Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House

Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz. Crown, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-13668-3
MSNBC host Maddow (Blowout) and journalist Yarvitz expand on their podcast of the same name in this rollicking study of the 1973 resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew. In their colorful retelling, Agnew’s crimes were simple and sleazy: as Baltimore County executive and governor of Maryland, he took bribes from companies in exchange for awarding them public-works contracts—and kept taking payoffs in the White House. Maddow and Yarvitz convincingly argue that President Richard Nixon and future president George H.W. Bush (then serving as Republican National Committee chairman) obstructed justice by trying to quash a Department of Justice investigation into Agnew’s dealings, and spotlight heroism by the young U.S. attorneys in Maryland who nailed Agnew, and that of Attorney General Elliot Richardson (already overseeing the Watergate investigation), who resisted White House pressure before letting Agnew plead guilty to tax evasion in order to smooth his resignation. The authors style Agnew a proto-Trumpian practitioner of “bruising, know-nothing, confrontational conservatism” who argued, as President Trump later would, that indicting him would be unconstitutional. Maddow’s fans will enjoy this entertaining and well-researched recap of Agnew’s comeuppance and its barely-veiled yearning for prosecutors to haul Trump into court. Agent: Laurie Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/22/2020
Release date: 03/17/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-593-13669-0
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