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ABC's Jonathan Karl details Trump's efforts to overturn the election in 'Betrayal'

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces during the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces during the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

A new book about former President Donald Trump's final months in office reveals more details about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, culminating in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

As ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl describes in Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, Trump loyalists led a purge inside the administration.

"No disloyalty of the president would be tolerated. No dissent would be tolerated," Karl tells NPR's Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition.

"In those final weeks of his administration, those final couple of months when he took his darkest turn, there was nobody around to rein him in or to question what he was doing."

While the book's main focus is on Trump's efforts from inside the White House to overturn the election, it also follows the Trump rally at the Capitol that became a riot.

<em>Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,</em> by Jonathan Karl
/ Dutton
<em>Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,</em> by Jonathan Karl

A House select committee is still investigating the riot. It has sent subpoenas to dozens of people, though only one, former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, has so far appeared before the committee and he refused to cooperate.

Karl says it's incredibly important to not downplay the significance of that day.

"There is an aggressive effort underway — and unfortunately it's to some degree a successful effort — to erase the memory of Jan. 6 and to diminish its importance and to brush aside what this president did, what Donald Trump did to try to prevent what is the essence of democracy, American democracy: a peaceful transition of power."

In the audio interview, Karl goes into more detail about the purges inside the White House and his conversations with senior Republicans. Listen here.

And for more on Betrayal, read a review from NPR's Ron Elving here. Elving says that despite there being a plethora of books about the Trump administration already, "Enough of this material is new, or renewed in Karl's retelling, that it can all be compelling to read once again."


This story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.