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

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Chapter 40
Summary

Trump is complaining to Dowd about Mueller’s investigation. The President then gives his attorney information about his negotiation with the Egyptian President concerning the release of a charity worker Aya Hijazi, 30, a U.S. citizen. Hijazi was in prison in Cairo for three years (Woodward 268). A story appears in the German financial daily Handelsblatt claiming that investigators are checking Trump’s financial records with Deutsche Bank. This new information aggravates the President, who maintains that he knows everything about his relationship with the bank and there has been no wrongdoing.

Mueller and Quarles want to interview the President on the investigation. Therefore, Mueller submits a list of 16 topics that he would like to discuss, topics involving Comey, Flynn, and Sessions (Woodward 270). Trump seeks Dowd’s advice who advises on writing a letter in response to the topics. Dowd also thinks they should practice the testimony process and rehearse any possible questions. Trump accepts but as they are practicing, Dowd discovers that the President cannot remember most of the details (Woodward 274). Therefore, the President’s attorney thinks that Trump should not testify. In addition, he thinks that Mueller should send the questions and they form a script of answers for the President, penning a letter to Mueller with the subject titled “Request for Testimony on Alleged Obstruction of Justice” (Woodward 274).

Analysis

No one facing an investigation can remain calm. There are so many possibilities that can turn everything upside down, leaving an innocent individual guilty and vice versa. This is the issue facing the President. Trump holds the most powerful office in the USA, but the investigation is getting under his skin. The possibilities are numerous and taking the wrong steps could result in him losing everything. For this reason, he remains frustrated and worried. Nonetheless, his efforts in negotiating for the release of the social worker are rather noble and show him taking on some of the responsibilities as the President. Despite that, the investigation is making it almost impossible for him to carry on his duties effectively, duties that the world expects him to carry out effectively and well.

Mueller and Quarles’ desire to interview the President directly shows their progress in the investigation and their concern with getting to the truth. However, Dowd has to prepare Trump before the interview since the President has no experience in such encounters. It is understandable that Trump does not remember every detail considering the amount of information he consumes each day. Ideally, in every moment there is a concern that needs the president’s attention, and being human, it is easy to forget some details, however the amount of information that he doesn’t retain is cause for concern.

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