David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, brings you The Axe Files, a series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. Go beyond the soundbites and get to know some of the most interesting players in politics. This show is moving to Luminary! For more, go to LuminaryPodcasts.com.
Harry Reid, former U.S. Senator from Nevada and Senate Majority Leader, sits down with David in Las Vegas, NV for a special televised edition of The Axe Files. In this extended version of the conversation, they talk about his tenure as Senate Majority Leader and how the role has changed under Mitch McConnell’s leadership, Reid’s unique relationship with Barack Obama, his take on Donald Trump and the impeachment inquiry, and much more.
Gina Raimondo, governor of Rhode Island and Chair of the Democratic Governors Association, joins David to talk about how her father’s early job loss moved her to enter public service, what Democrats running in 2020 can learn from the governors who ran successfully in 2018, and how her role as governor has changed in the age of Trump.
Admiral William McRaven is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL who served as the commander of U.S. Special Operations from 2011 to 2014. He joins David to talk about his foray into military service, his disagreements with Donald Trump, and his most memorable missions — including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, and the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. His new book, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, is a look back on over three decades of service. For more episodes of The Axe Files, visit LuminaryPodcasts.com
In this clip from Episode 348 of the Axe Files, conservative commentator and columnist George Will discusses how Trump has dismantled political norms and whether a return to civility is possible. He answers whether the Democrats and Speaker Pelosi should push harder for impeachment or if the political waters are too difficult to navigate. The full version of this conversation can be found on LuminaryPodcasts.com and through the free Luminary app.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder joins David on the CNN edition of the Axe Files to discuss potential impeachment proceedings, his advice for 2020 candidates, the long-term implications of Trump’s attacks on our institutions, and the arc of his historic career which ultimately led him to become the nation’s first African American Attorney General.
For this month’s episode of the Axe Files on CNN, we took the show on the road and traveled across Iowa during a whirlwind week of campaigning at the state fair and beyond. We spoke with candidates, organizers, and voters, whose first-in-the nation votes will define the Democratic race. In the podcast version of the show, we hear directly from those voters on the issues that matter to them, what they’re thinking about the race and their role in the process.
In this clip from Episode 342 of the Axe Files, Republican Congressman Will Hurd talks about his own experiences with racism and discrimination and the consequences of sowing racial division for Republicans. To hear the full conversation, sign up for Luminary at luminary.link/TheAxeFiles and get your first month free!
Pete Buttigieg, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, joins David for a televised edition of The Axe Files on CNN. He makes the case for why his executive experience as mayor prepares him for the presidency, talks racial tensions in South Bend and his plan forward, what he learned from his military service in Afghanistan, why he waited until his thirties to come out as gay, and more.
David Remnick is a journalist, author, and editor of The New Yorker magazine. He joins the show to talk about the New Yorker’s feature on Hunter Biden, covering Russia as a young reporter for the Washington Post, his philosophy as an editor, and the life lessons he’s learned from caring for his child with autism.
Hacks on Tap is the latest podcast from David Axelrod, giving listeners weekly insight into the 2020 presidential race. This week the hacks talk Biden and Buttigieg’s tough week with race relations, escalating tensions with Iran, and preview this week’s Democratic debates with guest hack Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. David and Mike also dig into the mail bag, taking listeners’ questions on the electoral college, the relative advantages of the Democratic primary system, and which 2020 Democratic campaign they’d least like to helm.
Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Robert Gates joins David for the Axe Files on CNN to discuss his long career serving eight presidents, his thoughts on global tensions and America’s standing in the world today, and his experience with 2020 hopeful Joe Biden.
In this debut episode of Fiasco: how the largely forgotten race between Al Gore and George W. Bush roiled Florida long before anyone had ever heard of a hanging chad. For more from "Fiasco", go to LuminaryPodcasts.com.
Janet Napolitano is the former Secretary of Homeland Security and two-term Governor of Arizona. She joins the show to talk about her long career in both law and politics, including her role in Anita Hill trial, how she addressed immigration issues as the governor of a border state, and her service in the Obama administration.
The New Jersey Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate joins David for The Axe Files on CNN in this extended conversation about his career in politics and the issues driving his run for the presidency.
Bill Burns is the former Ambassador to the Russian Federation under President Obama and currently serves as the President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He joins David to talk about his three-decade career as a foreign service officer for the United States, why 9/11 rendered foreign diplomacy more important than ever, what he learned upon meeting Vladimir Putin, and his take on the Trump administration’s approach to foreign policy. His new book, The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal, gives readers a rare look at American diplomacy in action.
Jason Rezaian is an author, CNN contributor, and opinion writer for the Washington Post. In 2014, while working in Iran as the Tehran bureau chief for the Post, he and his wife were detained by the Iranian authorities on espionage charges. He was freed in a prisoner swap after spending nearly two years in a detention center. He joins David to talk about his harrowing experience and how he’s coped in the aftermath, as well as the state of U.S.-Iranian relations today.
James Carville is a Democratic political strategist best known for his work as the lead strategist of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. He joins David to talk about how growing up in segregated Carville, Louisiana motivated him to jump into politics, what he believes set Bill Clinton apart as a presidential contender, and what it will take for any 2020 hopeful to succeed.
Bryan Cranston is an actor, producer, director, and screenwriter best known for his roles on Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle, and Seinfeld. He joins David to talk about acting as a catharsis, why inhabiting real-life figures poses a greater challenge than inhabiting fictional ones, the parallels between acting and politics, and much more. He currently stars in the Broadway adaptation of the Oscar-winning 1976 film Network, a prescient story about the perils of tabloid television and media.
Trevor Noah and David Kibuuka discuss the fire at Notre Dame and the ethics of philanthropy before being joined by Tiger Woods biographer Jeff Benedict to discuss one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. For more from "On Second Thought" go to LuminaryPodcasts.com
Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, sits down with David for a live taping of “The Axe Files” at the University of Chicago. Born in Iran to American parents, she discusses how growing up abroad shaped her world view; her family’s journey to Chicago; her foray into law and city politics; and shares anecdotes as one of Obama’s closest political and personal confidantes. Her new memoir, Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, charts her inspiring journey from the south side of Chicago to the Oval Office.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 9th district, a position she's held since 1999. She joins David to talk about her start in politics as a grassroots organizer, how early activism evolved into a career in public service, and her take on Congress today: from winning back the House majority to governing in the age of President Trump.
Former Texas congressmen Beto O’Rourke joins David on CNN to talk about his vision for the country, growing up as the son of a larger-than-life Texas politician, what the reality of life is like on the US-Mexico border, and more
We’re happy to announce that the Axe Files is joining the Luminary podcast network! Go to luminary.link/theaxefiles and sign up before April 22 to get your first three months for free and only $6.99 a month after that for the first year – which is $1 off the monthly subscription fee. The subscription fee allows us to deliver you episodes and our full archive completely ad-free. On April 23 you can download the Luminary app for free and listen to the Axe Files there. Then on May 20 our show will only be available on the Luminary app for Premium subscribers.Luminary is a new podcast company that is exclusively devoted to podcasts. We will be joining them as a podcast for Premium subscribers, allowing us to deliver ad-free content to you in perpetuity. With a premium subscription you will have access to all of our future shows, ad-free archives, and dozens of other exclusive shows, including ones with hosts like Guy Raz, Lena Dunham, Trevor Noah, Leon Neyfakh the creator of Slow Burn, Hannibal Buress, Celeste Barber, and podcasts from Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco and Bill Simmons’ The Ringer. We love doing this show for you guys and there are many more great Axe Files conversations coming your way via Luminary.
Tommy Vietor is the former National Security Council spokesman under President Obama and current host of Pod Save the World on the Crooked Media network. He joins David to talk about his journey on Team Obama—from driving the press van in Iowa to NSC spokesman—and what he learned along the way. Vietor also shares his view on the international crises in Syria, Venezuela, and Israel, assessing the Trump administration’s diplomatic efforts to tackle these issues.
Peter Roskam is a former Republican congressman from Illinois. He joins David to talk about how he was caught up in the 2018 Democratic wave, what initially drew him into politics, the pathway to a more bipartisan Congress and much more.
Journalist and author Alex Kotlowitz joins David to talk about his award-winning book on kids growing up in the Chicago housing projects, the mental toll writing that book took on him personally, the violence in Chicago today, and what he wants to focus on next.
Former Governor Jeb Bush joins the Axe Files on CNN to talk about the Bush family legacy of public service, Trump’s impact on the 2016 Republican primary, his personal connection to the issue of immigration, and more.
Alyssa Mastromonaco is an author and served as Barack Obama's deputy Chief of Staff for Operations in the White House. She joins David to talk about her early experience interning for Bernie Sanders, working on Obama's 2008 campaign, transitioning back to life outside of the White House, and much more.
Elizabeth Warren is the Senator from Massachusetts and a Democratic presidential candidate. She joins David for the Axe Files on CNN in this extended conversation about her life, her candidacy, and much more.
Legendary broadcast journalist and news anchor Bill Kurtis joins the show to talk about the history he's witnessed from his many years covering the news, from being threatened by Charles Manson to his investigative work on the effects of Agent Orange on soldiers returning from Vietnam, and everything in between.
Claire McCaskill, former Democratic U.S. Senator from Missouri, joins David to talk about the 2018 midterms race she narrowly lost in a state swept by Donald Trump by nearly 19 points in 2016. She also shares her take on governing and campaigning in a post-Trump political climate, the impending Mueller report, her evaluation of the slew of 2020 candidates, and much more.
Michael Smerconish, is a journalist and host of the eponymous ‘Smerconish’ on CNN, as well as the host of “The Michael Smerconish Program” on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel. He joins David to talk about his early start in talk radio, the impact of the media on political polarization, why he considers his current work at CNN his most authentic yet, and much more.
Lisa Madigan is the former State Attorney General for Illinois. She joins the show to talk about teaching in South Africa during the rise of the anti-apartheid movement, the Jason Van Dyke case in Chicago, her investigation into abuse in the Catholic Church, why she didn't run for governor, and more.
Kirsten Powers is an author, columnist for USA Today, and frequent contributor on CNN. She joins David to discuss her far-flung upbringing in Alaska, the personal struggles which she discussed openly in her columns, working for AOL during the dawn of the internet age, her experience as a liberal-leaning commentator for Fox News, and much more.
Nate Silver, statistician and founder of FiveThirtyEight, joins David to talk about how his early love of sports fused with a passion for statistical modeling, the bridge from sports modeling to predicting political races, the 2008 projections that catapulted him to national fame, and his take on the 2020 field—including why an analysis of five key groups within the Democratic party suggests Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke may have the best chance of securing the nomination, why early polls so often miss the mark, and why Howard Schultz’s potential impact on the race may not be as helpful to Trump as some pundits claim.
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is the head of the House Democratic Caucus. He joins the show to discuss his reaction to the State of the Union address, how Democrats plan to respond, what he's looking for in a Democratic candidate in 2020, and much more.
Josh Shapiro, Attorney General of Pennsylvania, joins David to discuss the Pennsylvania grand jury report revealing child sex abuse by Catholic priests and the elaborate cover-up scheme—one of the broadest inquiries into church sex abuse in U.S. history. Shapiro also shares his own journey in public service and the law, the importance of knocking on doors and listening to constituents, the ongoing investigation into Big Pharma’s role in the opioid crisis, his take on U.S. Attorney General nominee William Barr, and why he believes a Democrat will take Pennsylvania in 2020.
Former Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate John Delaney joins the show to talk about his journey from a blue collar family to the founder of two publicly traded companies, his candidacy, and the issues facing the country.
Stanley McChrystal is a retired four-star general in the U.S. Army who led America’s Joint Special Operations Command and NATO forces in the War in Afghanistan. He joins David to share his view of Trump’s military policy both abroad and domestic, the famous resignation letter he handed President Obama in the wake of a bombshell Rolling Stone story, his take on former colleague Michael Flynn, and much more. His new book, Leaders: Myth and Reality profiles famous leaders from a range of fields to explore how leadership works in practice and challenge the myths that underlie our understanding of it.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry joins David for a televised version of the Axe Files to discuss the state of American foreign policy under Donald Trump, whether he’s considering a run for the White House in 2020, what he learned from a life of public service, his decorated service in Vietnam, and why he remains hopeful for the future.
Sherrilyn Ifill is the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She joins David to talk about how growing up in the heat of the civil rights movement inspired her to practice law, the impact of the present reversing of Obama-era policies designed to protect marginalized groups, contemporary race relations in America, her take on Attorney General nominee Bill Barr’s confirmation hearing, and much more.
Miguel Cervantes, star of the blockbuster Hamilton play in Chicago, sits down with David to talk about the years he spent auditioning prior to landing the leading role, the cultural phenomenon the play has become, and his daughter’s unexpected diagnosis with epilepsy – the news of which coincided with his landing the titular role.
Ivo Daalder is the President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the former U.S. ambassador to NATO. He joins David to talk about the decline of American influence abroad and current vacuum in global leadership, the cost of abdicating international cooperation, how growing up outside of the U.S. impacted his appreciation for the United States, and his assessment of contemporary U.S. foreign policy in diplomatic hotspots including China, Russia, North Korea, Syria, and more. His new book, The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership, explores the erosion of American diplomacy and its impact on the postwar world order.
J.B. Pritzker, governor-elect of Illinois, joins David to discuss the unique challenges facing the state and his priorities moving forward, what surprised him upon meeting Donald Trump during the December governors meeting, and – despite his family’s storied wealth – the poignant series of events that struck the Pritzker clan when J.B. was young.
Congressman Eric Swalwell represents California's 15th district and serves on the House Intelligence Committee. He joins the show to discuss the House investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, what the incoming Democratic majority in the House means for President Trump, and his ambitions for the 2020 race for president.
Howard Wolfson is the former Deputy Mayor of New York City, counselor to former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-chief strategist and communications director on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, and currently leads the Education division of Bloomberg Philanthropies. He joins David to talk about his mother’s battle with chronic depression, his decision to abandon journalism and pursue political strategy, the New York City media market and Donald Trump’s instinctive mastery of it, his experience working for Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and Michael Bloomberg – and the possibility of a 2020 presidential bid from Bloomberg.
Political journalist Al Hunt, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, joins David to discuss his time covering Watergate, similarities and differences between Trump and Nixon in light of potential impeachment, and his own future in journalism.
Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, joins David for a televised edition of the Axe Files to discuss how Democrats should take on the Trump administration, the biggest challenges of leading the Windy City, the Emanuel family dynamics that impelled him to the highest levels of U.S. government, and more.
Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer, activist, author, and founder/executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides legal aid to prisoners lacking effective representation. He joins David to talk about his experience growing up in a segregated county in southern Delaware, the national narrative of racial difference prevailing even after the Civil War, its implications on present-day politics, and his personal mission to provide legal aid to those disenfranchised by the U.S. criminal justice system. His best-selling book, "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption," chronicles the true stories of inmates on death row that Stevenson represented.
Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, sits down with David to talk about how a rejection from Harvard Law School paved the way for his meteoric rise as a media executive; his break up with NBC; the health scares that nearly claimed his life; and his unique perspective on Donald Trump–whose reality TV career he helped launch. Zucker shares his philosophy of the modern news model, and CNN’s role within it, in the age of Trump – and much more.
Amanda Carpenter is a conservative commentator, author, and former senior communications advisor and speechwriter to Senator Ted Cruz. She sits down with David to discuss the challenges of being raised by a single mother, the sports injury that fatefully led her to journalism, Trump’s rebranding of the Republican Party, her take on Beto O’Rourke’s unlikely campaign against Sen. Cruz, and more. Her book, Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us, draws on her experience as a top aide to Sen. Cruz to deconstruct Trump’s manipulative “fake narrative” strategies and prescribes ways in which to withstand it.
Chris Dodd is the former and longest-serving U.S. Senator from Connecticut. He joins David to talk about the influence of his late father, Sen. Thomas Dodd; the formative friendships he forged and lessons learned throughout his nearly four decades of serving in Congress; his motivation behind co-authoring the Dodd Frank Act, a massive piece of financial reform legislation; and why he believes there is reason to be optimistic about the future of American politics.
Former President of the United States Barack Obama sits down with David in Hyde Park for a special live taping of the Axe Files. Their conversation touches on the Obamas' life in the Hyde Park community, the sacrifices his family made for his political career, his biggest regret from his time in the presidency, the politics of race in America, increasing political polarization, and much more.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor joins David on the Axe Files on CNN to discuss the shifting dynamics on the bench after Brett Kavanaugh’s bitter confirmation battle, her personal ties to Puerto Rico and whether the response to Hurricane Maria was adequate, and her journey from the Bronx to the highest court in the land.
Mark Salter is a longtime advisor and speechwriter to Senator John McCain. He joins David to talk about the early literary influences that shaped both his and his late boss’s political philosophies, the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s vice presidential pick and its broader political impact, the life and legacy of John McCain, and why Salter believes Trumpism will lead to the extinction of the Republican Party as we know it.
Gloria Borger is a political pundit, journalist, and columnist who currently commentates as a chief political analyst for CNN. She sits down with David the day after Tuesday’s midterm elections to share her take on the outcome and why she believes we are experiencing a realignment in American politics. The conversation also spans Borger’s foray into journalism and the formative experiences she’s faced throughout her life and career: from entering Colgate University as part of the first class of female students, to the challenges she’s faced as a woman in political media.
Jen Psaki is the former White House Communications Director and White House Deputy Press Secretary under President Obama. She joins David after the midterms to discuss the implications of the results and their impact on the political landscape as well as Psaki’s personal political journey: from knocking on doors for Governor Vilsack in Iowa to helming the Obama communications shop in the White House.
Bodybuilder, actor, and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger joins David for the Axe Files on CNN to talk about his rise from a humble Austrian village to an American cultural icon and his views on contemporary politics, the #MeToo movement, and more.
Steve Schmidt is former Republican campaign strategist, who notably ran the 2008 John McCain campaign for the presidency. Since the election of Donald Trump he has left the Republican Party to become independent and appears as a commentator on MSNBC. He joins David to discuss the fateful nomination of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate, the connection between her and Donald Trump, as well as his storied career in politics.
Jonah Goldberg is an author and columnist for the National Review. He joins David to discuss his roots in journalism, how a family tragedy shaped his view on the War on Drugs, and his criticisms of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Jeff Weaver was the campaign manager for Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign. He joins the show to discuss Sanders' unique appeal to voters, what it was like to run against Hillary Clinton, the landscape of 2020, and more.
Mary Katharine Ham is a journalist and conservative commentator on CNN. She joins David to discuss fake news, Nikki Haley, the cultural issues dividing the country, and the Republican Party's Faustian bargain with Donald Trump.
Khizr Khan is a Gold Star father best known for his iconic speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention honoring his late son, Humayan Khan, a U.S. Army captain killed in the Iraq War. He joins David to discuss what led him from poverty in Pakistan to the pursuit of law in the United States, the experiences that informed his belief in American exceptionalism, his son’s military service and the day he died, and the impact Donald Trump’s rhetoric towards Muslims and immigrants has both domestically and globally.
Ana Navarro, GOP strategist and political commentator for CNN, joins David to talk about how her Nicaraguan upbringing shapes her view of U.S. immigration policy, the impact of the evolving landscape of the Republican Party and what she dubs the “Trumpification” of the GOP, and how the increasingly tribal nature of our politics is shaping institutions from Congress to the courts.
Steven Pearlstein is a Pulitzer Prize-winning business and economics columnist for The Washington Post. He joins David to chat about his beginnings in business writing, how to interpret the country’s record levels of deficit and present state of the economy, and the potential impact Brett Kavanaugh will have on the Supreme Court. They also discuss Pearlstein’s new book – Can American Capitalism Survive? – which explores how American capitalism has lost its moral legitimacy.
Chuck Todd is a longtime political journalist and current host of NBC's Meet the Press. He joins David to talk about his father’s struggle with alcoholism and the impact of his premature death; the celebrification of politics and the 21st-century media strategy he thinks works; and what he believes to be both Donald Trump’s greatest strength and greatest weakness.
Roberta Jacobson is an American diplomat who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico until May of 2018. She joins David to discuss the diplomatic tension between the U.S. and Mexico, the Trump administration's relationship with the United Nations, her work normalizing relations with Cuba under the Obama administration, and more.
Peter Sagal is the author of The Incomplete Book of Running and host of NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. He joins David to discuss a variety of topics including getting passed on by the Harvard Lampoon, appearing on Jeopardy as struggling writer in Los Angeles, his early work as a playwright, and crossing the finish line just minutes before the attack on the Boston Marathon.
Bob Shrum is a longtime Democratic campaign strategist and speechwriter. He joins David to discuss his new Institute for the Political Future, volunteering for Citizens for Kennedy as a college student, how to marry a candidate with a message, and much more.
Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts and civil rights lawyer, author, and businessman, sits down for a special televised edition of The Axe Files on CNN. He talks with David about his upbringing in the South Side of Chicago, the significance of the 2018 and 2020 elections, his take on the Trump administration, and whether or not he plans to run for president in 2020.
Susan Glasser is a preeminent political journalist with nearly three decades of reporting experience spanning foreign policy, domestic politics, and war correspondence. She joins David to talk about her experience as co-chief of the Washington Post’s Moscow bureau under the auspices of the early Putin regime; what she gleaned from conducting the first interview Vladimir Putin granted to American correspondents in 2001, and how authoritarian qualities endemic to Putin’s Russia undergird aspects of American politics today.
Pod Save America co-host and former speechwriter for President Barack Obama Jon Lovett joins the show to talk about the art of speechwriting, his experience working with Hillary Clinton prior to joining the Obama White House, and what the future holds for Crooked Media.
Former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee joins David to discuss the major economic policy decisions under Bush and Obama, the ongoing trade negotiations with Mexico, how the government can effectively intervene in a changing economy, and his strategy for beating Ted Cruz in a debate.
Mike Quigley is the U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 5th congressional district, serving on the House Intelligence and Appropriations Committees. He joins David to talk about the importance of local politics, the challenges of working in a highly polarized congressional environment, and what Russian interference portends for this administration.
Dean Baquet and Marty Baron, the Executive Editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post respectively, join David for the Axe Files on CNN to discuss the challenges of covering the Trump presidency, the unprecedented attacks on the free press, the power of journalism to change history, and the trajectory of their storied careers from reporters to editors.
Averell “Ace” Smith is a political opposition researcher whose career has spanned campaigns for Kamala Harris, Jerry Brown, and the Clintons. He sits down with David to talk about the ways in which political research is an essential craft to get right on campaigns; the unheeded letter he wrote to Hillary Clinton prior to the 2016 campaign, and about his new book on Satchel Paige, The Pitcher and the Dictator.
Judy Woodruff is a longtime broadcast journalist and current anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour. Judy sits down with David to talk about the regional blind spots afflicting network news, the relationship between Trump and Fox News, and witnessing the assassination attempt on Ronald Regan.
Part two of our Special Olympics series. Anne Burke, founder of the Special Olympics and a Supreme Court Justice in Illinois for the First Judicial District, joins David to talk about how coming to terms with her own disability undergirded her decision to help those with special needs, why Eunice Kennedy’s use of the word “unacceptable” defined Anne’s fight for the cause, and how adopting several foster children from abject circumstances shaped her world view.
Part one of this week’s two episode series honoring the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics. Timothy Shriver is the Chairman of the Special Olympics and son of legendary public servants Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver. He sits down with David to talk about growing up in a family nestled in the public eye, the little-known impact of the “forgotten” Kennedy sibling, Rosemary, and why Tim has devoted his life’s work to leveling the playing field for people with special needs.
Dan Pfeiffer is a former Senior Advisor to Barack Obama, co-host on the Pod Save America podcast, and author of the book Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump. He joins David to discuss his time in the Obama White House, the balance between civility and protest, the Supreme Court battle, and more.
John King Jr., U.S. Secretary of Education under President Obama, sits down with David to talk about losing his parents at a young age, the impact of the Trump administration's affirmative action rollback, and how getting booted out of his high school ultimately motivated his decision to devote his life to improving educational outcomes for students.
Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia is a clinical psychologist who in 2015 became the Executive Director of the Cook County Jail, the largest jail in America. She was the first mental health professional to run a jail in the US. The Cook County Sheriff calls the jail the largest mental health institution in the country. Nneka joins David to discuss her own experience growing up with an incarcerated father, her time at the Cook County Jail, and her new role with Chicago Beyond, where she will focus on how to better support children with incarcerated parents.
Senator Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, joins David for the Axe Files on CNN to discuss the ongoing battle at the border, the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, the Mueller investigation, and Republicans’ relationship with the President.
John Farrell, award-winning presidential historian and journalist, joins David to chat about why local newspapers now struggle for survival, his work on the Boston Globe’s famous ‘Spotlight’ team, and why he thinks our current political climate is a product of the Nixon era.
Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, joins David to talk about growing up as a liberal activist in a conservative town, her unique philosophy on newscasting in the Trump era, and lessons she’s learned from her lifelong battle with cyclical depression.
Ray Mabus, former U.S. Secretary of the Navy and Governor of Mississippi, joins David to talk about his upbringing in the heart of the South during the Civil Rights movement, what Mississippi‘s shifting political landscape portends for 2018 and 2020, and the reality of U.S. military preparedness in the face of global conflict.
Tom Donilon, former National Security Adviser to Barack Obama, chats with David Axelrod about his experience running President Jimmy Carter’s delegate operation during Ted Kennedy’s 1980 convention challenge as a 23-year-old, why he believes the U.S. pulling out the Iran Nuclear Deal was the worst diplomatic move since the Iraq War, and why a strategy that focuses on bilateral deals poses a structural problem for U.S. foreign policy interests – particularly when it comes to China.
Ronan Farrow is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New Yorker, former State Department official under President Barack Obama, and author of the new best-selling book War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence. He joins David to discuss his experiences growing up in a famous family with 13 siblings, his formative years working in the State Department under the wing of legendary diplomat Richard Holbrooke, and his near-thwarted efforts to publish the blockbuster account of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers—credited with spawning the international #MeToo movement.
Savannah Guthrie is a journalist, attorney, and co-anchor of the NBC News morning show Today. She recently sat down with David to talk about the impact of losing her father at a young age, how her Christian faith undergirded her journey from high-school slacker to Georgetown law standout, and her take on former Today co-host Matt Lauer’s firing following a slew of sexual assault allegations.
James Clapper is the former Director of National Intelligence and the author of a new book, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence. His long career in military intelligence spans some of the most significant national security challenges in U.S. history, including Russian interference in the 2016 election. James Clapper joins David for discussion on his life of service, the impact of Russia on the outcome of the election, what can come of a summit with North Korea, and much more.
Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, in an extended conversation with David Axelrod from the Axe Files TV show on CNN, talks about her formative experiences in the law as well as her tenure as acting Attorney General and the legal travails of the Trump administration.
Michael McFaul is the former U.S. ambassador to Russia and author of the book "From Cold War to Hot Peace," which chronicles U.S.-Russia relations during the Obama administration. He joins David Axelrod to talk about his path from Montana to Moscow, his early involvement in Democratic movements, Putin's Russia, and much more.