What The President Knew

Oct 13, 2020

Why is it that sometimes Presidents know there is a danger to the wellbeing of Americans, and still do nothing? We talk with people who were in the room in 2001 and 2020.


Chris Whipple, journalist and documentary filmmaker. Author of “The Spymasters” and “The Gatekeepers.” (@ccwhip)

Olivia Troye, former homeland security, counterterrorism and coronavirus adviser for Vice President Mike Pence; she left the post in August. Lifelong Republican voting for Joe Biden in November. (@OliviaTroye)

From The Reading List

Excerpt from “The Spymasters” by Chris Whipple

An excerpt from “The Spymasters” By Chris Whipple. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be republished without permission from the publisher, Scribner.

Washington Post: “Donald Trump, the unbriefable president” — “In the wake of reports that Russia offered the Taliban cash bounties to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, the question arises: What was President Trump told by his intelligence briefers, and when was he told it?”

CNN: ‘Play it down’: Trump admits to concealing the true threat of coronavirus in new Woodward book” — “President Donald Trump admitted he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and ‘more deadly than even your strenuous flus,’ and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book ‘Rage.’ ‘This is deadly stuff,’ Trump told Woodward on February 7.”

NPR: “Trump Often Gives ‘Complete Opposite’ Of Health Experts’ Advice, Former Staffer Says” — “President Trump has consistently told Americans ‘the complete opposite’ of what his health experts have been telling him in private meetings about COVID-19, according to Olivia Troye, who until recently worked on the the White House coronavirus task force.”

CNN: CDC was pushed to play down the risks of Covid-19 in reopening schools, former Pence staffer says” — “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was pushed to play down the risks of the coronavirus pandemic in reopening schools for in-person classes, Olivia Troye, a former top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, confirmed to CNN Monday. She called a New York Times story about the pressure campaign accurate.”

Politico: “‘The Attacks Will Be Spectacular’” — “An exclusive look at how the Bush administration ignored this warning from the CIA months before 9/11, along with others that were far more detailed than previously revealed.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.