I confess. It wasn’t easy to read this Seth Abramson book. I spent a lot of it feeling down, depressed, and angry. But what we need is clarity, and Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America is absolutely crystal clear.
It explains exactly how Trump has been connected to the Russians since long before he ran for President. And it lays out those connections logically, while also explaining what’s illegal and what else is simply unethical and immoral. The specifics are too complex to try to summarize here.
Abramson is a former defense attorney, and now a professor at the University of New Hampshire. His tone here mixes those two positions. He takes the legalese, and interprets it into regular language, as a professor would do for students.
Each chapter chronicles a different time period, in the order events occurred from 1987-2018. His curated information stops just prior to the 2018 midterm elections, and the 2019 release of the Mueller Report.
Structurally, Abramson starts each chapter with a Summary, then has a Facts section, and concludes with an Annotated History. Although this leads to some duplication, that actually enhanced my ability to commit the myriad details to memory.
And Proof is heavy on details. Fully thirty percent of the book is endnotes from his various sources. It draws from other journalists, from court transcripts, online media, social media, and many others. As I scanned the endnotes, I saw recognizable sources that will likely stand the test of history.
And what a history this book tells. The decisions Trump made during the last several decades, and continues to make, will affect us all for decades to come. It’s well worth our time to understand the events and their implications.
If I wanted to highlight all of the important sentences in this book, I’d have highlighted the entire thing. There is no “fluff” in here. What I did highlight extensively was Abramson’s final chapter, where he summarizes his findings and talks about the potential future outcomes. Here’s one bit that reflects my thinking to a tee:
“How one stood on the question of Donald J. Trump at this moment in American history will be the defining feature of many Americans’ self-identity as citizens for years to come.” (ebook, p. 318)
As I said, this isn’t an easy book. But I suspect Abramson does a better job than most. While the content seems a bit dry and overwhelming sometimes, he give it the proper gravitas and organization.
I’d recommend reading this book, even if all you read is the first two sections of each chapter and the last chapter in its entirety. My next political book will be the Mueller Report, while this one is still fresh in my mind. It’s the perfect introduction.