Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference by David Shimer

Earlier this spring, just after the number of Americans killed by the coronavirus passed 40,000, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its latest report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. After a three-year review, the Republican-led committee found a “coherent and well-constructed” basis for the intelligence community’s assessment that Vladimir Putin had personally approved a campaign to undermine American democracy; that Moscow sought to “denigrate then-candidate [Hillary] Clinton”; and that the Russians “demonstrated a preference” for Donald Trump. The scale of the Russian operation was “unprecedented.” All 17 members of the committee endorsed the report. Maine’s Angus King, the lone independent on the committee, declared, “The case is closed.”

The senator was wrong, of course. The hacking of the 2016 election will be the subject of partisan litigation for the rest of our lives, and probably beyond, just as Putin intended. The Kremlin’s overriding objective, David Shimer argues in his impressively researched book, was not so much to alter the outcome of the election as to turn America against itself. In this regard the attack succeeded stupendously. “They wanted Donald Trump to win, they wanted Hillary to lose,” former deputy C.I.A. director David Cohen tells Shimer, “but most of all they just wanted to fuck with us.”