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Siege

Trump Under Fire

By Michael Wolff
15-minute read
Audio available
Siege: Trump Under Fire by Michael Wolff

Siege (2019) gives a detailed account of Donald Trump’s presidency between 2017 and early 2019, portraying a White House that always seems to be on the brink of collapse. In a blow-by-blow description of the seismic events of Trump’s second and third years in office, Michael Wolff evokes an administration under siege.

  • Readers who are morbidly fascinated by the Trump presidency
  • Fans of gripping political narratives
  • US citizens wondering whether their president will see through a full term in office

Michael Wolff is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Guardian, Vanity Fair, New York magazine and the Hollywood Reporter. He is the author of the number one best seller Fire and Fury, which chronicles the first year of Trump’s presidency. His journalism has earned him two National Magazine Awards, and his previous best-selling books include The Man Who Owns the News and Burn Rate: How I Survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet.

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Siege

Trump Under Fire

By Michael Wolff
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Siege: Trump Under Fire by Michael Wolff
Synopsis

Siege (2019) gives a detailed account of Donald Trump’s presidency between 2017 and early 2019, portraying a White House that always seems to be on the brink of collapse. In a blow-by-blow description of the seismic events of Trump’s second and third years in office, Michael Wolff evokes an administration under siege.

Key idea 1 of 9

Shortly after Donald Trump’s presidency began, the White House became a hotbed of paranoia.

In 2017, special prosecutor Robert Mueller started his investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. One of his key areas of interest was an alleged conspiracy between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government to help him win against Hillary Clinton. 

But what was going on behind closed doors in the White House? Through clandestine conversations with staff and those who’d recently resigned, author Michael Wolff discovered a White House more divided and chaotic than anyone could have imagined. 

For much of 2017 and 2018, the White House was consumed by paranoia about the Mueller investigation. Rather than standing strong as the United States’ center of power, it began to feel like the scene of a criminal investigation. Presidential staff would go out of their way to avoid being “in the room,” to ensure that they didn’t witness anything that might incriminate them when the report came in. 

Even Trump, who possessed unnatural confidence in his own ability to win against the odds, sought daily reassurances from his lawyers that he as an individual wasn’t a target of the investigation.

Of course, he was, in fact, the bullseye, and everyone around him knew it. Like President Nixon before him, he was at risk of impeachment.

In this stifling atmosphere, Trump accused many of his own staff of being either useless or entirely self-interested. He attacked and mocked team members if he thought they weren’t performing, including the lawyers defending him from the investigation. He would often hone in on physical characteristics that he sensed might be insecurities for those under fire. In particular, he would mercilessly gibe staff members who had mustaches.

He also suspected Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, of using his White House privileges to further his own financial interests. An investment fund had provided Kushner Companies with $184 million in financing since Trump had been elected. Trump, always totting up the ways in which people had profited from him, sneered: “You think I don’t know what’s going on?”

With its intrigues, backstabbing and atmosphere of suspicion, Donald Trump’s White House in 2017 and 2018 resembled a medieval court about to descend into bloodshed.

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