Savannah Guthrie got a lot of praise for her moderation of President Trump during Thursday night’s town hall: “It ended up being one of the toughest grillings he has faced as president,” Jeremy Barr wrote in the Washington Post. Her “series of quick-paced, conversational questions…put him on the spot and successfully revealed his evasions in a way that few of his interlocutors have managed,” Annie Karni wrote in the New York Times. She “was somehow extremely effective in cutting off the president and getting him to listen when he went on a ramble or said something untrue,” Tom Jones wrote for Poynter.
Guthrie’s performance didn’t come out of nowhere. While she’s well known for her TV journalism work—she’s currently a co-host of Today—she’s also an attorney, an avocation she pursued alongside journalism when she worked in Washington in the 2000s. Guthrie attended Georgetown Law while freelancing for WRC-TV, and she graduated magna cum laude.
When she took the bar exam in Arizona, where she grew up, Guthrie had the best results of all 634 participants. Guthrie then spent two years at Akin Gump focusing on white collar criminal defense before returning to TV full-time.
Thursday wasn’t her first time working to pin Trump down on his loose approach to facts. She interviewed the then-perennial-perhaps presidential candidate in 2011, asking him about his support for the racist birtherism conspiracy theory about President Obama and his promises to disclose his finances, among other subjects. Take a look:
Guthrie remains an active attorney and a member in good standing of the DC Bar. Her address is listed as 30 Rockefeller Plaza.