A compelling and masterful account, based on fresh reporting, of the investigation, impeachment, and acquittal of President Donald Trump, a ferocious political drama that challenged American democracy itself.
In the spring of 2019, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did not favor pursuing Trump’s impeachment. Her view was: “He’s just not worth it.” But by September, after a whistleblower complaint suggesting that Trump had used his office for his political benefit, Pelosi decided to risk it. The impeachment inquiry led to charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, a gamble that ultimately meant Trump would be the first impeached president on the ballot in US history.
Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post reporters Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan have crafted a powerful, intimate narrative that concentrates on the characters as well as the dramatic events, braiding them together to provide a remarkable understanding of what happened and why.
Drawing on the deep reporting of Post journalists as well as new interviews, Sullivan and Jordan deliver a crisp page-turner with exquisite detail and scenes. They put readers in the room for both sides of the now-famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, 2019, revealing the in-the-moment reactions of those listening to the call in Washington, as well as the tension in Kyiv, as aides passed notes to Zelensky while he was talking to Trump.
Sullivan and Jordan deftly illuminate the aims and calculations of key figures. Pelosi’s evolution from no to yes. Trump’s mounting fury as “the I-word” became inevitable. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell firmly telling Trump on the phone about the Senate trial: You need to trust me.
Trump on Trial teems with unexpected moments. House member Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat, alone at the National Archives, walking amid the nation’s founding documents, weighing her vote on impeachment. Fiery Republican congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida, a favorite Trump warrior, deciding to lead the storming of the secure room in the US Capitol basement, where witnesses were testifying.
The authors paint vivid portraits of the men and women branded by the president’s supporters as foes from the “deep state”: Ukraine experts Fiona Hill and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman; ambassadors Marie Yovanovitch and William Taylor. The narrative spools out amid Trump’s nonstop tweeting and the infinite echo chamber of social media, which amplified both parties’ messages in ways unknown during past impeachments.
Sullivan and Jordan, aided by editor Steve Luxenberg, follow the story into the aftermath of Trump’s acquittal and the president’s payback for those whom he believed had betrayed him. The retributions took place as the nation reeled from a devastating pandemic and widespread protests about racial injustice, with another trial looming: the 2020 election.
About the Author
Kevin Sullivan is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for The Washington Post and a bestselling author. His book, Trump on Trial, coauthored with his wife and Washington Post colleague Mary Jordan, features reporting from dozens of Washington Post journalists, and traces the investigation, acquittal, and aftermath of the impeachment of Donald Trump. The last book Sullivan and Jordan wrote was the #1 New York Times bestseller, Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, the story of Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, who were kidnapped in Cleveland and held for a decade. They previously wrote The Prison Angel: Mother Antonia’s Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail. They were the Washington Post’s co-bureau chiefs in Tokyo, Mexico City, and London for fourteen years.
Mary Jordan is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for The Washington Post and a bestselling author. Her book, Trump on Trial, coauthored with her husband and Washington Post colleague Kevin Sullivan, features reporting from dozens of Washington Post journalists, and traces the investigation, acquittal, and aftermath of the impeachment of Donald Trump. Jordan’s New York Times bestselling book, The Art of Her Deal, an unauthorized biography of Melania Trump, was published in June 2020. Jordan and Sullivan are also authors of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, the story of Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, who were kidnapped in Cleveland and held for a decade. They previously wrote The Prison Angel: Mother Antonia’s Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail. They were the Washington Post’s co-bureau chiefs in Tokyo, Mexico City, and London for fourteen years.
"Page-turning….riveting….colorful and detailed…a barometer of the health of our democracy." –Barbara McQuade, The Washington Post
“Well written ... The reporting is panoramic” —Joe Klein, The New York Times Book Review
“Sets a standard for political storytelling with impeccable research and lively writing.” –Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW