be entertained by witty remarks. Obama had made Romney sound out of touch with what were the most important threats to national security. It was brilliant. The problem is that I personally still saw not so much the Russian people, but Vladimir Putin as the biggest threat to national security. 9/11 was still fresh in everyone’s mind, and fanatical Islamic terrorists were the prefered villains in American minds. When Obama’s plan to RESET with Russia came out, I was hopeful, but cynical, about what would come of it. Since I truly believe that Putin’s most important goal is to assemble the old Soviet Union, how exactly would RESET really work? I felt that Obama and his team were naive. Our embassy people in Russia were being harassed with vandalism, break-ins, aggressive abuse in the street, and being followed everywhere they went. Let’s flash forward to 2016. ”Putin, proud and vain, hated to be challenged and ridiculed. And Clinton, as he saw it, was behind all this (protests against Putin in Russia). For him, this grudge would smolder for years—with consequences no one in the U.S. government could foresee.” If Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, it was clear that Putin was going to do everything he could to destroy her. At what point did Putin believe that Donald J. Trump would emerge out of a crowded field as the Republican nominee for President? Was it before he had even declared he was running? The relationship between Putin and Trump is a slippery slope of half known truths. This book outlines the contacts that Trump and his team had with Russia prior to the election. Trump has had a long term desire to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He had two deals almost come together, but each time they fell apart due to circumstances beyond his control. I do wonder if it is possible to separate Trump’s personal ambitions from his political aspirations. I about fell out of my chair when I heard Trump asked Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, implying a shared alliance with the Russian hackers and his team. It was very reckless rhetoric, a signature of Trump’s personality. So yes, there are rolling black clouds of smoke surrounding the Trump team and their involvement with the Russians. Were they just naive of the law? This is not really an excuse I care to embrace because ignorance of the law has never worked for me in my own life. Or was there a true sinister attempt to collude or conspire to win the election? All the President’s Men! How many of these men will be wearing orange jumpsuits within the next six months? As I see the accusations unfold and the Mueller probe continue to convict Trump people of crimes that are very real crimes, but not tied to Russian collusion, I do wonder if there is going to be a big pay off, or are we going to just send a bunch of shady, rich guys to prison? I applaud that and wish we could send a lot more of them to jail. I do think it says something about Trump’s character, the type of people with whom he associates. And this too. ”Clinton had ripped into Trump for praising ‘dictators like Vladimir Putin.’ She added, ‘I’ll leave it to the psychiatrists to explain his affection for tyrants.’” Not just Putin, but the Fat Baby from North Korea, as well. It is about the economy right? I have had numerous Trump voters tell me, don’t worry about the Fake News or the Tweets or even what Trump says; just enjoy the robust economy. Probably the more baffling comments I get are the dismissive ones about Russia. They don’t see them as a threat, or they think that Trump can handle them. Did Helsinki make anyone think that Trump can handle Putin? All part of the plan right? Trump has him right where he wants him. *sigh* How about this? Does this bother anyone? ”’Trump! Trump! Trump!’ The crowd at the bar roared, as the election results came in. There was a large, life-sized photo of Trump in one corner, where Trump fans could take selfies. And a photo of Putin. The bar was in downtown Moscow.” I’ve never heard of Russia being so excited about the election of an American president. I would rather they were groaning at our election results. The hackers of Russia were bold under Obama and continue to be bold under Trump. ” At the White House, Daniel, too, was struck by the Russians’ new aggressiveness—and their noisiness. ‘It was almost like they double-dared us,’ he recalled. ‘They became even more brazen. They didn’t care that we could see them.’” We know the hacking is being orchestrated by the Russian government and the Chinese government as well. A new form of Cold War has begun although it feels pretty warm. To me having foreign powers attempting to hack vital secrets or launching insidious attacks on our elections are acts of war, and we need to hit them back hard with more sanctions or hacking attacks of our own. Putin does not understand anything but power and pain. Make him feel the pain for his actions. Make him reluctant to condone hacking attacks on any nation. We must keep our elections safe, and social media needs to keep Fake News from permeating our society. All news is fake according to Trump. It is a brazenly good strategy. If his supporters won’t believe the real news, then they won’t believe the criticisms of his administration either. If Mueller does prove collusion between Trump or members of Trump’s team or both with Russia to influence an American election, will it matter to his supporters or to Congress? Will a Democratic Congress do anything about it, or do they wait for 2020 and let the election box decide? The problems run deep on all these matters I’ve discussed. I decided to read this book because I wanted to review all the known information that is of concern regarding the Trump relationship with Russia to be prepared for what Mueller will reveal after the November elections. I do believe that Putin does have something on Trump. ”FSB has compromised TRUMP through his activities in MOSCOW sufficiently to be able to blackmail him. According to several knowledgeable sources, his conduct in Moscow has included perverted sexual acts which have been arranged/monitored by the FSB.” I believe that Trump knows Putin has something on him as well. It seems that Trump gets off on watching Russian hookers pee. Can you imagine if something like that had been revealed about Obama? The Right would have crucified him, not to mention the sanctimonious liberals in his own party. I guess for the Right to be upset about any criticism or any untoward behavior from Trump they would have to believe it first. Putin may not be in as good of a position as he thinks. As much as we want to make Russia all about Trump, and sometimes it even seems like Trump takes malicious glee in making Russia about him as well, Trump will go away. The problem that will remain will be Putin. The question isn’t, can the world survive Trump. The question is, can the world survive Putin? If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    This was really a great piece of journalism but so incredibly soul-crushing. The multiple errors of the HRC campaign and the Obama administration in not exposing the Russian hacks, Comey’s treacherous (sorry, but it was totally partisan on his part) re-opening of the bogus Clinton email investigation after the disgusting Access Hollywood tape was forgotten and the Podesta email dump had stolen the headlines. It makes me cringe and want to scream that we have Blotus in Washington undermining demo This was really a great piece of journalism but so incredibly soul-crushing. The multiple errors of the HRC campaign and the Obama administration in not exposing the Russian hacks, Comey’s treacherous (sorry, but it was totally partisan on his part) re-opening of the bogus Clinton email investigation after the disgusting Access Hollywood tape was forgotten and the Podesta email dump had stolen the headlines. It makes me cringe and want to scream that we have Blotus in Washington undermining democracy and dragging the US towards kleptocratic theocracy every day thanks to the ingenious planning of Putin and the FSB. And, no, this is not a book about a conspiracy theory - this is well-researched and fully, publicly documented. Depressing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I'm not looking forward to the sequel.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I assert my right to call this a #realreview In possession of three somewhat inter-related books on the 45th POTUS, I thought that I would craft what I am calling my Trump Trifecta, which fits nicely into this non-fiction binge whose time is waning. Some may dispute the ‘non-fiction’ nature of these books, but that is for the reviewer (myself included) to decide in analysis while weighing the information presented. After reading about some of the wonky goings-on during the first year in the Trump I assert my right to call this a #realreview In possession of three somewhat inter-related books on the 45th POTUS, I thought that I would craft what I am calling my Trump Trifecta, which fits nicely into this non-fiction binge whose time is waning. Some may dispute the ‘non-fiction’ nature of these books, but that is for the reviewer (myself included) to decide in analysis while weighing the information presented. After reading about some of the wonky goings-on during the first year in the Trump White House in the opening book (check reviews should you want to know more), this second piece explores how Trump made it from long-shot candidate to winner of the 2016 US Presidential Election. Michael Isikoff and David Corn—both journalists who covered the recent presidential election—explore numerous players in the 2016 campaign and how they are interconnected in their divergent efforts to shape events. There were three significant issues that served to define the campaign and led to a number of noteworthy outcomes: Trump’s disinterest in distancing himself from Russia, significant hacks into the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Clinton email server discovery/repercussions. In the early portion of the book, the authors lay some of the significant groundwork used to shape these overall arguments. Trump’s connection to Russia and Putin can be traced back to his desire to have a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, paired with his apparent strong desire to create a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin proved essential aspects to the future GOP candidates ongoing connection to the country. This was further solidified during the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Russia, where the authors depict Trump as trying to curry favour with the Russian leader and have him attend. This connection, alongside some leaked potential blackmail that Russian Intelligence captured during the aforementioned pageant stay, helped to strengthen Trump’s apparent desire to speak fondly of Putin and the larger Russian Government system, turning away from any criticisms or smears at any point. Moving to the year of the campaign, Isikoff and Corn discuss oddities that were found within the DNC’s email servers, cyber-footprints that could only be described as hackers having infiltrated the system and collected large portions of documentation, which included email chains that told of strongly worded opinions on a variety of sources. Some of these included the presumptive Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, while many others were from senior members of the DNC slandering Trump or Bernie Sanders. These emails were eventually released through WikiLeaks and tweeted by a number of sources that were eventually traced back to Russia, though it was only the DNC that received this rough treatment, leaving Trump and his team to stand on the side and use the documents to fuel their ongoing attacks. This hacking led to many questions about what else Russia might be able to do and how far their reach might go. Tied to the DNC hacking has to be the dark cloud that hung over its candidate and the personal server that Clinton used. While she stated that she did nothing illegal and only followed those who went before her, Clinton was not able to dodge this bullet, particularly when the FBI opened an investigation and sifted through many of the emails, finding crumbs of things that might have remnants of national security concerns. All this worked to gather negative momentum and helped Trump (and the hackers) to create a strong negative persona of the Democratic candidate. What followed was a mixture of these three issues and a number of other characters who, when added to the mix, created the most controversial and dramatic lead-ups to a presidential election in recent memory. Those who enjoy peeling back some of the layers that led to this tumultuous campaign will likely enjoy this piece, which pulls no punches and explores items from numerous perspectives. Isikoff and Corn do a masterful job of adding hype and intrigue to this, only helping to further stoke fires that have not yet dissipated. This book has all the elements of a political thriller, but with all the ties to publicly revealed information, I know it has elements of substantiated fact. Well worth the time for those who can stomach the drama. I admit outrightly that I am not a fan of the current POTUS, but I do love a good election story that shows the drama of events as they unfold. The authors have tried as best they can to depict both sides of the race, but particularly the intrusion by Russia and the seeming inability of the US Government to stop the meddling and potential voter influence of the 2016 Presidential Election. Some within the Obama Administration were too timid to act with an iron fist, concerned that it would come across as partisan, while others did not want to appear to place a thumb on the scale and tip things in any direction. Within all of this, the FBI was trying to run two significant investigations: Clinton’s email scandal and the Russian hacking, taking no side while garnering a pile of information on which they could act. The book is surely full of salacious details, particularly directed at the GOP candidate, though much of this hit the airwaves and was not disputed at the time by Trump, even though his campaign wanted to nullify it from the get-go. Some will call the book a smear campaign, putting Trump in bed with the Russians or even trying to draw parallels between hacker and troll actions with his own campaign. While I choose not to dive in wholeheartedly, the evidence is quite strong and I would challenge anyone who can explain it away to do so, rather than try to toss mud and deflect on the accusations at hand (see my review of the first book in the trifecta to see how I feel about those who do nothing but whinge and try to bang pots because they cannot defend their position). It’s damning, but so are some of the concerns raised within the Clinton email scandal and the information released, albeit illegally. With Russian hackers, a candidate seen to be colluding with them, another embroiled in an email scandal, where do we turn? Who can shed some light on all of this while trying to take the high road? Let’s go to the FBI and its director, who was in the middle of this mess. That’s where this trifecta ought to close out its analysis. But, we could not have made it there without the help of Isikoff and Corn, who paved the way and left me itching with questions and shaking my head. Kudos, Messrs. Isikoff and Corn, for a great piece of journalistic analysis. I can see the trolls (Russian and others) trying to pull down the foundations of your arguments, though you seem to have embedded them in a sturdy foundation. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steven Z.

    Each day it seems there is a new revelation related to Russian actions during the 2016 presidential election. Today for example, the New York Times reported that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has subpoenaed records of the Trump Organization to examine its relationship with Russia. As the information keeps flowing in newspapers and cable TV, and having read COLLUSION: SECRET MEETINGS, DIRTY MONEY, AND HOW RUSSIA HELPED DONALD TRUMP WIN by Luke Harding, and FIRE AND FURY by Michael Wolff my he Each day it seems there is a new revelation related to Russian actions during the 2016 presidential election. Today for example, the New York Times reported that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has subpoenaed records of the Trump Organization to examine its relationship with Russia. As the information keeps flowing in newspapers and cable TV, and having read COLLUSION: SECRET MEETINGS, DIRTY MONEY, AND HOW RUSSIA HELPED DONALD TRUMP WIN by Luke Harding, and FIRE AND FURY by Michael Wolff my head is spinning. How does one connect all the dots to see if there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and whether Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice? David Corn and Michael Isikoff may have gone a long way in doing so in their just released book, RUSSIAN ROULETTE: THE INSIDE STORY OF PUTIN’S WAR ON AMERICA AND THE ELECTION OF DONALD TRUMP. Both authors are investigative journalists and this is there second joint effort, the first being there well received, HUBRIS: THE INSIDE STORY OF SPIN, SCANDAL, and AND THE SELLING OF THE IRAQ WAR. The arguments presented by Corn and Isikoff mirror those of others that have investigated Trump’s relationship with the Russians, simply put, “follow the money.” According to the authors Trump has been obsessed with building a Trump Tower in Moscow for decades. It seems it is the missing piece to his real estate empire and a segment of his ego, as he wanted to be known as a “global oligarch.” Most recently the obsession manifested itself in 2013 at the Miss Universe Pageant that took place in Moscow. For Trump to achieve his tower in Moscow he needed affirmation from Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the beauty contest it seemed that Trump was on pins and needles as to whether the Russian leader would make an appearance. The authors point to a number of Russian oligarchs and close Putin companions in showing who Trump tried partner with to build the tower, and others he had been involved with in the past. A number of oligarchs emerge, one of which was Aras Agalarov, known as “Putin’s builder” who was Trump’s partner in the Miss Universe Pageant; in fact a letter of intent was signed between Agalarov and Trump to finance the tower but eventually fell through. Another interesting character is Felix Sater, a Russian born, and one time felon with links to the Mafia and Russian organized crime who in the 2000s was a New York real estate developer who partnered with Trump with the Trump SoHo Hotel in lower Manhattan. Further in 2010 he became a Trump advisor for a short period of time though during the presidential election campaign Trump denied knowing him or even what he looked like. In effect, Sater was a go between Trump and the oligarchs. By October, 2015 Trump signed a letter of Intent with I.C. Expert Investment to move forward with the Trump Tower venture. Discussions about financing linked I.C. Expert Investment Company with Russian banks under US economic sanctions, including Sberbank, which cosponsored the 2013 beauty pageant in Moscow. According to Sater another source for investment was VTB Bank, an institution partly owned by the Kremlin and also under US sanctions. The result was that the Trump Organization was putting together a deal that could well depend on Russian financing from blacklisted banks linked to Putin’s regime. In fact, Sater emailed Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer and “pit bull,” “I will get Putin on this program and will get Donald elected….Buddy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this. I will manage the process.” (81) At the same time Trump was cozying up to Putin on MSNBC’s Morning Joe declaring Putin as a more effective leader than Obama, who had accomplished much more than the American president. In 2008, Donald Trump, Jr. remarked; “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets….certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York…We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” In 2014, Eric Trump, Trump’s second oldest son said, “his father’s business did not rely on US banks for financing golf resort projects….We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” (89) Corn and Isikoff effectively delve into Trump’s Russian connections dating back years, and the only conclusion that can be drawn is that he was financially involved with Russian oligarchs and other unseeingly characters to the point that he still needed their assets to finance his projects. The problem was that he needed Putin’s approval. Corn and Isikoff lay out Putin’s worldview, in particular his attitude toward President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The authors weave a fascinating portrait that links a number of important characters. For example, when the Obama administration tried for a “reset” in Russian relations, Foreign Minister Lavrov requested that the US provide a visa for Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire close to Putin, and a business partner of Paul Manafort, who had been engaged in all kinds of duplicitous economic and political shenanigans in the Ukraine that resulted millions for his businesses. Putin himself was a Russian nationalist who wanted to restore Russia to its rightful place in the world. He strongly resented US “unipolar power” particularly as practiced by overthrowing autocracy in Iraq and Libya. Domestically, Putin felt that President Medvedev was too soft in dealing with Obama and announced in 2010 that he would run for President. Russia headed for a political crisis in 2011 and Putin blamed Clinton for the pro-democracy demonstrations against his election, along with domestic criticism. Putin’s resentment of Clinton would smolder for years, particularly as the State Department complained about the assassinations of Putin critics like Sergei Magnitsky which led to the Magnitsky Act in Congress geared against those who were responsible for his death. Putin would accuse the US of destabilizing the Ukraine and would seize the Crimea forcing Obama into further economic sanctions. By 2014, Putin would send troops into Ukraine. Corn and Isikoff spend a great deal of time explaining how the American election was compromised by Russian interference in 2016. They take a step by step approach which reads like a legal brief. In 2013, General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces wrote an article that argued that information warfare could be used to weaponize political divisions within another nation. Instead of conventional warfare of the past, hackers and skilled propagandists trained to exploit existing rifts within the ranks of the adversary would be employed. A US informant explained that these networks were extremely extensive “in Europe-Germany, Italy, France and the UK-and in the US….Russia has penetrated media organizations, lobbying firms, political parties, governments, and militaries in all these places.” (52) The Obama administration decided not to do anything about it as it needed Putin’s support over the Iranian nuclear situation and events in Syria. Corn and Isikoff’s information dealing with Russian Troll Farms is very concerning. Company’s like the Russian Internet Research Agency employed hundreds of people who troll Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram stealing identities, creating false individuals and news praising Putin, denouncing Obama, and attacking the European Union. Payments to these trolls was made by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a restaurateur oligarch known as Putin’s chef. By 2015 there were repeated attacks against the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the State Department, and the White House. Again, Obama believing he needed Putin on Iran and Syria, did nothing. Interestingly, a Russian hacker named “Cozybear” had been inside the DNC network since July, 2015 and among the information stolen was their entire opposition research file on Donald Trump. Cybersecurity experts surmised that APT 28, a Russian hacker tied to the GRU, Russian military intelligence had launched 19,000 separate attacks against the US between March 2015 and May 2016. The FBI and US intelligence aware of these breaches kept warning the DNC and Clinton’s campaign as to the Russian penetration of their systems. At first they could not find the breach, but finally when it was located they had difficulty closing it. Their cyber assault would snare the top official in the Clinton campaign, John Podesta, and no one in the campaign had a clue. Corn and Isikoff do an admirable job providing the links in the chain dealing with the hacking of the DNC and Clinton campaign, as well as their links to Russian intelligence. They point to WikiLeaks and the attitude of Julian Assange toward Hillary Clinton and the US in general, and the numerous contacts between the Trump people and Russian intelligence. The preliminaries to the June 9, 2016 meeting between Trump, yr. Manafort, Kushner, Goldstone and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, her translator, a Agalarov executive implicated in Russian money laundering, and Rinat Akmetshin, a former Russian intelligence officer and lobbyist in Washington is carefully explored with the now infamous comment by Trump. Jr. before the meeting in response to possible information on Clinton, “If it’s what you say, I love it.” It is clear that George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy advisor, who produced the comment by Steve Bannon, “how the fuck did he get on the list” of possible advisors, was fully engaged in trying to bring about a Trump-Putin meeting. Papadopoulos’ “big mouth” in a bar as he bragged about his work to an Australian diplomat led eventually to his indictment by Robert Mueller. Further, the buffoonish Carter Page went to Moscow to express his pro-Putin views with the permission of Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowski – seen by Moscow as a signal from the Trump campaign. It is clear that what motivated Putin in this game of political intelligence, and hacking, was to end the American sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. For the Russian president it was simple, elect Trump who had hinted strongly he would be favorable, and as a secondary benefit gain his revenge against Hillary Clinton. The question is why was Trump so favorable? What did Putin have on Trump, and/or what promises were made if an acceptable outcome was reached? The answer to these questions becomes clearer when the authors discuss the Russian concept of kompromat, a strategy to obtain compromising material on people they want to manipulate employing blackmail and threats to achieve their goals. A Russian tactic that dates back to the Cold War it is a major theme put forth by Corn and Isikoff who argue it probably applies to Trump dating back at least to 2013 and the Miss Universe Contest which is laid out in Christopher Steele’s “dossier,” which contained the salacious information pertaining to Trump’s possible sexual escapades. The authors explain how it was employed and it goes a long way to explain why Trump is so obsessed with the Mueller investigation as one can only wonder what Putin has on Trump. Corn and Isikoff review details of the actual presidential campaign following their respective party conventions. All the information that the public was bombarded with for months is present including the role of social media, particularly important today with the digital relationship between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica making news headlines and its relationship to the Trump campaign. The authors analyze events to determine their impact on the election. From Wikipedia’s 64,000 email dump, including John Podesta designed to protect Trump and hurt Clinton, i.e., the email release following the Access Hollywood tape etc. The presidential debates are covered as was the ongoing indecision on the part of the Obama administration to educate the public that they had proof of Russian interference in the election and that an FBI investigation of Russian influence during the campaign was ongoing. After a careful examination of the campaign the authors conclude that Julian Assange and Wikileaks were acting in concert with the Russians. There were too many coincidents ranging from Roger Stone’s public comments to actual events to conclude otherwise. The evidence produced by a wonder of investigative reporting makes RUSSIAN ROULETTE the most important book to emerge from the morass of the 2016 election to date. If you are confused with the daily bombardment of information, Corn and Isikoff have done a service in putting it all together in a succinct and easy to read format. What is scary is that I assume Mueller knows exactly what’s in this book, the characters, the disingenuous deals and behavior, the lies, and the mistakes, by those who should have known better. It is no wonder that Trump engaged in the “Friday night massacre” a few days ago.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie *Extremely Stable Genius*

    The Russian government is an asshole government. SURPRISE! The FSB (formerly the KGB) were harassing our diplomats prior to the Obama administration. They were beating them up, threatening them and their loved ones, and even killing their pets while they were out. Assholes. I am not one that would say positive things about Mitt Romney, mostly I’d just make fun of him; but do you recall during one of the debates, that he had with president Obama, when the question asked was “What is the biggest thr The Russian government is an asshole government. SURPRISE! The FSB (formerly the KGB) were harassing our diplomats prior to the Obama administration. They were beating them up, threatening them and their loved ones, and even killing their pets while they were out. Assholes. I am not one that would say positive things about Mitt Romney, mostly I’d just make fun of him; but do you recall during one of the debates, that he had with president Obama, when the question asked was “What is the biggest threat facing the United States today?” Mitt answered “Russia” and goddamn it he was right! President Obama laughed and replied (I’m paraphrasing) “What is this this, the 1980’s?” I love President Obama...... I miss him every minute of everyday, but he was a bit naive when it came to Russia. Just like he handled the Republicans, he was too optimistic about believing in their humanity. Silly Obama. Former Secretary of State, and winner of the 2016 presidential election by 4 million votes but yet is not the president of the U.S. because of a bunch of BS in the constitution (that must changed), Hillary Clinton called Putin out on cheating in his election at the time. This made Putin mad, and you don’t make sociopaths with short man syndrome mad. So, when Hillary ran for president, he was going to do everything in his power (of which he has a lot of) to disrupt our election. Check. When it came to light that Russia had definitely hacked the DNC (as well as the RNC.... oh the kompromat they must have on those slimy weasels), the Clinton campaign begged president Obama to come out strong about what was clearly happening and to come down hard against the Russian invasion and the Tump campaign’s collusion with it. The president (just like almost everyone else at that time..... remember?) thought that Clinton would win and didn’t want to appear to be playing partisan politics in an effort to sway the election. Oh silly Obama, why must you be such a nice guy? *sigh* Of course there is much more depressing information to be had in this book, which is quite good. The more you know the more prepared you are for whatever the future holds. We are on a precipice.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    3.5 stars Reading books about current US politics is completely useless. While Russian Roulette pulls together a lot of information about how Russia interfered in the US 2016 election, the information in the book has been overtaken many times over by the daily headlines since its publication. Having said that, Russian Roulette does a good job of laying out what was known by the authors at the time they researched and wrote the book. Unfortunately while it all sounds like a scary dystopian novel, 3.5 stars Reading books about current US politics is completely useless. While Russian Roulette pulls together a lot of information about how Russia interfered in the US 2016 election, the information in the book has been overtaken many times over by the daily headlines since its publication. Having said that, Russian Roulette does a good job of laying out what was known by the authors at the time they researched and wrote the book. Unfortunately while it all sounds like a scary dystopian novel, it isn’t. I listened to the audio, which was perfectly acceptable.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    It is difficult for a journalistic book written on current unfolding events to be a great one. There is simply not enough historical distance between the events of 2016 and earlier and today and the news keeps unfolding like the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook targeted political ad news. Russian Roulette does fill in a large number of holes in the Trump/Russia conspiracy. Russia has been actively cultivating Trump for more than a decade. The book alleges numerous bribes that Trump paid to Russia It is difficult for a journalistic book written on current unfolding events to be a great one. There is simply not enough historical distance between the events of 2016 and earlier and today and the news keeps unfolding like the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook targeted political ad news. Russian Roulette does fill in a large number of holes in the Trump/Russia conspiracy. Russia has been actively cultivating Trump for more than a decade. The book alleges numerous bribes that Trump paid to Russia for licensing and potential real estate deals and the book also alleges numerous prostitution compromat, not just the most salacious claim. If any of the above items are true, it goes a long way to explain Trump’s disturbing behavior with Putin. His whole business empire is at risk. Good book, not particularly dramatic. About 75% of the content is known to those who follow the news but the other 25% is new and pretty damning.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Scott Helms

    Can’t Wait For the Sequel This book was one 1/2 WTF and 1/2 OMG! It will go down in history as the definitive first history of the scandal that has consumed our country for over two years now. It was well researched and well written. I would think skeptics of Russian meddling would change their tune after reading. Hoping the sequel is titled: Russian Roulette II, The Prison Years: An Ode to US Patriot Robert Mueller.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ALLEN

    This book marshals some interesting facts and figures, but I'm giving it a less-than-stellar rating because it seeks to blame one President -- in this case, Barack Obama -- for America's cyber-incompetence. The fact is, this or any other nation's ability to be hacked by outsiders has been around ever since there has been easy access to the Internet, and possibly even before, when the predecessor of today's 'net existed only in large universities and research facilities. Messing with the American This book marshals some interesting facts and figures, but I'm giving it a less-than-stellar rating because it seeks to blame one President -- in this case, Barack Obama -- for America's cyber-incompetence. The fact is, this or any other nation's ability to be hacked by outsiders has been around ever since there has been easy access to the Internet, and possibly even before, when the predecessor of today's 'net existed only in large universities and research facilities. Messing with the American electoral process is the most obvious insult to our wired civilization, but "hacking" has been around a long time. Is it possible that the 20th Century was America's century because we excelled in physical and electro-mechanical things: buildings motors, tying that to mass production, introducing commercial television and large, mainframe computers, and stringing up the Internet largely on existing telephone lines? If so, then the 21st Century is not the century of the electro-mechanical but the purely digital, and we are losing it. Probably every President from Clinton on deserves part of the blame, since preserving our country from foreign attack is the province of the federal government, in particular our Commander-in-Chief, and next to nothing has been done to repel such attacks on the American cyber-front.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Reads & Reviews

    Best summary of the Russian attacks on our democracy that I've read so far. Trump is a co-conspirator, a traitor, and an illegitimate occupier of the White House. The sooner he and his circus of criminals are removed, the better.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Miss Universe 2013 Moscow Description: RUSSIAN ROULETTE is a story of political skullduggery unprecedented in American history. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry. After U.S.-Russia relations soured, as Vladimir Putin moved to reassert Russian strength on the global stage, Moscow trained its best hackers and trolls on U.S. political targets and exploited WikiLeaks to disseminate information that could affect the 2016 election. The Russians w Miss Universe 2013 Moscow Description: RUSSIAN ROULETTE is a story of political skullduggery unprecedented in American history. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry. After U.S.-Russia relations soured, as Vladimir Putin moved to reassert Russian strength on the global stage, Moscow trained its best hackers and trolls on U.S. political targets and exploited WikiLeaks to disseminate information that could affect the 2016 election. The Russians were wildly successful and the great break-in of 2016 was no "third-rate burglary." It was far more sophisticated and sinister -- a brazen act of political espionage designed to interfere with American democracy. At the end of the day, Trump, the candidate who pursued business deals in Russia, won. And millions of Americans were left wondering, what the hell happened? This story of high-tech spying and multiple political feuds is told against the backdrop of Trump's strange relationship with Putin and the curious ties between members of his inner circle -- including Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn -- and Russia. This will be the book that is studied in the history classes in future times as it lays out the core of the jigsaw in unambiguous and easy to understand terms.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a comprehensive look at everything we currently know about Russian interference in the 2016 election, connections between Trump's campaign and Russia, and reactions of both campaigns and the media to the scandal. I recommend the audio, as dealing with all the Russian names was easier for me when hearing them than it would have reading them. A lot of this was stuff I'd already heard, but there were many details that were unfamiliar to me and it was quite staggering to have it all put toge This is a comprehensive look at everything we currently know about Russian interference in the 2016 election, connections between Trump's campaign and Russia, and reactions of both campaigns and the media to the scandal. I recommend the audio, as dealing with all the Russian names was easier for me when hearing them than it would have reading them. A lot of this was stuff I'd already heard, but there were many details that were unfamiliar to me and it was quite staggering to have it all put together in one place. It's unbelievable to me that so many people don't seem to find this alarming simply because it benefited their candidate. In any case, this is a must read for political junkies! Oh, and god I hope there's a juicy sequel! *Used for PopSugar 2018 Reading Challenge prompt "A book about a problem facing society today."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Misfit

    “If this is true,” he exclaimed, “it’s treason.” That quote, and the context it was made are towards the end of the book, so I won't tell you more. This was a fascinating read, and at times reads like a spy novel. It starts at the beginning of it all and leads the reader through all the twists and turns of each new development in this saga. Interesting how long it took the reporters to start putting it all together, as was the same for the intelligence community.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump is a well-researched book by veteran journalists and investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn, one of international espionage and political intrigue set in motion to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. However, if you have been paying attention to the daily news, there is not any new or groundbreaking information disclosed in this book. It is impossible to stay ahead of the dai Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump is a well-researched book by veteran journalists and investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn, one of international espionage and political intrigue set in motion to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. However, if you have been paying attention to the daily news, there is not any new or groundbreaking information disclosed in this book. It is impossible to stay ahead of the daily, and often hourly, breaking news pertaining to the Trump administration. However, one of the biggest strengths of this book is that all of the information pertaining to Donald Trump's involvement with Russia and Vladimir Putin is now in one place and set forth chronologically in a riveting manner with the identification of all of the players in a clear timeline. It is a "who's who" of the Russian oligarchy and how they interfaced with Donald Trump and his family as well as many of those previously associated with the Trump campaign. It becomes quite clear that Robert Mueller and his investigators have done a remarkable job in working their way through this morass of data, and no doubt, have many of the answers before the questions are being asked. What happens remains to be seen but this book lays a great foundation.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robin Case

    Not impressed. I found the writing style to be a little low brow and annoying. A lot of fluff and ugly pointless fill. A lot of name dropping. Makes the 1% look like the perverts they probably are. Trump's behavior is about par for this group. You can skip this one and never miss it. Nothing new of any substance. Gossip and not much more than that. If you followed the election you already know this stuff.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mymymble

    When I find myself in tweets of trouble, Mother Russia comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, covfefe....

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    This would have been more fun to read - if I hadn't already watched Rachel Maddow every night for this past year of Trumpian horror. Nevertheless, even though there was virtually NOTHING new in the book, it was still interesting to read it through Isikoff's and Korn's eyes. They put everything in order and took a few of the characters (and what a plethora of WEIRD characters there are) and added some details. How did Trump find these dudes? One of the best lines (and a chapter heading) comes fro This would have been more fun to read - if I hadn't already watched Rachel Maddow every night for this past year of Trumpian horror. Nevertheless, even though there was virtually NOTHING new in the book, it was still interesting to read it through Isikoff's and Korn's eyes. They put everything in order and took a few of the characters (and what a plethora of WEIRD characters there are) and added some details. How did Trump find these dudes? One of the best lines (and a chapter heading) comes from Steve Bannon when he hears that (now-indicted) George Papadopoulos is publicly listed as a "foreign policy adviser": "How the fuck did he get on the list?" The same could have been asked, of course, about Carter Page and the rest of the list. In fact.....if all is said and done....the same could be asked about Trump himself.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Everyone should read this book. Period. Especially here in the United States. I knew about most of the things authors Corn & Isikoff write in the book, having watched lots of MSNBC in the last 24 months. The U.S. has been taken over by agents of Russia and this book explains in a clear, understandable fashion how that happened. Why Americans are not more upset about this is beyond me. Read. This. Book. Everyone should read this book. Period. Especially here in the United States. I knew about most of the things authors Corn & Isikoff write in the book, having watched lots of MSNBC in the last 24 months. The U.S. has been taken over by agents of Russia and this book explains in a clear, understandable fashion how that happened. Why Americans are not more upset about this is beyond me. Read. This. Book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Dickison

    This is a well written book, all too familiar, and very depressing. I was a member of the Air Force Security Service in the 60's and the Russians are still using some of the same tactics to ensnare stupid and crooked Americans. The book is not really finished because the scandal is not still finished, and won't be until Trump and this thugs are in jail. To think that Americans elected this piece of crap!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Denise Morse

    Extremely well-written, well researched and the definitive guide to everything happening in the world right now relating to Trump and Russia. The book truly lays out everything in an easy to understand, chronological order. So many insights and so many connections. It is a must read. Spoiler alert: Its NOT a WITCH HUNT

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cristobal

    This thing read like a Tom Clancy novel where Jack Ryan and Company don’t actually get their shit together and end up saving the day. How exasperating.

  24. 5 out of 5

    J.

    For What It's Worth : Let's start off with a quick confession. I've been a politics junkie of late, and nothing is more fascinating in this era than the Trump-Russia probe. An adventure that's got everything-- white-knuckle moments of confrontation and accusation, intriguing coldwar-reprise spycraft & deception, and near-shakespearean levels of hubris and ominously flawed self-regard. A tale of a doomed, reverse Excalibur, where he (insert your guess here) who dares grasp the sword is fated to li For What It's Worth : Let's start off with a quick confession. I've been a politics junkie of late, and nothing is more fascinating in this era than the Trump-Russia probe. An adventure that's got everything-- white-knuckle moments of confrontation and accusation, intriguing coldwar-reprise spycraft & deception, and near-shakespearean levels of hubris and ominously flawed self-regard. A tale of a doomed, reverse Excalibur, where he (insert your guess here) who dares grasp the sword is fated to live forever in the dumpster of history. And everyone who will be his accomplice --is splattered and stained with the same shame. For The General Reader : Those who want to be updated on just how we got here might do a lot worse than the Isikoff / Corn account. I can't rate its accessibility for the average reader, because I came to it having read hundreds, maybe thousands of pages about this already. So a daunting cast of characters was, for myself anyway, almost entirely comprised of persons I knew something about already. I can say, though, this doesn't try for being a completist sort of account, either. It struck me that it seemed well-paced and concise, though probably best suited to a general readership with some familiarity with the material. Several thoughts came to mind in reading through this. In no particular order: For The Record : Trump is definitely a Russian asset. That’s not even up for debate. Anyone who’s read spy fiction or non-fiction knows --there are an infinite array of levels of asset, from the deeply embedded government mole who passes nuke schematics to the enemy-- all the way down the line to the hat-check girl at the after-hours club, who can tell tales on important somebodies. Or perhaps as importantly, even just the nights they were out late. So Trump is somewhere on the spectrum, even if not very consciously so, and even if we go only by his own public admissions. One of the things I’m realizing as I read the Russian Roulette book--- is that the Dnc hack and then the WikiLeaks / Guccifer leaks of same-- did not really matter in the election. Think back. What did we find out from those leaks (which were emails from HRC, Podesta, Mook, Abedin, Wasserman-Shultz, etc etc)…? Net value: nyet. We learned crap-level gossip, like the Dnc was favoring HRC and was mean to Bernie Sanders. That Donna Brazile had handed off one of the debate questions to the Clinton people. Junk level anecdotes. Barely a news item there in any of it. But the media narrative says the Dnc hacks were the foundation of the whole Russiagate thing, and the right wing points to it as being standard election dirty tricks, that there was no actual criminal activity, that Mueller is on a witch hunt, etc etc. Thing is, the CozyBear / FancyBear actions in the matter overall-- that is, the active measures from Russian intelligence-- are what count. Not the effectiveness of the data they dropped. But rather in the sense that all of it, the thousands of pages, the death by a million cuts, swelled the disinformation being filtered into the American electorate. That overall, Clinton was untrustworthy because of emails or something, and Trump was coarse but just the antidote to that smirking liberal elitism which despises real Americans--yes, but the bigger picture. Because the Dnc thing is like number 137 on a list of Trump-Russian-Intelligence interactions, starting long long ago with the Russian funny-money buying his properties in the 8os. Once you concede that Putin’s Russia is a mafia state, it’s clearer than clear that his intel services and financial entities--- are mafia mechanisms. That ensnared silly, grabby, tabloid-trashy Trump. It isn’t a political story, or a spy story. It’s a Russian Mafia story. So to even discuss Trump as “an asset” is wrong. Because that kind of implies agent, actor, some independence but aligned with a foreign minder, on certain accounts. Because that hat-check girl can actually cut off her arrangement, steer clear, but Trump can't. When you go with the more likely Russian Mafia overlay-- he’s a front-man, an owned employee, a low-level somebody who fronts for the made men-- you understand what he is. Simply described, Trump is a puppet. And his every move is furtive, guilty, a default denial before the accusation even arises … For The Trainspotters : Some fun factoids emerge in Russian Roulette, notably a few that aren't quite common knowledge: * The HRC campaign nearly did a little spy catching themselves, but thought better of it: Clinton campaign manager Rob Mook, armed with warnings from the Fbi, "... wondered if the campaign could mount what he called a "honeypot" operation. The Clinton team would plant phony information about Clinton or the campaign within the Dnc computer system and wait to see if the Trump campaign or its allies later made public use of it. If they did, it would prove that the Trump camp was in league with the Russians." The idea was voted down as being too melodramatic. Probably a good call. But they could have done it anyway, kept it quiet, and tucked it up their sleeve for insurance. Hindsight. * From one of the Steele memos that comprise the dossier, a miniscule notation, an accusation, that the Trump camp was "using moles within the Dnc and hackers in the U.S.-- to provide intelligence to Russia." Small thing, but no Dnc 'mole' has ever surfaced or been identified, anyone working for Trump within the Dnc at cross-purposes to the campaign. Interesting because almost all of the Steele Dossier material has been borne out so far, and if this is the case, that person is in a position to know a lot of things. The mere existence of such a person would be direct evidence of collusion, full stop. * This one is an Analysis sort of point, but valid nonetheless: it was judged within the Obama security apparatus and cabinet that returning fire, in cyber terms, for what they were watching coming in from Russia would put the U.S. at a disadvantage. "In one of the meetings, Director of National Intelligence Clapper said that he was worried that Russia might respond with cyberattacks against America's critical infrastructure--and possibly shut down the electrical grid." Validating the inherent superiority, in asymmetrical war conditions, of the party that has less to lose (than a tech-driven superpower like the U.S.) For Fuck's Sake : All this isn't about some zany "dirty tricks" from a bygone election. Asymmetrical war isn't cold war, with its brinksmanship and balance-of-power nuances. It is direct confrontation via other means, actual hot war, with the lesser party intending to inflict Pearl Harbor or 9-11 type physical damages on the stronger party, with surprise as the defining element. It was two days before the election, and Clint Watts was still trying to warn America. The former FBI analyst and two colleagues published a report noting that they had monitored more than seven thousand media accounts in the previous thirty months and had discerned a "small army of social media operatives" with the goal of "moving misinformation and disinformation from primarily Russian-influenced circles into the general social media population." They saw an integrated and coordinated Russian attack. There are two prongs to the Trump Russia story, as I see it. First is the long and dire history of citizen Trump, his failed loans, marriages, businesses, careers, his later bankruptcies and finally, self-reinvention. Which came with the aid of his money-laundering escapades involving secret, dirty Russian money. The Second is the closely related campaign from the New Russia, the mafia state, the entity that regrets its failed status since the Wall came down and the country went gangster. This is the asymmetrical-war-plan of disinformation and disruption, using financial and cyber means mainly-- though in a last resort, military, as in Ukraine-- to reassert itself into what it considers its rightful superpower status.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    Unless you've experienced sensory deprivation for the last year and a half, you know that Russians influenced the 2016 election. Overwhelming evidence has come to light and dribbled out through hundreds of news stories and books. Not to mention the indictments that have already come down through Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump campaign's multiple links to the Kremlin. Much less well known outside the confines of the American intelligence establishment are the facts about exactly what Unless you've experienced sensory deprivation for the last year and a half, you know that Russians influenced the 2016 election. Overwhelming evidence has come to light and dribbled out through hundreds of news stories and books. Not to mention the indictments that have already come down through Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump campaign's multiple links to the Kremlin. Much less well known outside the confines of the American intelligence establishment are the facts about exactly what steps the Russian government took to destabilize US society and help Donald Trump win the White House. Now come veteran investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn with Russian Roulette. The book's subtitle is the key: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.  If you've closely followed the unfolding story about the multiple connections between Donald Trump's associates and top Kremlin officials, the so-called oligarchs, and the Russian mafia, you're unlikely to find much in Russian Roulette that will surprise you. The book contains abundant detail, fleshing out the often-sketchy stories that have surfaced in the press; seemingly, every individual name that has come to light over the past eighteen months in the reporting of this unfolding scandal figures in the authors' account. There are few startling revelations in this story, which has been extensively covered by the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, The New Yorker, and other American news outlets. The true value in Russian Roulette lies elsewhere. Isikoff and Corn's book excels in its detailed description of the massive effort mounted by Russian intelligence to deepen the divisions and distrust within American society, destroy Hillary Clinton's reputation, and help Donald Trump win the presidency. In Russian Roulette, you'll meet the players central to the massive Russian campaign, including the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency and the two large hacker groups dubbed Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear by US intelligence. At a minimum, two hundred Russians were engaged in the Kremlin-driven effort over at least two years. Only in recent months has the full extent of this campaign come to the attention of the US public. Vladimir Putin and the 2016 election Despite the repeated denials from the White House and Trump loyalists in Congress and on Fox News, there can be no doubt whatsoever that the Russian influence campaign was real. Early in January 2017, two weeks before Donald Trump's inauguration as President, the heads of the four top US intelligence agencies issued a joint statement. "With 'high confidence,' the assessment stated, 'Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Hillary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.'" The statement was signed by James Clapper (Director of National Intelligence), John Brennan (CIA), Michael Rogers (NSA), and James Comey (FBI), the four most senior intelligence officials in the US government under President Barack Obama. Given the rivalry within the intelligence community—and the time it took them to reach agreement on the wording—this assessment is remarkable. Did the Russians help Donald Trump win? More than 130 million votes were cast in the 2016 presidential election. Innumerable factors contributed to Trump's victory, including strategic errors by Hillary Clinton and her staff, Trump's demagogic skills, successful years-long Republican efforts to suppress minority voting, the failure of the Obama White House to highlight and respond to the Russian influence campaign, and James Comey's misleading announcement eleven days before the election that the FBI was investigating a fresh collection of Hillary Clinton emails. If a mere 70,000 votes had changed hands in the three swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin, Clinton would have won the Electoral College as well as the popular vote. Given these facts, it's impossible to determine whether the Russian campaign was decisive. And the joint statement by the intelligence community insisted that "'We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.'" Yet, reading between the lines, it appears the the authors have drawn their own conclusion—that Putin's gambit did in fact play a significant role in Trump's election. Isikoff and Corn drive this point home with a colorful detail: "the Russian Duma burst into applause when informed Trump was the victor. Putin's operation—which had fueled divisions within the United States and influenced an American presidential election—had succeeded." About the authors Michael Isikoff is currently the Chief Investigative Correspondent for Yahoo! News. He previously served in senior roles at Newsweek and NBC News. Russian Roulette is his third book. David Corn is chief of the Washington bureau for Mother Jones. Previously, he was The Nation's Washington correspondent. He won the prestigious George Polk Award for his reporting in 2013. Corn has written six books, including one novel and four other nonfiction works as well as Russian Roulette.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Char Freund

    Please don’t read this review if you plan on arguing politics. My interest in history is more investigative. Why did that happen? What if y happened instead of x? How did we get to here? Where does this end? So this book answers a lot for me. I have been following and researching the Russian interest in the election since the “Russia, if you're listening...” declaration in the debates. I read Bannon’s essays on overthrowing the Vatican and the Constitution. I read the bios of the Cabinet members Please don’t read this review if you plan on arguing politics. My interest in history is more investigative. Why did that happen? What if y happened instead of x? How did we get to here? Where does this end? So this book answers a lot for me. I have been following and researching the Russian interest in the election since the “Russia, if you're listening...” declaration in the debates. I read Bannon’s essays on overthrowing the Vatican and the Constitution. I read the bios of the Cabinet members and saw how they fit into his plan to appoint members who would self destruct each position. I looked for sources of Facebook posts before the election and discovered no valid source and proof to discredit many of the posts. I’ve been fortunate to travel since retiring so talked macropolitics with Europeans and listened as they matter of factly discussed the Russian interference in Brexit. Several even told me that Europeans had proof of all of this years ago. So I was going to read the book regardless. The authors are both credible and had been unbiased in their previous works. It was easier to understand than I expected. The chronological series of events form a connect the proven and documented dots so well that you have to ask why the media chose to waste time on superfluous events instead. Since it is impolite to talk politics in the US, I tried to contain my opinions as much as possible. (Ok, some know I wasn’t always able to do so.) But I’m asking others to read and research any questions as they do. And this is a big request, to view the ongoing investigation in the same manner. Let the facts emerge before deciding the verdict.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This is a solid investigative journalism book about the connection between Donald Trump and various Russian interests - both governmental and non-governmental. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the current controversy surrounding the President, as to the degree of cooperation between Russian intelligence and the Trump campaign, and how much money was poured into US right wing political organizations and campaigns by the government of Russia to ensure that an authoritarian-friendly Pre This is a solid investigative journalism book about the connection between Donald Trump and various Russian interests - both governmental and non-governmental. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the current controversy surrounding the President, as to the degree of cooperation between Russian intelligence and the Trump campaign, and how much money was poured into US right wing political organizations and campaigns by the government of Russia to ensure that an authoritarian-friendly President was elected, who would be more favorably disposed toward Russia. Quotes from the book: From the Introduction "It's a shakedown." "For years Trump had pursued business deals in Russia, continuing to do so even through the first months of his presidential campaign--and this colored how he would engage with ...Vladimir Putin." From Chapter 1 - "Mr. Putin would like to meet Mr. Trump." "[Trump] would be close to branding the Moscow skyline with his world-famous name and enhancing his own status as a sort of global oligarch." "...what motivated Trump the most: the opportunity to build more monuments to himself and to make more money." From Chapter 2 - "We did not recognize the degree it would tick Putin off." "A few weeks before Litvinenko was poisoned [with radioactive polonium-210], Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia's most prominent journalists, was shot to death outside her Moscow apartment." "[Christopher Steele:] "Here was a member of the United Nations Security Council that had just committed an act of nuclear terrorism." "...Garry Kasparov, the one-time world chess champion... had become a well-known Russian opposition leader and passionate foe of Putin." "In August 2008, Russia invaded Georgia in support of pro-Russia separatists." "...[In March 2009 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov wanted [then Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton to help [billionaire Russian oligarch/suspected Russian organized crime associate Oleg] Deripaska obtain a visa." "The determination of Russia's spy service to infiltrate American political and government circles had not waned [despite the end of the Cold War]." "Around the time of the Uranium One [since 2013 a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom] deal, the company chairman's family foundation donated about $2.35 million to Clinton Foundation programs." "Putin had once called the collapse of the Soviet Union the "Greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century."" From Chapter 3 - "Are we here because Clinton texted us?" "At the APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] dinner [in September 2012, Putin] ... told Clinton [that during the war] his father, a soldier, came home [to Leningrad] from the front lines for a short break. Near the apartment he shared with his wife, he saw bodies stacked on the street. Men were loading them on to a truck. In the pile, he spotted a leg with a shoe he recognized. It was his wife's shoe. He demanded her body. The men first refused but then relented. He picked up the body and realized his wife was not dead. He carried her to their apartment. She recuperated. Eight years later, she gave birth to Vladimir Putin." "Obama wanted to promote human rights causes --so long as they did not interfere with other foreign policy objectives." From Chapter 4 - "You don't know me, but I'm working on a troll farm." "This is my backyard," Putin told British Prime Minister David Cameron in a phone call to discuss the crisis [in February 2014, referring to the ouster of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Yanukovych following the Maidan revolution]. "The West has repeatedly humiliated me, over Libya, over Syria, etc., for the last ten years." "In response to Putin's [March 2014] actions in Ukraine [including the annexation of Crimea]... At a fundraiser, Clinton, now preparing for her not-yet-announced presidential run, compared Putin's moves in Ukraine to "what Hitler did back in he 30s."" "[The secret Kremlin] ...source claimed that Putin was increasingly being influenced by [an] ...ultra-nationalist Orthodox Russian monk, Father Tikhon Shevkunov, whose principal message was that Putin had a divine mission to save Russia from its demise and to defend Christian values against the liberal secular West." "[The Kremlin secret source also indicated that] ... Putin and his inner circle had nothing but utter contempt for Obama and his administration--much of it cast in racist terms." "The Russian [secret] source...told his American contact that the Kremlin was planning a wide-ranging, multifaceted campaign to attack Western institutions and undermine Western democracies." "The [secret] source also reported there was a burgeoning relationship between Russian agents and France's right-wing National Front led by Marine Le Pen." "...the [secret] source explained...Putin's larger strategic vision: "to destroy NATO, destroy the European Union, and seriously harm the United States."" "In early 2014, as the Ukrainian crisis raged....Trump, still enamored with Putin after the [November 2013 Moscow] Miss Universe contest, couldn't seem to work out a coherent response to Putin's aggression in Ukraine." "...Trump continued to express admiration for Putin." "Trump appeared to be venerating Putin for assaulting Ukraine and violating international norms." "Trump would not criticize the man whose permission he would need to to build a Trump Tower in Moscow." "...the Internet Research Agency: Located in a nondescript but heavily guarded office building [in St. Petersburg] ...it employed hundreds of Russians who created fake internet identities and planted stories on social media platforms..." "For [Russian internet activist and troll farm infiltrator Lyudmila] Savchuk, the final straw came after opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down and murdered crossing a bridge one block from the Kremlin in February 2015." "After the [June 2015] article [in the Russian newspaper Moi Raion revealing the existence of the Internet Research Agency] was published, an anti-government Russian hacking group, Anonymous International, cracked into the Internet Research Agency's computers and discovered that payments to the trolls were being made through a holding company owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch and restaurateur close to the Russian president and known as "Putin's chef."" "Throughout the Cold War, Soviet intelligence agencies had sought to sow dissension in the West and stir up anti-American sentiment through false narratives, phony documents, and concocted news stories." "There was little doubt what had provoked the new aggressiveness: the Ukraine-related sanctions." From Chapter 6 - "Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it." "[Trump] drew large numbers of fans to rallies where he angrily decried the political establishment, flogged the media, mocked his rivals, touted his success, and promised that Trump--he tended to refer to himself in the third person--would do great things for America." "...here was a potentially serious conflict of interest: A candidate was seeking the White House and simultaneously pursuing a business venture that could proceed only if the government of a foreign adversary give it the green light." "In ... [an] email to [Michael] Cohen, [onetime felon turned FBI informant Felix] Sater noted, "Buddy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process."" "In 2010, Sater joined the Trump Organization as a consultant, seeking out deals." "In 2017, golf writer James Dodson recounted a 2014 conversation with Eric Trump, Trump's second oldest son, in which this Trump said his father's business did not rely on U.S. banks for financing its various golf resort projects and explained, "We have all the funding we need out of Russia."" "A 2017 Reuters review of real estate records found that at least sixty-three individuals with Russian passports or addresses bought at least $98 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida. The identify of hundreds of other owners was masked by shell companies and could not be determined." From Chapter 7 - "He's been a Russian stooge for fifteen years." "[Viktor] Yanukovych was a sour, heavyset man with a checkered past. As a teenager, he had spent time in prison for robbery and assault." "Manafort figured out which hot-button issues to use to enhance Yanukovych's and the Party of Region's popularity, focusing on the rights of Russian-speaking Ukrainians and opposition to Ukraine entering the NATO alliance." "In 2011, Yulia Tymoshenko - the Ukrainian politician whom Yanukovych had defeated in the 2010 presidential election --had filed a civil lawsuit in federal court in New York that accused her political opponents of having operated a U.s.-based racketeering enterprise. The suit alleged that Manafort had colluded with Dmitry Firtash, a Putin-connected Ukrainian natural gas magnate and a Yanukovych ally, to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains from Ukrainian gas interests through a "labyrinth" of companies in Panama, Cyprus, and Europe -and into real estate ventures in New York City." "...[Manafort] ... was exploring how to exploit his Trump connection for personal gain." From Chapter 8 - "How the fuck did he get on the list?" "As the FBI would come to suspect, [Carter] Page and [George] Papadopoulos were being cultivated by cutouts for Russian intelligence, as part of a sophisticated operation to infiltrate and influence the Trump campaign." "...one of those [Russian] efforts [to forge a relationship with the Trump campaign] came through a broader Russian initiative to gain influence within the American conservative movement." "In December 2015, [Michael] Flynn was invited to speak in Moscow at a celebration of the tenth anniversary of RT, the Russian government propaganda outlet." "...the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service...this [Russian military intelligence] officer said, was preparing to cause chaos in the U.S. election." From Chapter 9 - "If it's what you say I love it." "In 2015, Trump welcomed [Rob Goldstone and Emin Agalarov] ... into his office... They came bearing a secret message: The Putin regime wanted to help Trump win the White House." "...Papadopoulos had been told that the Russians had "dirt" on [Hillary] that included "thousands of emails."" "At the time of the Trump Tower meeting, Veselnitskaya was ... representing the Katsyv family. This time the client was Katsyv's son, Denis Katsyv, whose Cyprus -based company, Prevezon Holdings, had been charged by U.S. attorney Preet Bharara's office with laundering proceeds from the $230 million Russian tax fraud exposed by Sergei Magnitsky and funneling this money into purchases of New York real estate. The case was political dynamite for Putin; it grew out of the allegations that had led to the Magnitsky Act--the sanctions law..." "...Trump's senior advisers now had ... reason to believe that Putin's regime wanted Trump to win and was willing to act clandestinely to boost his chances." "One proposal [by the State Department] was to cut U.S. government contracts with Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cyber security firm whose founder, Eugene Kaspersky, had graduated from a KGB academy." From Chapter 10 - " Wikileaks has a very big year ahead." "[According to a 6/16/16 CrowdStrike report https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/bear...] In June 2014, [Russian state hackers Fancy Bear] ... had penetrated the Ukrainian Central Election Commission's network, destroying data and posting fake election results on its website." "...the Trump camp [refused] ... to acknowledge the Russians were intervening in the U.S. presidential election. Trump's senior advisers revealed nothing indicting they had recently been told the Kremlin secretly wanted to help Trump become president." From Chapter 11 - "I have to report this to headquarters." "[Steele's] ... collector, relaying what he had been told by his contacts, informed Steele that the Russians had been targeting and cultivating Trump for years and had even gathered kompromat on him, specifically tales of weird sexual indiscretions that the collector said "were an open secret" in Moscow." "[Steele memo:] "Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance."" "[Steele memo:] "...[Trump] and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals."" "[Steele memo:] "Former top Russian intelligence officers claims FSB has compromised TRUMP thorough his activities in MOSCOW sufficiently to be able to blackmail him. According to several knowledgeable sources, his conduct in Moscow has included perverted sexual acts which have been arranged/monitored by the FSB."" "[Two sources within the government of Russia]...told...the collector--that Moscow had been running an operation for years to cultivate and co-opt Trump and this project was "supported and directed" by Putin." "According to Source C, a senior Russian financial officials, the Trump operation was part of Putin's overall plan to sow disunity within the United States and the trans-Atlantic alliance. This source reported having heard Putin express his desire to return to the nineteenth-century style of "Great Power" politics in which nations would pursue their own interests rather than an ideals-based international order." "Steele had forwarded [the report to Clinton campaign chief undercover oppo research man & Fusion GPS owner Glenn Simpson] on a thumb drive with a pass-code via Federal Express." "Much later, Steele would say that he believed 70 to 90 percent of the broad assertions of his reporting--that Russia had mounted a campaign to cultivate Trump and had colluded with the Trump campaign--was true."

  28. 4 out of 5

    Farhana

    Gabriel Garcia's "Chronicles of a Death Fortold" version of Trump's winning presidential election!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Theiss

    When Trump was elected to the US presidency, it seemed impossible that my fellow citizens could have voted for a narcissist with a history of sexual assault and harassment, multiple bankruptcies, a nasty habit of constant lying, and no moral compass. As it turns out, Trump had plenty of help from Russian operatives during his campaign. While the extent to which Trump campaign staff coordinated with Russia is unclear, Isikoff and Corn painstakingly document relationships and meetings between infl When Trump was elected to the US presidency, it seemed impossible that my fellow citizens could have voted for a narcissist with a history of sexual assault and harassment, multiple bankruptcies, a nasty habit of constant lying, and no moral compass. As it turns out, Trump had plenty of help from Russian operatives during his campaign. While the extent to which Trump campaign staff coordinated with Russia is unclear, Isikoff and Corn painstakingly document relationships and meetings between influential Russians and campaign staffers, most notably Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, and Carter Page. If you want a well-documented account of what happened between the Trump campaign and the Russians, this book is a good place to start. I’d also highly recommend Luke Harding’s book, Collusion, that’s written in a more accessible but less well-documented style. For gripping background reading that will enhance your understanding of recent Russian politics and political history, I highly recommend Browder’s Red Notice (hair raising and reads like a novel) and Harding’s Russian Mafia and A Very Expensive Poison.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    Political writers David Corn and Michael Isikoff have written "Russian Roulette", the well-told story of Russia's meddling in the politics of the United States. I'm not judging the political story told, but merely how it was told. The reader has to make up his own mind about the political ramifications of Corn and Isikoff's story, which begins with the 2016 US Presidential election and goes back from there to look at Russia/United States relations since the Soviet Union became Russia. Corn and Is Political writers David Corn and Michael Isikoff have written "Russian Roulette", the well-told story of Russia's meddling in the politics of the United States. I'm not judging the political story told, but merely how it was told. The reader has to make up his own mind about the political ramifications of Corn and Isikoff's story, which begins with the 2016 US Presidential election and goes back from there to look at Russia/United States relations since the Soviet Union became Russia. Corn and Isikoff are professional writers and they know how to tell a story. Even though they begin with Trump, the connections between the two countries began in the 1990's. Savvy Mikhail Gorbochov was succeeded by Boris Yeltsin, who was followed by Vladimir Putin, a cagey former KGB foreign intelligence officer. Each of the three American presidents who dealt with Putin in turn had different views of the Russian leader. The authors go into detail about Putin's control of his world, where oligarchs and businessmen came and went, while Putin remained in power and the political and financial corruption flourished. But Donald Trump met Vladimir Putin a few years before he became US president. He was trying to do business - hotel business - in Moscow and visited the country in 2013 with his Miss Universe contest. The authors go on to discuss Putin's relationship with Trump in the years since. No one reading this book will change his mind about Donald Trump. That cake's baked for most of us. But, if you're looking for a well written political book, you really should read "Russian Roulette".

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