In the years leading up to the election of Donald Trump, Congressman Adam Schiff had already been sounding the alarm over the resurgence of autocracy around the world, and the threat this posed to the United States. But as he led the probe into Donald Trump's Russia and Ukraine-related abuses of presidential power, Schiff came to the terrible conclusion that the principal threat to American democracy now came from within.
In Midnight in Washington, Schiff argues that the Trump presidency has so weakened our institutions and compromised the Republican Party that the peril will last for years, requiring unprecedented vigilance against the growing and dangerous appeal of authoritarianism. The congressman chronicles step by step just how our democracy was put at such risk, and traces his own path to meeting the crisis--from serious prosecutor, to congressman with an expertise in national security and a reputation for bipartisanship, to liberal lightning rod, scourge of the right, and archenemy of a president. Schiff takes us inside his team of impeachment managers and their desperate defense of the constitution amid the rise of a distinctly American brand of autocracy.
The impact of Donald J. Trump’s presidency on the Republican Party has been a story well told, from reporters and scholars to Republicans of all stripes. Less frequently related, to the detriment of the reading public and the American voter, has been Trump’s impact on the Democratic Party ... Fittingly for a regular on television news shows, Schiff’s volume reads like a well-composed MSNBC segment on the Trump presidency — but with behind-the-scenes details on the working of Congress to go with the liberal commentary. The book is also something of a midlife memoir, as Schiff recalls his career as a prosecutor, his early campaigns and his first years in Congress following his 2000 election ... Mostly, though, this is a blistering indictment of Trump and his Republican enablers set alongside a what-I-saw-at-the-revolution account of Schiff’s role investigating Trump’s misdeeds ... In more readable prose than most politicians are known to produce, Schiff recounts his conversations at high-stakes moments during Trump’s tenure.
[M]idnight in Washington is more than just Schiff’s damning recitation of Trumpian offenses against American institutions. It is, overwhelmingly, a rebuke of Republican lawmakers and administration officials for letting it all happen, for failing to stand up to Trump ... Midnight in Washington can be self-serving and score-settling and fawning at times — it is a politician’s memoir, after all — but it presents a persuasive case, befitting a former prosecutor, for how the erosion of checks on executive power is one of the most destructive legacies of the Trump years.
Most of this book, bracketed by horrific scenes from the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol—of which Trump, Schiff insists, was the prime mover—is a long, densely detailed account of the discovery process in the first impeachment trial. It would threaten to become tedious reading, due to all the minutiae, were it not for Schiff’s skill as a storyteller ... For those wondering what happened to America between 2017 and 2021, Schiff offers a key firsthand account.