Fear - Trump in the White House
Bob Woodward
Contributed by Larisa Brooke

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Chapter 4
Summary

Bob Woodward mentions the summer of 2015 as the time when Russian digital intrusions happened, effecting local and state electoral boards’ computerized voter registration lists of voters’ names and addresses (Woodward 38). The NSA and FBI think that the Russians will use the data to manipulate the elections. This thought comes with their opinion that the Russian government is always trying to stir trouble and unrest. This occured during Obama’s second term in office and the government takes precautions in the efforts of protecting the nation. In 2016, a certain website begins publishing emails taken from a Democratic National Committee server by groups of Russian hackers identified as “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear” (Woodward 38). The director of the CIA questions the Russian FSB intelligence chief Alexander Bortnikov about the matter but Bortnikov subsequently denies the accusations.

On October 7, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper and the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson give a joint statement officially accusing Russia of trying to interfere in the U.S. election (Woodward 39). Many individuals expect the information to be the biggest news of the weekend. However, David Fahrenthold at The Washington Post releases a story an hour later. The story talks about Trump and the now infamous, chauvinist conversation, caught by ‘Access Hollywood ‘that occurred in 2005 (Woodward 40). This new information becomes the main talking point across the country as every paper focuses on the story. In his defense, Trump claims that the recording was a private locker-room conversation that had occurred a long time ago. He even claims that Clinton has told him worse than that on the golf course. Nonetheless, he apologizes to anyone who may feel hurt by his words (Woodward 40). Later, WikiLeaks publishes emails hacked from Clinton’s campaign chairperson, regarding different issues, with the main objective being the highly anticipated presidential debates.

The news of Trump’s demeaning words results in most of the campaign donors withdrawing their support for him. His running mate, Mike Pence, believes he should take control and run instead. At this point, Priebus thought that everything was over. The author notes that Trump’s team meet in Trump Tower to discuss the issue. In this meeting Priebus claims that Trump has only two choices, one being him dropping out, or losing with the biggest landslide in the history of the US (Woodward 41). However, Bannon surprisingly is 100% confident that Trump will still win. Trump cannot accept dropping out of the race, and he accepts Conway’s idea to carry out an interview with ABC. However, Trump then refuses to have the interview, instead, he goes out on the streets and greets his supporters. When asked if he is going to stay in the race, he simply says “one hundred percent” (Woodward 45).

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s present personal lawyer, is the only individual who appears on the ABC Sunday-morning talk show. He tries his best to defend Trump while acknowledging that Trump’s words were demeaning.

Analysis

This chapter is dedicated to the biggest downsides faced during the campaign. The author first notes the trouble that arises through apparent ties to Russia. This becomes the biggest external threat to the elections. At first, the government is not willing to give the public the details of the issue. However, the continued attacks and the possible retaliation and blame that may come from the people, force government officials to take action. The news is supposed to be a blow to Trump and therefore a boon for Clinton, the fact that most of the cyber-attacks are at Clinton’s expense indicates a possible relationship between Trump and the Russians. The following story about the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape is discussed with fervor, more so than the Russian links, considering that the story comes from a known interior source. Journalists are aware that his outrageous comments are gathering more traction than possible ties to Russia and thus they place more emphasis on that story.

Lastly, the support shown by Bannon and Giuliani indicates a true friendship and a deep-rooted belief that Trump has the full potential of winning the elections despite the numerous accusations. In fact, all the allegations, seem to make him the main story, rather than the campaign itself.

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