Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, by Seth Abramson (Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2018, 448 pages).
Book Review by Dennis Moore
For the first time, the full, explosive record of the unthinkable: how a US president compromised American foreign policy in exchange for promise of future business and covert election assistance.
January 25, 2019 (San Diego) - Coming at a time when President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is scheduled to testify publicly in Congress on February 7, 2019, Seth Abramson has written a provocative and timely book; Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America.
Looking back at this moment in history, historians will ask if Americans knew they were living through the first case of criminal conspiracy between an American presidential candidate turned commander in chief and a geopolitical enemy. The answer might be: it was hard to see the whole picture. The stories coming in from around the globe have often seemed fantastical: clandestine meetings in foreign capitals, secret recordings in a Moscow hotel, Kremlin agents infiltrating the Trump inner circles.
Perhaps the most profound statement by Abramson in this riveting and insightful book, is made in the very first chapter; “Russia and the Trumps”, as he states: “AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS OF FINANCIAL FAILURES IN RUSSIA – failures born not of a lack of desire to succeed but a lack of access to the people in Russia who make wealth creation possible – the Trumps discover that the key to making a fortune in real estate in Russia is greasing the skids with influential Russian officials. When the Trumps finally learn this lesson in the early 2000s, the result is the Russian riches that the family, particularly its patriarch, Donald Trump Sr., has long sought. The family gains, too, a new set of Russian, Russian-American, and Soviet-born allies who will in time rescue the family from its business struggles in the recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s, when many U.S. banks are declining to lend to the Trump Organization. Many of these new allies have criminal histories, dubious business practices, close ties to the Kremlin, or all three.”
Seth Abramson has tracked every one of these far-flung reports and now, in Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, finally gives us a record of the unthinkable – a president compromising American foreign policy in exchange for the promise of future business and covert election assistance. The attorney, professor and former criminal investigator has used his exacting legal mind and forensic acumen to compile, organize and analyse every piece of the Trump-Russia story. His conclusion is clear: the case for conclusion is staring us in the face.
Drawing from American and European news outlets, Abramson takes readers through the Trump-Russia scandal chronologically, putting the developments in context and showing how they connect. His extraordinary march through all the public evidence includes:
· How Trump worked for thirty years to expand his real estate empire into Russia even as he was rescued from bankruptcy by Putin’s oligarchs and Kremlin agents.
· How Russian intelligence gathered compromising material on him over multiple trips.
· How Trump recruited Russian allies and business partners while running for president.
· How he surrounded himself with advisors who engaged in clandestine negotiations with Russia.
· How Trump aides and family members held secret meetings with foreign agents and lied about them (i.e., Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner).
· By pulling every last thread of this complicated story together, Abramson argues that – even in the absence of a Congressional investigation or a report from Special Counsel Mueller – the public record already indicates a quid pro quo between Trump and the Kremlin. The most extraordinary part of the case for collusion is that so much of it unfolded in plain sight.
This writer, having earlier written reviews of Donald Trump’s Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices, Donna Brazile’s Hacks, Malcom Nance’s The Plot to Hack America and Dr. Bandy Lee’s The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, in the East County Magazine, Abramson’s book ties all these others together and puts the issue of collusion into proper perspective.
George Papadopoulos, recently pleading guilty and sentenced to prison, is profiled in Abramson’s book as a connection to the proof of collusion by Trump, as he states: “George Papadopoulos now urges the Russians to move forward with back-channel negotiations, which they do.” Papadopoulos is pictured here with President Trump and Attorney General Sessions at a National Security Meeting before he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was sentenced to prison.
It should be interesting to note that the George Papadopoulos referenced by the author in Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, would plead guilty in the attached court transcript of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1001, and serve prison time. Read court transcript here.
Specifically, the court transcript would state: “In the course of that interview, the Defendant made a series of deliberate false statements and deliberate omissions that are including, but not limited to the timing of when he met certain individuals that the Defendant understood had substantial connections to high-level Russian government officials; and the extent and nature of his communication with those individuals and with certain Russian nationals that he was communicating with during the campaign.”
The attached transcript that George Papadopoulos would plead guilty and be sentenced to prison would further state: “The Government would be able to prove this conduct by, among other evidence, a record of the statement itself, which was recorded; e-mails; text messages; communications via social media such as Facebook; Skype records; records of internet searches; location data; and other evidence which would show that the Defendant’s statements that were made during that January 27th interview were false. And that he knew that they were false at the time they were made, and that there was a deliberate effort to provide false information to the government.”
It is also interesting to note in this revealing and intriguing book by Abramson, the following passage that relates to Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who as mentioned earlier is scheduled to testify in public before Congress on February 7, 2019: “At his in-court allocution, Cohen unambiguously identifies Trump (using a euphemistic appellation required by Department of Justice protocols) as the man who directed him to commit a number of crimes.”
Equally revealing and prophetic in Abramson’s Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, is him stating: “In Washington, the top three Republicans in the House of Representatives talk about Donald Trump and Dana Rohrabacher getting ‘paid’ by Putin to take the policy positions they do; the three men do not realize their comments have been recorded.”
This is a fascinating book, with a cast of characters from Oleg Deripaska to Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn, giving ample reason and proof of collusion, that I highly recommend.
Dennis Moore has been the Associate Editor of the East County Magazine in San Diego and the Book Review Editor of SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. Mr. Moore can be contacted ator you can follow him on Twitter at: @Dennis Moore8.