Simpson and Fritsch aspire to be latter-day versions of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the reporters who exposed Nixon’s Watergate cover-up: their book opens with Fritsch sneakily foiling Bernstein’s appeal for information, and later Simpson derides Woodward for cosying up to Trump. But the new guys lack the crusading bravado of their predecessors. Their opposition to Trump starts out as a “business opportunity”, not a quest for truth or a challenge to power, and they go to work like conscientious geeks, assisted by a man they call “a human hard drive” and a woman who serves as their “in-house cyber-ninja”.
Crimes In Progress, is the most convincing case you are likely to read that the US president is an asset of the Russian government. Outlandish though that may sound, it will seem less so when you turn the final page. The second, by an author still working in the White House, and whose identity Trump would dearly love to expose, is a moral indictment of his presidency. Each sheds important light on the least likely president in American history.
Crime in Progress is billed as the secret history of the Trump-Russia investigation. It is more or less that: 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. Trump, of course, denies wrongdoing and says he’s the victim of a witch-hunt. He has called Steele a “failed spy” and Marxist plotter. The book’s authors Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch co-founded Fusion a decade ago. As Wall Street Journal alumni they know how to tell a story. Crime in Progress doesn’t radically alter our understanding of the collusion saga, but there are plenty of colourful details and anecdotes.