Summary of American Hustle

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Expectations for the publication of the Special Counsel report into Russian interference in the 2016 elections were set extremely high. Although the report revealed much damning evidence against President Donald Trump, it has not contributed to the formation of a national consensus and has only reinforced entrenched political identities. The historian Stephen Kotkin has written a refreshingly objective analysis of the report’s findings and the public interpretations of its conclusions, highlighting weaknesses in the arguments of both Trump’s supporters and opponents, as well as shortcomings of the report itself. Anyone who wants to rise above the various subplots of the Trump–Russia saga will appreciate Kotkin’s effort to place the Trump–Mueller feud into broader historical context.

About the Author

Stephen Kotkin is Founding Co-Director of Princeton University’s Program in History and the Practice of Diplomacy and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.



Robert Mueller III and President Donald Trump embody juxtaposed archetypes of American identity. Mueller, a Princeton-educated Marine Corps veteran, longtime civil servant and a representative of the old WASP establishment, embodies values such as “integrity,” “professionalism” and “the rule of law.” Trump, a draft-dodger, a showman and an unscrupulous real estate developer who was able to avoid six personal bankruptcies and ran a successful political campaign that sidelined both the Democratic and Republican establishment, epitomizes a “buccaneering spirit” that is ever so American. Mueller’s Special Counsel report into Trump, Russia and collusion is pitching these two...

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