510 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
    • 4.5 • 6.8K Ratings

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. 491 — Chris Krebs

    Ep. 491 — Chris Krebs

    Chris Krebs was a champion pole vaulter and spent time as a scuba instructor before getting into infrastructure risk management. He ended up as the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security, a role that put him in former President Trump’s crosshairs as Chris sought to secure the 2020 election infrastructure. He was ultimately fired by the president. Chris joined David to talk about the ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity, working in the Trump administration, threats of Russian cyberattacks to the West and the war in Ukraine, and his concerns that false claims of election fraud are growing—and putting democracy at risk.

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Ep. 490 — Rep. Jackie Speier

    Ep. 490 — Rep. Jackie Speier

    Rep. Jackie Speier got her start in politics working for Rep. Leo Ryan, then a California state Assemblyman. But what started as a high school assignment ended on an airstrip in Guyana, where Rep. Ryan was killed, and Rep. Speier was shot five times ahead of the Jonestown Massacre. She has since dedicated her life to public service, making a mark when she became the first US Representative to speak about her own abortion on the House floor in 2011. Rep. Speier joined David to talk about her blue-collar upbringing, her experience in Jonestown and its lingering ramifications, abortion rights, gun violence, her concerns for the future of Congress—and what gives her hope.

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 54 min
    Ep. 489 — Shaka Senghor

    Ep. 489 — Shaka Senghor

    Growing up, Shaka Senghor wanted to be a doctor. But at age 14, he ran away from his unstable home. By 19, he was in prison. While in prison, he began unravelling his past, seeking to understand how he went from a bright young boy to solitary confinement. Shaka joined David to talk about the overwhelming challenges facing young people in neighborhoods like the one he grew up in, the seduction of drug culture, the injustices of the criminal justice system, being a father, and his new book, “Letters to the Sons of Society.”

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 1 hr
    Ep. 488 — Al Franken

    Ep. 488 — Al Franken

    Al Franken has been in the public eye for decades, first as a comedian and then as a senator from Minnesota. Since he resigned from the Senate in 2018 amid sexual harassment allegations—that he has denied—he has mostly stayed out of the spotlight. He talks to David about his transition from comedy to politics, his departure from the Senate and his subsequent battle with depression, whether he might run for office again, and his touring comedy show, “The Only Former U.S. Senator Currently on Tour Tour.”

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 57 min
    Ep. 487 — Amb. Michael McFaul

    Ep. 487 — Amb. Michael McFaul

    As a high school student in Montana, Ambassador Michael McFaul became interested in Russian affairs while working on a debate team assignment concerning trade sanctions on the Soviet Union. He first visited the Soviet Union in college and went on to serve as US Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. Ambassador McFaul joined David to talk about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s paranoia over the expansion of democracy around the world, the rise of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, what he sees as potential outcomes for the war in Ukraine, and how Putin’s attempts to tighten his grip on power may actually accelerate the unraveling of his leadership.

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 1 hr
    Ep. 486 — Sarah Longwell

    Ep. 486 — Sarah Longwell

    Inspired by the stacks of books in her parents’ home, Republican strategist Sarah Longwell once thought she might become a poet. But at Kenyon College, she found herself more captivated by political science than writing. Sarah joined David to talk about coming out as gay in a very conservative professional environment, her work to keep Donald Trump from winning in 2020, the struggle to separate true conservatism from the current culture wars, why she believes Joe Biden shouldn’t run for reelection, and what happens if Trump wins in 2024.

    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit cnn.com/privacy

    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
6.8K Ratings

6.8K Ratings

POD Hungry ,

Always insightful

Excellent interview with Rep Jackie Speier. I appreciate her service to this country. She’s a warrior & David brought great insight into her life & career. Thank you.

Bexterjohn ,

Jackie Speier,,, American Hero

Wonderful conversation with Representative Speier. She’s got a story for the ages and is a constant inspiration to me. Thankful for her 40 + years service to our country and for her courage.

THF Seattle ,

Great podcast

David is a great interviewer and wish he can instill some sanity in politics.

Also, love the shows with Maria Ressa and Sarah Longwell.

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