Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could - book cover
  • Publisher : Random House
  • Published : 12 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 528
  • ISBN-10 : 059323152X
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593231524
  • Language : English

Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The vital inside account of American democracy in its darkest hour, from the rise of autocracy unleashed by Trump to the January 6 insurrection, and a warning that those forces remain as potent as ever-from the congressman who led the first impeachment of Donald J. Trump

"Engaging and informative . . . a manual for how to probe and question power, how to hold leaders accountable in a time of diminishing responsibility."-The Washington Post

In the years leading up to the election of Donald Trump, Congressman Adam Schiff had already been sounding the alarm over the resurgence of autocracy around the world, and the threat this posed to the United States. But as he led the probe into Donald Trump's Russia and Ukraine-related abuses of presidential power, Schiff came to the terrible conclusion that the principal threat to American democracy now came from within.
In Midnight in Washington, Schiff argues that the Trump presidency has so weakened our institutions and compromised the Republican Party that the peril will last for years, requiring unprecedented vigilance against the growing and dangerous appeal of authoritarianism. The congressman chronicles step by step just how our democracy was put at such risk, and traces his own path to meeting the crisis-from serious prosecutor, to congressman with an expertise in national security and a reputation for bipartisanship, to liberal lightning rod, scourge of the right, and archenemy of a president. Schiff takes us inside his team of impeachment managers and their desperate defense of the constitution amid the rise of a distinctly American brand of autocracy.
Deepening our understanding of prominent public moments, Schiff reveals the private struggles, the internal conflicts, and the triumphs of courage that came with defending the republic against a lawless president-but also the slow surrender of people that he had worked with and admired to the dangerous immorality of a president engaged in an historic betrayal of his office. Schiff's fight for democracy is one of the great dramas of our time, told by the man who became the president's principal antagonist. It is a story that began with Trump but does not end with him, taking us through the disastrous culmination of the presidency and Schiff's account of January 6, 2021, and how the anti-democratic forces Trump unleashed continue to define his party, making the future of democracy in America more uncertain than ever.

Editorial Reviews

"Midnight in Washington is more than just Schiff's damning recitation of Trumpian offenses against American institutions. It is, overwhelmingly, a rebuke of Republican lawmakers and administration officials for letting it all happen, for failing to stand up to Trump . . . [A]n engaging and informative read . . . Midnight in Washington is a manual for how to probe and question power, how to hold leaders accountable in a time of diminishing responsibility."-The Washington Post

"[Schiff's] new book, Midnight in Washington, is a stunning look at what the Trump years have done to us as human beings. And Congressman Schiff's argument about where we go from here is that it is only human agency-the willingness of individual people to be brave and speak truth to power, and bear the consequences of it-that is the only thing that will get us out of what remains an existential danger to us as a democracy. This was a fascinating read, and an exception to the politicians don't write good books rule."-Rachel Maddow

"When American democracy faced a near-death experience, Adam Schiff served as an able guardian, protecting our nation from enemies foreign and domestic. Schiff not only provides riveting details in this compelling account, he delivers a much-needed warning about the threats facing America from within and an urgent how-to guide for preserving our nation."-Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight Action

"Schiff used his confinement to write a memoir which offers a beguiling mix of the personal and political. Midnight in Washington is full of new details about investigations of the president's treason and how the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of the Democratic caucus decided impeachment was necessary and should convince a few million more that everything he said about Trump was true--and that the country was exceptionally lucky to have him ready and willing to defend the tattered concept of ‘truth.'"-The Guardian

"Schiff is one of the first to try to account for the last five, tumultuous years in American politics. As the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a top lieutenant to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Schiff is well positioned to deliver insights on the time of Trump, at least from the perspective of a Democratic insider. Midnight in Washington delivers on that promise. . . . A blistering indictment of Trump and his Republican enablers set alongside a what-I-saw-at-the-revolution account of Schiff's role investigating Trump's misdeeds."-The New York Times
"History and truth demand that we not allow Republicans to whitewash the Trump presidency. Having Schiff's well written record will prove indispensible as they try to. One of th...

Readers Top Reviews

Kenny TChickRayKathy
I recently purchased this Kindle book. I can tell you right now it is altogether compelling, horrific, and an OUTSTANDING read that scares me more than a Stephen King novel. But look at all the reviews trashing this book. It comes from the very people who 1) didn't even purchase this book, and 2) Representative Schiff warns us about in his non-fiction horror. To all of you with a BRAIN, to all of you who were NOT brainwashed in to eschewing the COVID vaccines, please read this book and UNDERSTAND what Donald Trump and his minions are doing to our DEMOCRACY.
It seems like some of the reviews are from right-wing people who didn't actually read the book but are here to sabotage Adam Schiffs work. That being said, I find it informative, well written, and leaves me fearful of what is in store for democracy if we continue to allow politicians to be influenced by white supremists, Russia, and special interest groups.
R. Patrick Baugh
Hair-raising eyewitness account of the events of January 6th. The author is not a journalist, so don’t expect even-handed reporting, but instead it’s an “I was there” story that effectively shows the threat to our democracy and values.
Great memoir of the individual that lead the 1st impeachment trial against Donald Trump. If we had more people in government like him, who valued the rule of law and justice, our country would be a better place. Ignore the bad reviews by individuals that haven’t bought the book much less read it. To them truth are lies and lies are truth. They view fascism as patriotic and democracy as something inconvenient and detestable. If this book is biased, it is biased toward the truth and one party has shown to value the truth more than the other. Our democracy is never a given. We have to continuously defend it.
Nicholas Zacharias
Great historical account of unprecedented facts - highly recommended.

Short Excerpt Teaser


Why Should I?

The Senate chamber was so much smaller than I remembered. I had tried an impeachment case against a federal judge ten years earlier and hadn't been on the Senate floor since. In the House, I could see members on the other side of the chamber, but only dimly, their faces indistinct in the distance. Some of the Republican members of the House have been there for years, but sit in the far corner and are not on any of my committees, and if I passed them at the airport, I wouldn't know them from a stranger. Indeed, I have passed them at the airport and not known who they were until they stopped and introduced themselves. But as I walked onto the Senate floor again after so long, I couldn't get over how intimate it was-how closely I could observe each of the senators and their expressions, faces so familiar to me even if I had never worked with them, or spoken with them, before.

During the trial, with one glance I could tell how closely they were paying attention, or not paying attention-frowning, thoughtful, drifting off, engaged, moved, angered, or, worse, indifferent. You could see when their eyelids got heavy after lunch or long argumentation, or when their eyes glistened with emotion. We had twenty-four hours, spread out over three days, to make our case for the impeachment of a president, which didn't seem like much, which wasn't much, to sum up all of the reasons why Donald J. Trump posed a continuing danger to the Republic. We had spent two of those days making what I thought was a powerful case, my talented colleagues and incredible staff having put together a series of compelling presentations, integrating the testimony of the witnesses, documentary records, constitutional sources, and all of the powerful argumentation we could muster-but before the last argument of the day, one of my staff put his hand on my arm and stopped me.

"They think we've proven him guilty. They need to know why he should be removed."

I didn't have time to ask my staff who "they" were. We had been getting feedback during the course of the trial, sometimes directly from senators who would walk past us in the small lobby behind the Senate floor, going to and from lunch, or on a break, or who would wander up to our small table on the Senate floor when the day's presentations were done. But the best sources of information came from Senator Schumer's staff, passed on to my staff in whispers and handwritten notes. Were these questions coming from Democratic senators, like Joe Manchin from West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, or Doug Jones of Alabama? If so, we were in trouble.

Or was this feedback coming from Republican senators, several of whom had kept their cards close to the vest? If the Republican senators were asking, that meant their minds were still open to conviction, and that was good, even though at this point in the trial they had yet to hear the defense case.

And still, what were "they" really asking? If senators believed that we had proven Trump guilty of withholding hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid from an ally at war in order to coerce
that nation into helping him cheat in the upcoming election, wasn't that enough? Had the bar become so high with this president that that wasn't enough? It was like a juror in an extortion case involving the president asking the judge, "Okay, he's guilty, but do we really need to convict? Can't he just go on running the country?"

But as I walked to the lectern, I suddenly understood, in a way I hadn't fully appreciated until that moment, that this was the central question: Why should he be removed? He was the president of their party. He was putting conservative judges on the court. He was lowering their taxes. Why remove him? I had watched during breaks in the trial as the president's Senate defenders took to the airwaves to proclaim his innocence, and I had believed them-not their claims about the president's conduct, but that they believed what they were saying, that they believed there had been, to quote the president's mantra of defense, no quid pro quo. But I could see now that that wasn't it at all.

I should have known better. For the past three years, Republicans had confided, to me and to many of my Democratic colleagues, their serious misgivings about the president. Some would go on Fox News and bash me, only to urge me privately to keep on with the investigation. And it became clear that many Republicans felt someone needed to do it, someone needed to put a stop to it all, even if they couldn't, or wouldn't. And the question wasn't so much "Why should he be removed?" as "Why should I be the one to remove him? Why should I risk my seat, my position of power and influence...