November 14, 2018
The John Brademas Center of New York University, NYU Washington, DC, and Random House hosted a powerful Salon Series and Big Ideas Night on the impact and meaning of the mid-term election results featuring Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times, and Timothy Naftali, Clinical Associate Professor of History at New York University and a CNN Presidential Historian. James Hohmann, National Political Correspondent for The Washington Post and Author of The Daily 202, served as moderator for the evening.
Peter Baker, Timothy Naftali, along with Jon Meacham and Jeffrey A. Engel are the authors of IMPEACHMENT: An American History, published by the Modern Library, a division of Random House. This book will be the focus of the evening's Salon Series event.
Books were available for purchase at this event.
Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, responsible for covering President Trump, the fourth president he has covered. He covered President Obama for The Times and Bill Clinton and George W. Bush for The Washington Post.
Mr. Baker joined The Times in 2008 after 20 years at The Post and has written about Mr. Trump since the inception of his administration, through the turmoil inside his White House and the many battles with adversaries outside it. He has written about controversies over a travel ban, the investigation into Russia’s election interference, the firing of the F.B.I. director, legislative struggles over health care and tax cuts and decisions of war and peace in Afghanistan, Syria and North Korea.
During his first tour at the White House, Mr. Baker co-authored the original story breaking the Monica Lewinsky scandal and served as The Post’s lead writer on the impeachment and trial of Mr. Clinton. During his next White House assignment, he covered the travails of Mr. Bush’s second term, from the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina to Supreme Court nomination fights and the economic crisis. During Mr. Obama’s presidency, he covered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the reelection campaign and debates over health care, economics, terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In between stints at the White House, Mr. Baker and his wife, Susan Glasser, spent four years as Moscow bureau chiefs for The Post, chronicling the rise of Vladimir Putin, the rollback of Russian democracy, the second Chechen war and the terrorist attacks on a theater in Moscow and a school in Beslan. Mr. Baker also covered the early months of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was the first American newspaper journalist to report from rebel-held northern Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001, and he spent the next eight months covering the overthrow of the Taliban and the emergence of a new government. He later spent six months in the Middle East, reporting from inside Saddam Hussein's Iraq and around the region before embedding with the United States Marines as they drove toward Baghdad. At The Times, he served briefly as Jerusalem bureau chief.
Mr. Baker is the author of five books, most recently "Impeachment: An American History" (Modern Library, 2018) with Jon Meacham, Timothy Naftali and Jeffrey A. Engel. He also wrote “Obama: The Call of History” (New York Times/Callaway, 2017), a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work; “Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House” (Doubleday, 2013), which was named one of the five Best Non-Fiction Books of 2013 by The New York Times Book Review; “The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton” (Scribner, 2000), a New York Times bestseller; and, with Ms. Glasser, “Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution” (Scribner, 2005), named one of the Best Books of 2005 by The Washington Post Book World. He is currently working on a biography of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, which he will write for Doubleday with Ms. Glasser.
Mr. Baker has won all three major awards devoted to White House reporting: the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Coverage of the Presidency (twice), the Aldo Beckman Memorial Award (twice) and the Merriman Smith Memorial Award. Mr. Baker is also a political analyst for MSNBC and a regular panelist on PBS’s “Washington Week.”
A native of the Washington area, Mr. Baker attended Oberlin College and worked for The Washington Times for two years before joining The Post in 1988 as a Virginia reporter. Ms. Glasser is now a staff writer for The New Yorker and the two live in Washington with their son Theodore.
James Hohmann is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post. He is the author of The Daily 202, The Post's flagship political newsletter, and the voice of its affiliated Big Idea audio briefing. Hohmann covered local news for The Post in the aughts and returned in 2015 after six years at Politico.
He has also written for the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News and San Jose Mercury News. A historian by training, Hohmann grew up in Apple Valley, Minn., and graduated with honors from Stanford University.
With a joint appointment in History and at Wagner, Timothy Naftali is a Clinical Associate Professor of Public Service and a Clinical Associate Professor of History. A native of Montreal and a graduate of Yale with a doctorate in history from Harvard, Naftali writes on national security and intelligence policy, international history and presidential history. Using Soviet-era documents, he and Russian academic Aleksandr Fursenko wrote the prize-winning One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-1964 and Khrushchev’s Cold War, the latter winning the Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature in 2007 and inclusion on Foreign Affairs’ 2014 list of the ten best books on the Cold War. As a consultant to the 9/11 Commission, Naftali wrote a history of US counterterrorism policy, published as Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism.
Naftali came to NYU Wagner after serving as the founding director of the federal Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, where he authored the Library's nationally acclaimed exhibit on Watergate and oversaw the release of 1.3 million pages of presidential documents and nearly 700 hours of the infamous Nixon tapes. Naftali, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Slate and Foreign Affairs, is also seen regularly on television as a commentator on contemporary history. Most recently, he was featured in CNN’s The Sixties and The Seventies and in the PBS documentaries Dick Cavett’s Watergate, Dick Cavett’s Vietnam, and The Bomb.
Four experts on the American presidency examine the three times impeachment has been invoked—against Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton—and explain what it means today. Impeachment is a double-edged sword. Though it was designed to check tyrants, Thomas Jefferson also called impeachment “the most formidable weapon for the purpose of a dominant faction that was ever contrived.” On the one hand, it nullifies the will of voters, the basic foundation of all representative democracies. On the other, its absence from the Constitution would leave the country vulnerable to despotic leadership. It is rarely used, and with good reason.
The NYU Washington, DC Salon Series: Conversations with Writers & Artists presents an opportunity for the NYU and Washington, DC community to meet and engage in dialogue with acclaimed writers and artists as they reflect on their craft. This program provides facilitated conversations that aim to illuminate the guests’ creative processes, discuss their current works, and explain the impact of their work on the world around us. The Salon Series is made possible by NYU Washington, DC through the collaboration of NYU schools, departments and centers, as well as through special relationships with selected external organizations.
Random House’s Big Ideas Night series is a forum for thought-provoking conversations between writers and editors on the topics of politics, world affairs, technology, social justice, philanthropy, and more. These focused dialogues offer exclusive access for guests to dive deeper into issues with fellow readers, and engage directly with the innovators addressing them.