Tuesday, February 4

Harvard Book Store ReadingsSpecial Events

Harvard Book Store presents Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes

Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes

present

Unmaking the Presidency
Donald Trump’s War on the World’s Most Powerful Office

in conversation with JACK GOLDSMITH

Tickets on sale now

This event includes a book signing

Harvard Book Store welcomes Brookings Institution fellows and Lawfare co-founders SUSAN HENNESSEY and BENJAMIN WITTES for a discussion of their co-authored book, Unmaking the Presidency: Donald Trump’s War on the World’s Most Powerful Office. They will be joined in conversation by author and Harvard Law professor JACK GOLDSMITH.

About Unmaking the Presidency

The extraordinary authority of the U.S. presidency has no parallel in the democratic world. Today that authority resides in the hands of one man, Donald J. Trump. But rarely if ever has the nature of a president clashed more profoundly with the nature of the office. Unmaking the Presidency tells the story of the confrontation between a person and the institution he almost wholly embodies.

From the moment of his inauguration, Trump has challenged our deepest expectations of the presidency. But what are those expectations, where did they come from, and how great is the damage? As editors of the “invaluable” (The New York Times) Lawfare website, Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes have attracted a large audience to their hard-hitting and highly informed commentary on the controversies surrounding the Trump administration. In this book, they situate Trump-era scandals and outrages in the deeper context of the presidency itself. How should we understand the oath of office when it is taken by a man who may not know what it means to preserve, protect, and defend something other than himself? What aspects of Trump are radically different from past presidents and what aspects have historical antecedents? When has he simply built on his predecessors’ misdeeds, and when has he invented categories of misrule entirely his own?

By setting Trump in the light of history, Hennessey and Wittes provide a crucial and durable account of a presidency like no other.


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Benjamin Wittes

Benjamin Wittes is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution. He co-founded and is the editor-in-chief of Lawfare, which is devoted to sober and serious discussion of “Hard National Security Choices.” He is a contributing writer at the Atlantic and a law analyst at NBC News and MSNBC.

Jack Goldsmith

Jack Goldsmith is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor at Harvard Law School, where he teaches and writes about national security law, presidential power, cybersecurity, international law, internet law, foreign relations law, and conflict of laws. Before coming to Harvard, Professor Goldsmith served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003-2004, and Special Counsel to the Department of Defense from 2002-2003. He is the author of The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgement inside the Bush Administration, The Limits of International Law, and Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World.

Photo credit: Martha Stewart

Susan Hennessey

Susan Hennessey is the Executive Editor of Lawfare and General Counsel of the Lawfare Institute. She is a Brookings Fellow in National Security Law. Prior to joining Brookings, Ms. Hennessey was an attorney in the Office of General Counsel of the National Security Agency. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of California, Los Angeles.