Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Number One New York Times Best Seller
The vital inside account of American democracy in its darkest hour, from the rise of autocracy unleashed by Trump to the January 6 insurrection, and a warning that those forces remain as potent as ever - from the congressman who led the first impeachment of Donald J. Trump
“Engaging and informative...a manual for how to probe and question power, how to hold leaders accountable in a time of diminishing responsibility.” (The Washington Post)
In the years leading up to the election of Donald Trump, Congressman Adam Schiff had already been sounding the alarm over the resurgence of autocracy around the world, and the threat this posed to the United States. But as he led the probe into Donald Trump’s Russia and Ukraine-related abuses of presidential power, Schiff came to the terrible conclusion that the principal threat to American democracy now came from within.
In Midnight in Washington, Schiff argues that the Trump presidency has so weakened our institutions and compromised the Republican Party that the peril will last for years, requiring unprecedented vigilance against the growing and dangerous appeal of authoritarianism. The congressman chronicles step by step just how our democracy was put at such risk, and traces his own path to meeting the crisis - from serious prosecutor, to congressman with an expertise in national security and a reputation for bipartisanship, to liberal lightning rod, scourge of the right, and archenemy of a president. Schiff takes us inside his team of impeachment managers and their desperate defense of the constitution amid the rise of a distinctly American brand of autocracy.
Deepening our understanding of prominent public moments, Schiff reveals the private struggles, the internal conflicts, and the triumphs of courage that came with defending the republic against a lawless president - but also the slow surrender of people that he had worked with and admired to the dangerous immorality of a president engaged in an historic betrayal of his office. Schiff’s fight for democracy is one of the great dramas of our time, told by the man who became the president’s principal antagonist. It is a story that began with Trump but does not end with him, taking us through the disastrous culmination of the presidency and Schiff’s account of January 6, 2021, and how the anti-democratic forces Trump unleashed continue to define his party, making the future of democracy in America more uncertain than ever.
- Get this audiobook free then 1 credit each month, good for any title you like - yours to keep, even if you cancel
- Listen all you want to the Plus Catalogue—a selection of thousands of Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts, including exclusive series
- Exclusive member-only deals
- $16.45 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime
|Listening Length||17 hours and 45 minutes|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||12 October 2021|
|Publisher||Random House Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank||
943 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
3 in Biographies of Politicians
5 in 21st Century U.S. History
8 in United States Politics & Government
Review this product
Top reviews from other countries
He then goes back to his personal history, how he became a successful prosecutor, then lost several campaigns in California before finally winning. Congressional Democrats noticed, and asked him to take on the incumbent Republican congressman in his district. Schiff’s victory was a big deal for about 6 weeks--and then he realized he was one of 435 members and should remember to focus on public service, not expecting fame.
He describes what the House is like, including political divisions, the seniority system and having to conform to party discipline. He names some of the Republicans he feels are more in it for themselves than for public service (McCarthy, Gowdy, Jordan, Gaetz are a few of them, with examples.) He revisits the Benghazi hearings which turned into a political effort to make Clinton look bad in an election year, and foreshadowed some of Trump's strategies.
He goes into depth on the Russia investigation and how Barr distorted its conclusions. Schiff criticizes Mueller's House testimony, but attributes it to cognitive decline rather than, as it appeared, an unwillingness to criticize Trump. (Mueller, as many remember, refused to even read aloud from his own report.) Schiff includes his "It's Not Okay" speech, which is well worth re-reading.
Mueller's failure to tell the public his conclusions emboldened Trump who made his infamous Ukrainian call the following day. Schiff was the House impeachment manager when Trump went on trial for his conduct in the Senate so this book is also an important historical record. In spite of the President’s abuse of power and corruption, he writes with some positivity here about public servants like Marie Yovanovitch. Schiff wonders "how many, if any, witnesses" would have come forward without her example.
He concludes with the final year of Trump's presidency--which begins with the "disaster" of the coronavirus pandemic and ends with 350,000 Americans killed by it. It also ends with the nation’s first insurrection at the Capitol. This, after Trump and the Russians had spent the year spreading a steady disinformation stream about the "rigged" election and the likely "voter fraud" if Trump didn’t win (despite polls showing all year long that his loss was very possible). Schiff goes into some of the state Republican efforts in 2020 at disenfranchising likely Democratic voters, an ongoing effort.
The final section is about January 6th and the second impeachment and trial, The earlier themes come together here—public service vs. corruption and self interest; democracy vs. autocracy. Schiff is genuinely surprised that many Republican colleagues whom he admired and believed to be sincere in their beliefs and principles have been so easily coopted by Trump and his power .
Schiff's final conclusion is that "the GOP has become an antitruth, antidemocratic cult organized around the former president." He also warns how Republican legislatures in many states "took the big lie and ran with it, using false charges of voter fraud to usher in a new generation of Jim Crow laws...."
Congress has been weakened during the Trump years, but, in spite of this Schiff looks at the strength of the Constitution and the strength, historically, of American democracy, and remains cautiously optimistic. This is a look at one of the most important periods in our history, told by a Democratic leader who had an central role in it. It is very much worth reading.