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Charlotte Talks: ‘A Very Stable Genius’ Author Investigates The Trump Administration

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020

Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 with an ominous promise: “I alone can fix it.” As the 2020 convention looms, author and investigative reporter Carol Leonnig joins us to determine if he did.

Unlike many books covering the Trump administration, author Carol Leonnig has a track record for journalistic integrity and excellence. As an investigative reporter for The Washington Post since 2000, she won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on security failures and misconduct inside the Secret Service, was part of a team that also won a Pulitzer for revealing government surveillance through Edward Snowden’s disclosures and is a three-time winner of the George Polk Award for investigative reporting.

"A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America” is the result of hundreds of hours of interview with over two hundred sources, from Trump administration officials to the president's personal advisers and friends. The outcome is a story about a president testing both the democracy and spirit of our nation.

Stories revealed from her work include Trump declaring that some senior military commanders were “a bunch of dopes and babies,” and saying, “I wouldn’t go to war with you people.” He reportedly asked former chief of staff John Kelly to explain what happened at Pearl Harbor and clashed with former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, claiming, “This is my Justice Department. They are supposed to be my people.”

Before arriving at the Post, Leonnig honed her craft at the Charlotte Observer from 1990-2000. Her stories covered Bank of America failing to keep its promise to build 200 new apartments after demolishing a public housing complex to forcing Gov. Jim Hunt to cancel a $5.6 million bridge being built in his hometown.

Today we analyze the presidency through the lens of a renowned investigative reporter and what may be the administration’s most important tenet: loyalty, not to the country, but to the president himself.


Carol Leonnig, investigative reporter for The Washington Post and co-author of "A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America"

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.