Bag Man

by Maddow, Rachel

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The knockdown, drag-out, untold story of the other scandal that rocked Nixon’s White House, and reset the rules for crooked presidents to come—with new reporting that expands on Rachel Maddow’s Peabody Award-nominated podcast“Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz expand on their riveting podcast to create a work both scholarly and disturbing in its parallels to current events.”—Preet Bharara, New York Times bestselling author of Doing Justice and host of the podcast Stay Tuned with Preet Is it possible for a sitting vice president to direct a vast criminal enterprise within the halls of the White House? To have one of the most brazen corruption scandals in American history play out while nobody’s paying attention? And for that scandal to be all but forgotten decades later? The year was 1973, and Spiro T. Agnew, the former governor of Maryland, was Richard Nixon’s second-in-command. Long on firebrand rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when—at the height of Watergate—three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down before it was too late, before Nixon’s impending downfall elevated Agnew to the presidency. The self-described “counterpuncher” vice president did everything he could to bury their investigation: dismissing it as a “witch hunt,” riling up his partisan base, making the press the enemy, and, with a crumbling circle of loyalists, scheming to obstruct justice in order to survive. In this blockbuster account, Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz detail the investigation that exposed Agnew’s crimes, the attempts at a cover-up—which involved future president George H. W. Bush—and the backroom bargain that forced Agnew’s resignation but also spared him years in federal prison. Based on the award-winning hit podcast, Bag Man expands and deepens the story of Spiro Agnew’s scandal and its lasting influence on our politics, our media, and our understanding of what it takes to confront a criminal in the White House.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "MSNBC host Maddow (Blowout) and journalist Yarvitz expand on their podcast of the same name in this rollicking study of the 1973 resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew. In their colorful retelling, Agnew's crimes were simple and sleazy: as Baltimore County executive and governor of Maryland, he took bribes from companies in exchange for awarding them public-works contracts--and kept taking payoffs in the White House. Maddow and Yarvitz convincingly argue that President Richard Nixon and future president George H.W. Bush (then serving as Republican National Committee chairman) obstructed justice by trying to quash a Department of Justice investigation into Agnew's dealings, and spotlight heroism by the young U.S. attorneys in Maryland who nailed Agnew, and that of Attorney General Elliot Richardson (already overseeing the Watergate investigation), who resisted White House pressure before letting Agnew plead guilty to tax evasion in order to smooth his resignation. The authors style Agnew a proto-Trumpian practitioner of "bruising, know-nothing, confrontational conservatism" who argued, as President Trump later would, that indicting him would be unconstitutional. Maddow's fans will enjoy this entertaining and well-researched recap of Agnew's comeuppance and its barely-veiled yearning for prosecutors to haul Trump into court. Agent: Laurie Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Nov.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Nonfiction
Publisher Crown2020
Language English
ISBN 9780593136690