Axe Files: Former prosecutor Daniel Goldman



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.

  • Ep. 429 — Daniel Goldman

    After more than a decade working as a federal prosecutor and legal analyst, Daniel Goldman became a household name in 2020 for his role as lead counsel for the House in the first impeachment trial of former President Trump. As Trump’s second impeachment trial continues, Daniel joined David to talk about the House managers’ opening arguments, the through line from Trump’s first impeachment to his second, growing up a descendent of Levi Strauss, and how losing his father as a child impacted the trShow moreajectory of his life. 

  • Ep. 428 — Andrew McCabe

    Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe didn’t always plan to become an agent, but while interning at the Department of Justice he found himself obsessed with intricate details in case records. The fascination led him to a 22-year career in the Bureau—one that would end with McCabe himself at the center of a DOJ investigation. He joined David to talk about the “slow burning rise” of domestic terrorism, the decision to open an investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election, and the Show moredamage he believes the Trump administration has done to the FBI.

  • Ep. 427 — Rep. Adam Kinzinger

    Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a sixth-term Congressman from Illinois, recently found himself in the spotlight after he called for former President Trump’s removal from office following the January 6 attack on the Capitol. He was also one of 10 Republican House members to vote in favor of impeaching Trump. While some are lauding him as a voice of reason within the Republican Party, others are deriding him for turning against Trump and being out of touch with the broader GOP. Rep. Kinzinger joined David toShow more talk about what he sees as his battle to restore the Republican Party, what happens when leaders are more concerned with fame than policy, the evil he felt on Jan. 6 and whether he has future plans for statewide office.

  • Ep. 426 — Doris Kearns Goodwin

    Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin found she had a knack for storytelling as a child, recounting baseball games inning-by-inning for her father when he’d return home from work. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author has since harnessed that skill into chronicling the lives and leadership styles of American presidents at moments of national crisis, most recently with her 2018 book Leadership in Turbulent Times. Doris joined David to talk about the episodes of history that have led us to the present day, tShow morehe fight for the soul of the Republican Party, and the historic inauguration of President Joe Biden. 

  • Ep. 425 — Joe Scarborough

    Joe Scarborough had his first media experience hosting a call-in show on public access television to raise his political profile during a run for Congress. He won that 1994 Congressional race and held the Florida seat until 2001 before returning to television full-time. Now the co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he joined David to discuss the violence at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, his hot and cold relationship with Donald Trump, what happens next for the Republican Party, and his new book, Saving FrShow moreeedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization.

  • Ep. 424 — Rep. Ayanna Pressley

    Rep. Ayanna Pressley got her start in progressive politics at a young age, watching as her mother fought for tenants’ rights as an organizer in Chicago. When Rep. Pressley left college to care for her ailing mother, it didn’t stop her political trajectory. After serving as the first woman of color on the Boston City Council, she beat out a long-time incumbent in 2018 for a seat in US House of Representatives. Rep. Pressley joined David to talk about the destruction caused by Covid-19, prioritiziShow moreng marginalized groups in legislation, criminal justice reform, and the implications of the Georgia Senate runoffs.

  • Silence is Not an Option: Black to the Future

    This week we’re bringing you an episode of Silence is Not an Option, a CNN podcast hosted by Don Lemon. A record number of Black candidates ran for office this year, representing not only their constituencies, but also the diversity of perspectives that exist among Black Americans. Don talks to two newly elected representatives, Mondaire Jones (D-New York) and Cori Bush (D-Missouri), about their platforms, their strategies for Congress, and the future of Black politics.

  • Best of the Axe Files: Tony Blinken

    Antony “Tony” Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, first met Biden more than 15 years ago when he served as staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Biden chaired. Blinken went on to serve as Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy Secretary of State during the Obama administration, cementing his role as a member of Biden’s inner circle. This week, we’re revisiting a conversation David had with Blinken back in 2017. He joined David to tShow morealk about spending his formative years overseas, his relationship with Biden and the importance of engaging in diplomacy around the world.

  • Ep. 423 — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took the House by storm when she beat out 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, winning on a staunchly progressive platform. She is often portrayed as the embodiment of the liberal left, both by the media and her GOP adversaries who hold her up as a warning of how far left the Democrats have gone. Now in her second term, she has showed no interest in backing down from her priorities, like a $15 minimum wage and healthcare for all. She joined David to talk about hShow moreer upbringing, how an interest in maternal health inspired a pivot to politics, the state of Covid-19 stimulus negotiations and the problem with austerity politics. 

  • Ep. 422 — Dan Rather

    As a young reporter, Dan Rather was no stranger to getting the story by any means necessary, whether that meant sneaking off to use the office phone at Lyndon B. Johnson’s ranch or chaining himself to a tree during Hurricane Carla. The legendary broadcaster joined David to talk about his storied career, why covering civil rights changed him personally and professionally, how he learned to steel himself while covering earth-shattering and often emotional historic moments and how he still finds joShow morey in his work after seven decades in journalism.