"The Apprentice"

Greg Miller has written a credible, comprehensive and up-to-date account of Russian interference in the 2016 election and the subsequent turbulence still grabbing headlines in U.S. media every day. Some have called Russia’s meddling the political crime of the century. The investigation into the Kremlin’s secret disinformation campaign to weaken Hillary Clinton’s election bid and strengthen Donald Trump’s has been ongoing for more than two years and there is no end in sight.

Author Greg Miller, “Washington Post” national security reporter, skillfully recaps Putin’s covert plan to elect the candidate of his choice as U.S. president. The Pulitzer Prize winner reveals Trump’s ardent allegiance to Putin and his barefaced hostility toward Robert Mueller who is the special counsel leading the investigation into the president’s interference in the electoral process.

The author’s assessment of all this interference is based on hundreds of interviews with current and former government officials, close associates of Trump, foreign officials, and law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The interviews were conducted by Miller and the “Post’s” national security team. Based on these interviews, “The Apprentice” offers important new information about Russian hacking of the Democrat’s servers, false Face book and Twitter posts; Trump’s confrontations with the CIA and FBI and resistance to their findings; National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s hidden communications with the Russians; the firing of FBI director James Comey and Trump’s astonishing behavior in Helsinki when he denied Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election in direct contradiction to the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies. The book is current through August 2018.

The title is a double entendre making reference to Trump’s former television series, but also to his naïve apprenticeship as the holder of the most powerful political position in the world and subject to Putin’s skill as a political manipulator. The word apprentice further implies Trump’s slavish submission to Putin.

Well-paced and rich in detail, Miller’s plain, novelistic style holds the reader’s attention as this incredibly complicated saga unfolds. As the book draws to a close it becomes clear that Miller does not intend to draw many conclusions beyond the obvious. He doesn’t present conclusions about the success of the subversion attempt.

Miller does point out some of the hard stances the president has taken against Russia, demonstrating the inconsistent, biased and self-centered qualities of Trump. He claims many of Trump’s wounds are “self-inflicted” and stem from “his impulsiveness and excessive confidence in his own instincts.” Miller makes no predictions about the end of this long, ongoing investigation. He makes no predictions about whether special counsel Robert Mueller will accuse the president of any crime.

Miller is among the “Washington Post” correspondents awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. The team won the prestigious award for the “Post’s” breaking news story about Russian intervention in the 2016 election and the ensuing examination into Trump’s election campaign. This effectively reported and masterfully told summary of this coverage is must reading for anyone trying to understand Putin’s impact on the 2016 voting process.

In addition to winning the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, Miller was also part of the reporting team awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of American surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden. He is co-author of the book “The Interrogators”. Custom House is the publisher of this 431-page book, which includes a large folio of photographs of the chief players in the investigation.