Rachel Maddow & Michael Yarvitz

Bag Man

Nonfiction - Political Science

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Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House

The untold story of the other scandal that rocked Nixon's White House: the wild crimes, audacious cover-up, and spectacular downfall of Vice President Spiro Agnew--with new reporting that expands on Rachel Maddow's Peabody Award-nominated podcast

Is it possible for an American vice president to direct a vast criminal enterprise within the halls of the White House? To have one of the most brazen corruption scandals in American history play out while nobody's paying attention? And for that scandal to be all but forgotten decades later?

The year was 1973, and the vice president in question was Spiro T. Agnew, Richard Nixon's second-in-command. Long on firebrand rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when--at the height of Watergate--three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down before it was too late. Before Nixon's downfall made way for Agnew to ascend to the presidency himself. Agnew did everything he could to bury their investigation: dismissing it as a "witch hunt," riling up his partisan base, making the press the enemy, and, with a crumbling circle of loyalists, scheming to obstruct justice.

In this blockbuster account, Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz detail the investigation that exposed Agnew's crimes, the attempts at a cover-up--which involved future President George H. W. Bush--and the bargain that forced Agnew's resignation but also spared him years in federal prison. Based on the hit podcast, Bag Man expands and deepens the story of Spiro Agnew's scandal and its lasting influence on our politics, our media, and our understanding of what it takes to confront a criminal in the White House.