300 episodes

David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and CNN bring 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.

The Axe Files with David Axelrod The Institute of Politics & CNN

    • News

David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and CNN bring 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.

    Ep. 369 — Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

    Ep. 369 — Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

    Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are Pulitzer-Prize winning authors and journalists. They join David for a live edition of The Axe Files to talk about how their families’ immigrant stories inform their own views, how lessons from their coverage of the Tiannamen Square protests may be relevant today, and how the threat of a rising China might push us to reevaluate our own economic system. They also discuss their new book, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, which illustrates the present-day working class crisis marked by poverty, addiction, and suicide — and offer policy prescriptions to address institutional failures.

    • 1 hr
    Ep. 368 — Rep. Adam Schiff

    Ep. 368 — Rep. Adam Schiff

    Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and served as lead House manager in the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump. He joins David to share his assessment of the impeachment proceedings and beyond: including why he believes the impeachment trial was worth the political risk; what, if anything, the process accomplished; the significance of Sen. Mitt Romney’s unprecedented vote; what Trump’s acquittal might mean for the future of democratic institutions; and more.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Ep. 367 — Michele Norris

    Ep. 367 — Michele Norris

    Michele Norris, former host of NPR’s All Things Considered, joins David to talk about how her family’s firsthand experience with housing discrimination shaped her world view, her struggle as a fledgling television reporter to overcome a speech impediment, her friendship with Michelle Obama, and how The Race Card Project — an initiative she founded in order to foster a wider conversation about race — might inform our politics today. 

    • 59 min
    Ep. 366 — David Gergen

    Ep. 366 — David Gergen

    David Gergen is a former presidential adviser and CNN political commentator. He joins David to talk about how Trump’s State of the Union could shape his reelection chances, the electoral challenges Democrats face, and which Democratic hopeful’s message he likens to Obama’s and Carter’s. He draws on five decades of experience across four administrations — Democratic and Republican alike — to situate Trump’s leadership style in the context of his presidential predecessors and shares what he thinks it could mean for the future of democratic institutions.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Ep. 365 — Judd Apatow

    Ep. 365 — Judd Apatow

    Judd Apatow is a filmmaker, writer, and comedian. He joins David to talk about how his parents’ divorce helped fuel his interest in comedy, his struggles with anxiety at the height of his career, the psychology behind Trump’s political prowess, how Hollywood culture parallels that of Washington, and much more.

    • 58 min
    Ep. 364 — Fusion GPS (Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch)

    Ep. 364 — Fusion GPS (Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch)

    Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch are the co-founders of Fusion GPS, the private research firm behind the Steele “Trump-Russia” dossier. Simpson and Fritsch join David to discuss their joint roots as Wall Street Journal reporters, how the research skills they developed as journalists translated to careers in private investigative work, how they met Christopher Steele and the formulation of the Steele Dossier, and what they learned about Donald Trump following a private investigation of then-candidate Trump.

    Their new book, Crime in Progress, takes readers inside the firm’s four-year-long investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia ties—culminating in what became known as the Steele dossier. 

    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

Montezuma199 ,

5 Star on content, 1 star on paywall

Really like Axe Files and have listened to it for years. Shocked by decision to go behind a paywall. Didn’t think David would have done this. Respect the decision - presumably driven by the financials - but won’t be subscribing. Thanks David but this is goodbye!

Lurkylistna ,

congealed wisdom

The range of guests and the insight and style of David's interview style combines to produce a level of discussion that's increasingly rare. It's become my go-to podcast and I'm dreading catching up with the back catalogue.

tony.merit ,

Balanced and insightful

Great interview series. Axelrod deserves a lot of credit for the goodwill and comity that he shows his guests, and his balanced take on issues. Particularly in this age of hyperpartisan shouting and echo chambers

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