House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia

Craig Unger. Dutton, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-1-524-74350-5
A cabal of criminals and billionaires has made President Trump an “asset” of Russian president Vladimir Putin, argues journalist Unger (House of Bush, House of Saud) in this labyrinthine exposé. Unger traces associations among dozens of Russian gangsters and oligarchs, many of whom have ties to Russian security services and Putin, and Americans in Trump’s business network, including Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, and political advisor Paul Manafort. Unger elaborates an eye-glazing tangle of “ties,” shell corporations, and unsavory proximities—one mobster ran a gambling ring out of Trump Tower—but the heart of his theory of collusion is that Russian gangsters and oligarchs launder money by buying real estate, and Trump sold them condos or licensed his brand to other developers who sold them condos. Unger doesn’t explain how this makes Trump “beholden” to Putin. Instead, he incoherently conjectures that Trump “may have been performing gigantic favors for Putin without even knowing it” and rehashes claims that the Russians have video of Trump cavorting with sex workers (calling on, for example, one source who “did not... have evidence of its existence” and another who “heard about it”). Unger’s colorful but unconvincing case against Trump has plenty of supposition, innuendo, and guilt by association—but no smoking gun. Photos. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 08/01/2018
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-63889-6
Paperback - 608 pages - 978-1-984827-72-2
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-63887-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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