Before Ukraine, before impeachment: This is the inside story of the four-year-long investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia ties—culminating in the Steele dossier, and sparking the Mueller report—from the founders of political opposition research company Fusion GPS.
Simpson and Fritsch tell the story in brisk, workmanlike prose ... For readers who've been following the news closely since 2016, their book offers an intriguing step behind the scenes of familiar headlines and fills in gaps about the public understanding of Fusion GPS and the role it has played before and since Trump's election ... People who aren't closely engaged might find Crime in Progress to be tougher sledding as it delivers a rockslide of names, dates, cross-connections and bite-size explainers ... It also is a story without an ending, the authors write, because central questions about Trump — and whether powerful Russians or others may have some hold on him — haven't been resolved, they say ... As for skeptics or Trump supporters? Let's not kid ourselves; this book was not written to bring them in or change their minds ... Critics will find objectionable passages on nearly every page.
Simpson and Fritsch try to tell the story as clearly as they can, but more money means more convolutions ... [they] are able guides to a byzantine world; their presentation is methodical, almost lawyerly, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. When reading a story full of weird financial transactions, narratives and counternarratives, it’s helpful to have everything laid out as plainly as possible — even if the layers of chicanery are sometimes so densely packed that their syntax gets squeezed into ugly shapes ... For a couple of guys who spent their careers investigating how money can shape incentives, or at least appear to, they seemed for a while either defensive or naïve when it came to the murkier aspects of their own business model ... Fusion’s conservative critics doubtless won’t be placated by this book, even though the authors say that those critics were ultimately what made the book possible ... reads like a morality tale about unintended consequences.
... an entertaining and readable account of the dossier’s origins, and of the cosmic fall-out once Buzzfeed put it online, to Fusion’s fury ... doesn’t radically alter our understanding of the collusion saga, but there are plenty of colourful details and anecdotes. Once Trump shuffles off stage – in 2020 or later – a movie version seems highly likely.