115 episodes

Living in America these past few years has been like living in a movie—a mashup of Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, and Idiocracy, that is. The never-ending pandemic, the routine mass shootings, the climate literally and figuratively on fire; the economy first battered by recession, then ravaged by inflation; an angry electorate, armed to the teeth and addled by conspiracy theories, as our democracy teeters on the brink, with Donald Trump still working overtime to push the whole thing off a cliff. On Hell and High Water, John Heilemann — host of Showtime's The Circus, co-author of Game Change, and national affairs analyst for MSNBC — explores this apocalyptic-seeming moment with seminal figures in politics, entertainment, business, tech, the media, and beyond. The conversations are deep, rich, and bracingly real, but also hopeful, as Heilemann and his guests grapple with the fact that, to quote Bob Dylan, “Everything is broken,” and try to figure out how to fix it … together.


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Hell & High Water with John Heilemann The Recount

    • News
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Living in America these past few years has been like living in a movie—a mashup of Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, and Idiocracy, that is. The never-ending pandemic, the routine mass shootings, the climate literally and figuratively on fire; the economy first battered by recession, then ravaged by inflation; an angry electorate, armed to the teeth and addled by conspiracy theories, as our democracy teeters on the brink, with Donald Trump still working overtime to push the whole thing off a cliff. On Hell and High Water, John Heilemann — host of Showtime's The Circus, co-author of Game Change, and national affairs analyst for MSNBC — explores this apocalyptic-seeming moment with seminal figures in politics, entertainment, business, tech, the media, and beyond. The conversations are deep, rich, and bracingly real, but also hopeful, as Heilemann and his guests grapple with the fact that, to quote Bob Dylan, “Everything is broken,” and try to figure out how to fix it … together.


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    Mark Leibovich and Tim Miller, Part 2

    Mark Leibovich and Tim Miller, Part 2

    In a special two-part episode, John Heilemann talks with Mark Leibovich, former chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, current staff writer for The Atlantic, and author of This Town, the iconic skewering of the culture of pre-Trump Washington, DC; and Tim Miller, former Republican strategist, current #NeverTrump gadfly-c*m-firebrand, writer-at-large for The Bulwark, and host of Not My Party on Snap. Leibovich and Miller are also the authors of a pair of hot new books — Thank You For Your Servitude: Donald Trump's Washington and the Price of Submission and Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell, respectively — that tell essentially the same tale from different sides of the looking glass: the story of "the supplicant fanboys" and "parasitic suck-ups" who "permitted Donald Trump's depravity to be inflicted on the rest of us" (Leibovich); of "the army of [GOP] consultants, politicians, media figures" who "recognized all the risks but still climbed aboard for a ride on the SS Trump Hellship" (Miller). Heilemann and the authors discuss the dom-sub nature of the relationship between Trump and Mike Pence, Lindsey Graham's soulless craving for proximity to power, Miller's own flirtation with the dark side, and the broader pattern of Republican complicity, corruption, and cowardice that enabled Trump's rise, his rule, and his violent plot to overturn a presidential election and trash American democracy ... all of which, terrifyingly, persists unabated to this day. 
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    • 49 min
    Mark Leibovich and Tim Miller, Part 1

    Mark Leibovich and Tim Miller, Part 1

    In a special two-part episode, John Heilemann talks with Mark Leibovich, former chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, current staff writer for The Atlantic, and author of This Town, the iconic skewering of the culture of pre-Trump Washington, DC; and Tim Miller, former Republican strategist, current #NeverTrump gadfly-c*m-firebrand, writer-at-large for The Bulwark, and host of Not My Party on Snapchat. Leibovich and Miller are also the authors of a pair of hot new books — Thank You For Your Servitude: Donald Trump's Washington and the Price of Submission and Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell, respectively — that tell essentially the same tale from different sides of the looking glass: the story of "the supplicant fanboys" and "parasitic suck-ups" who "permitted Donald Trump's depravity to be inflicted on the rest of us" (Leibovich); of "the army of [GOP] consultants, politicians, media figures" who "recognized all the risks but still climbed aboard for a ride on the SS Trump Hellship" (Miller). Heilemann and the authors discuss the dom-sub nature of the relationship between Trump and Mike Pence, Lindsey Graham's soulless craving for proximity to power, Miller's own flirtation with the dark side, and the broader pattern of Republican complicity, corruption, and cowardice that enabled Trump's rise, his rule, and his violent plot to overturn a presidential election and trash American democracy ... all of which, terrifyingly, persists unabated to this day. 
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    • 57 min
    Jonathan Lemire

    Jonathan Lemire

    John Heilemann talks with Jonathan Lemire, White House Bureau Chief at Politico, host of Way Too Early on MSNBC, and author of the new book, The Big Lie: Election Chaos, Political Opportunism, and the State of American Politics After 2020. Heilemann and Lemire discuss the January 6 select committee's final hearing of the summer; the scandal over the Secret Service's purge of text messages from the day of the Capitol riot; and the growing impatience among top White House officials with Attorney General Merrick Garland's Justice Department over its apparent lethargy around bringing criminal charges against former President Trump related to the insurrection. Lemire also unpacks the history of Trump's Big Lie as an idea; recalls what it was like to see his face on every TV screen in the world for days after asking the question at the 2018 Helsinki summit that led Trump to declare that he sided with Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence officials regarding Russia's interference in 2016; and discusses various 2024 scenarios, from a Biden v Trump rematch to potential presidential runs by Ron DeSantis and Gavin Newsom, the ultra-thirsty governors of Florida and California.
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    Lis Smith, Part Two

    Lis Smith, Part Two

    In a special two-part episode, John Heilemann talks with Lis Smith, the Democratic communications guru best known for her role in guiding Pete Buttigieg's long shot presidential campaign, and now author of a new memoir, Any Given Tuesday: A Political Love Story. In Part 1 of the podcast, Heilemann and Smith discuss the 1/6 committee hearings and their potential impact on Donald Trump's political future; the early years of Smith's career working on campaigns; the saga of her romantic involvement with former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, and the furor that erupted when the relationship became tabloid fodder. In Part 2, Lis looks back fondly on her time with Mayor Pete and much less fondly on her role as a member of former New York governor Andrew Cuomo's kitchen cabinet as he faced a wave of sexual harassment charges that ultimately forced him to resign. Lis also waxes (unaccountably) rhapsodic about her beloved Cincinnati Bengals, and explains why she refers to herself as a "competitive motherfucker."
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    • 51 min
    Lis Smith, Part One

    Lis Smith, Part One

    In a special two-part episode, John Heilemann talks with Lis Smith, the Democratic communications guru best known for her role in guiding Pete Buttigieg's long shot presidential campaign, and now author of a new memoir, Any Given Tuesday: A Political Love Story. In Part 1 of the podcast, Heilemann and Smith discuss the 1/6 committee hearings and their potential impact on Donald Trump's political future; the early years of Smith's career working on campaigns; the saga of her romantic involvement with former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, and the furor that erupted when the relationship became tabloid fodder. In Part 2, Lis looks back fondly on her time with Mayor Pete and much less fondly on her role as a member of former New York governor Andrew Cuomo's kitchen cabinet as he faced a wave of sexual harassment charges that ultimately forced him to resign. Lis also waxes (unaccountably) rhapsodic about her beloved Cincinnati Bengals, and explains why she refers to herself as a "competitive motherfucker."
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    • 1 hr 8 min
    Marie Brenner

    Marie Brenner

    John Heilemann talks with Marie Brenner, Vanity Fair writer-at-larger and author of the new book, The Desperate Hours: One Hospital's Fight to Save a City on the Pandemic's Front Lines. The book provides a detailed account of the struggle of New York’s largest hospital system, New York Presbyterian, to combat the brutal Covid-19 surge in the initial months of the pandemic. Heilemann and Brenner discuss the divide between the corporate side of New York Presbyterian, which put a gag order on its personnel, and the medical professionals who wanted to tell the truth about the city’s, the state's, and the federal government's unpreparedness in the fight against COVID; the difficulties New York Presbyterian faced because of the Trump administration’s anti-science rhetoric; and the heroism of hospital employees as the pandemic raged on. John also takes Marie for a walk down memory lane and through her storied career in journalism, focusing on three stories she wrote that were adapted into critically acclaimed films (The Insider, Richard Jewell, A Private War); her experience writing about the late Marie Colvin, the legendary war correspondent; and Brenner's run-in decades ago with Donald Trump, who was so enraged by a profile she wrote about him that he took revenge on her in a public, scene-making, cowardly, incompetent -- all of which is to say, perfectly Trumpian -- fashion.
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    • 1 hr 20 min

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