In this feature of the Washington Watch, WW will primarily recommend books you may find interesting but may also now and then mention a TV program or other things. I welcome your suggestions and your input. What have you been reading or watching that you think WW readers might like?
The Big Truth: Upholding Democracy in the Age of the Big Lie
by David Becker and Major Garrett
A Revelatory Account of The 2020 Election—The Most Secure, Verifiable, And Transparent In American History—And The Heroes Brave Enough To Get It Right
The Big Truth illuminates a crowning achievement in America’s quest for a robust democracy in the face of slander by sore losers and opportunists. Filled with interviews of the guardians of democracy—election workers, January 6th Committee members Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) and Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and more—it is an overpowering counterattack against the Big Lie.
CBS Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett and National Election Expert David Becker, the Executive Director of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation & Research, reveal why Big Lie “fraud” allegations evaporate under scrutiny. They report what actually happened in 2020 while calling out each Trumpian misdirection designed to con and beguile Americans into chasing phantom allegations of election crimes.
The 2020 election was not what Trumpist deniers claim. Our political parties knew the rules and procedures. We had record turnout and few election snarls. The result: an accurate count, a seven-million-vote margin of victory, 306 electoral votes for Joe Biden, and Republican gains in congressional and state races. But then-President Trump stoked paranoia—never looking for evidence, contesting results even before anyone cast a ballot, and seeking to bend our system until it almost broke with a violent Capitol riot.
The Big Lie—the true corruption of American democracy—has shaken our confidence in stable self-government. On the heels of voter-fraud claims, the Capitol siege, and damaging voting laws, the next midterm and presidential election will test our democracy more severely than at any time since the Civil War. How we react may well determine if we are led into another war against ourselves. The Big Truth debunks the 2020 election conspiracy myth once and for all, while celebrating those who held up our democracy under arguably the most intense scrutiny in American electoral history.
Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump
by Rachel Bade and Karoun Demirjian
A revealing, behind-the-scenes examination of how Congress twice fumbled its best chance to hold accountable a president many considered one of the most dangerous in American history. The definitive—and only—insider account of both Trump impeachments, as told by the two reporters on the front lines covering them for The Washington Post and Politico.
In a riveting account that flips the script on what readers think they know about the two impeachments of Donald Trump, Rachael Bade and Karoun Demirjian reveal how—and why—congressional oversight failed when it was needed most.
Unchecked weaves a vivid narrative of how House Democrats under the lead of a cautious speaker, Nancy Pelosi, hesitated for months to stand up to Trump—and then pulled punches in their effort to oust him in a misguided effort to protect themselves politically. What they left on the cutting room floor would come back to haunt them, as Republicans seized on their missteps to whip an uneasy GOP rank-and-file into line behind Donald Trump, abandoning their scruples to defend a president who some privately believed had indeed abused his power.
Even after Trump incited a mob to violently attack the Capitol—a day the authors recount in minute-by-minute, stunning detail — Democrats pressured their own investigators to forego a thorough investigation in the name of safeguarding the Biden agenda. And Republicans, fearful of repelling a base they needed for re-election, missed their best moment to turn their backs on a leader they secretly agreed was destructive to democracy.
Sourced from hundreds of interviews with all the key players, the authors of Unchecked pull back the curtain on how both parties pursued political expediency over fact-finding. The end result not only emboldened Trump, giving him room for a political comeback, but also undermined Congress by rendering toothless their most powerful check on a president: the power of impeachment. A dramatic and at times crushing work of investigative reporting, Unchecked is both a gripping page-turner of political intrigue and a detailed case study for historians and political scientists searching for answers about the unravelling of checks and balances that have governed American democracy for centuries.