A User's Guide to Russian Election Interference

October 8, 2018

By Max Godnick

Russia's suspected interference in the 2016 election was so complex that even a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who's spent the past two years working on the story can't always keep things straight.

"It was impossible to stay up, it was impossible to make sense of a lot of it," Greg Miller, author of "The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy," said Monday in an interview on Cheddar.

In his new book, the national security correspondent for The Washington Post set out to provide a Readers' Digest version of Russia's involvement in the last presidential election and all of its fallout.

"The main objective was to try to write something that's comprehensive, that people can wrap their heads around," Miller said.

The book's title is not just an obvious reference to Trump's former NBC reality show. Miller said it also calls to mind the political novice's early experiences in The White House, behavior that resembles, in Miller's view, an "untrained apprentice."

But the title has yet a third meaning: Trump's relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

"There's this aspect of subservience to the word," Miller said. "[Trump] sort of emulates, admires, imitates Vladimir Putin."

That relationship is the central dynamic around which the rest of his book orbits, Miller said.

"His inexplicable affinity for the Russian president is, of course, the most important idea and theme cutting through the whole book," he explained.

After over a month spent fixated on the Supreme Court confirmation, the political world is turning its focus back on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe on Russian involvement in the election.

Miller described the investigation as "absolutely leak-proof" adding that, despite its 32 indictments and guilty pleas, America has yet to see "Mueller's final act."

By contrast, the president can't seem to say enough about the investigation, tweeting and railing about the so-called "witch hunt" on a seemingly weekly basis.

"It's such an enormous clash of different ideas and different moral codes," Miller said of the dueling approaches.

It's been a long process as Mueller has conducted his investigation, but Miller predicts that, with under 30 days remaining before the midterm elections, the wait won't be much longer.

"You've got to believe that he's got just as much left up his sleeve," he said. "We're just around the corner from that now."

"The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy" is available in stores and online.

For full interview click here.