Politics Weekly America

Politics Weekly America

By The Guardian

Every Friday, Guardian columnist and former Washington correspondent, Jonathan Freedland, invites experts to help analyse the latest in American politics. From politicians to journalists covering the White House and beyond, Jonathan and his guests give listeners behind the scenes access to how the American political machine works.


JD Vance: who is Donald Trump’s new vice-president?

After the attempted assassination of Donald Trump over the weekend, the Republican national convention gathered in Milwaukee this week to welcome him as the party’s presidential nominee. But not all eyes were on the former president. Standing next to him, above the chanting crowd, was his newly appointed candidate for vice-president, JD Vance. It was a surprising move for the Ohio senator and author of Hillbilly Elegy, who once described himself as a ‘never Trumper’ and his new boss as ‘America’s Hitler’. So what’s behind this transformation, and what’s in it for Trump? To find out, Jonathan Freedland is joined this week by Tara Setmayer, a former Republican congressional communications director
17/07/2427m 55s

Republicans elevate Trump to ‘living martyr’ status after shooting

On Saturday night in London, word came through that Donald Trump had been injured during one of his rallies in Pennsylvania. A shooter, who killed another person and seriously injured others, was killed by Secret Service agents. As the US comes to grips with what just happened, Jonathan Freedland and Sidney Blumenthal discuss what this tragedy means for the former president’s image with less than five months until the election
14/07/2422m 20s

Anne Applebaum on autocracies and signs of America’s move to join them

Back in December Donald Trump said the quiet bit out loud when he announced he wanted to be a dictator – if only on day one. Looking around the world in the 21st century, autocracy is getting a new lease of life – authoritarian regimes are working together, and the danger to democracies like the United States is getting closer to home. This week, Jonathan Freedland is joined by the political commentator and author Anne Applebaum to look at what the US should be doing to tackle the growing threat of autocracy
12/07/2428m 8s

Biden in trouble as Supreme Court hands Trump another big win

As Americans celebrate Independence Day, Democrats are scrambling after a pretty disastrous week for the party – and arguably US-democracy. On Monday, the US supreme court handed Donald Trump a victory by ruling that former presidents are entitled to some degree of immunity from criminal prosecution. Stemming from this, the judge overseeing the former president’s criminal case in New York postponed his sentencing from next week to 18 September. This falls against the backdrop of Joe Biden trying to convince the public and members of his party that he is still fit to run for president. This week, Jonathan Freedland and Paul Begala, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, discuss how the Democrats can regroup
04/07/2429m 1s

Debate disaster: is there a way back for Joe Biden?

Donald Trump and Joe Biden took to the debate stage in Atlanta, Georgia, for their first head to head of this year’s presidential campaign. Jonathan Freedland and Nikki McCann Ramirez of Rolling Stone look at who did better on the night
28/06/2428m 32s

Will Joe Biden’s immigration pledge convince or confuse the public?

In this year’s presidential election, there is hardly a more divisive issue than immigration. Earlier this month, President Biden signed an executive order to temporarily limit asylum claims on the southern border, but just two weeks later he announced a citizenship pathway for hundreds of thousands of undocumented spouses. In his speech, he said: ‘I’m not interested in playing politics with the border or immigration; I’m interested in fixing it.’ As he faces accusations of being both too hard and too soft on the issue, will his political gamble pay off? Jonathan Freedland is joined this week by Dara Lind, senior fellow at the American Immigration Council
21/06/2428m 52s

Republicans struggle to respond to Hunter Biden’s conviction

On Tuesday, Hunter Biden was found guilty on all three criminal charges relating to buying a handgun while being a user of crack cocaine. His father – the president – was firm in his support for his son, but also in his belief in the justice system. After Donald Trump was convicted in a New York court last month, rightwing pundits and Republican politicians were lining up to accuse the Biden administration of rigging the justice system for political advantage. Yet now the courts have convicted Biden’s own son. Jonathan Freedland is joined by Susan Glasser of the New Yorker to look at how the right has decided to spin this latest historical conviction.
14/06/2430m 27s

The Alito flag scandal and the supreme court’s ethics problem

Reports surfaced a few weeks ago that the supreme court justice Samuel Alito had flown an upside-down US flag outside his home days after insurrectionists flew similar flags when they stormed the Capitol on 6 January 2021. Alito has blamed his wife, saying he wanted her to take down the flag down after a dispute with neighbours. Democrats want Alito to recuse himself from any supreme court case involving 6 January, but he has refused to do so. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Amanda Marcotte of Salon about whether this latest scandal is proof that the supreme court is incapable of being unbiased
07/06/2424m 41s

Trump guilty on all counts – so what happens next?

Donald Trump has made history again, becoming the first US president, sitting or former, to be a convicted criminal. Late on Thursday a New York jury found him guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying records to cover up a sex scandal. Within minutes of leaving the courtroom, Trump said he would appeal. On a historic night for American politics, Jonathan Freedland and Sam Levine look at what the verdict will mean – both for Trump himself, and for the election in November
30/05/2420m 43s

Who does RFK Jr pose the bigger threat to: Joe Biden or Donald Trump?

Last week it was announced that Donald Trump and Joe Biden would finally hit the debate stage for a rematch. While voters contemplate which of the pair stands to lose more by going head to head, another candidate is working hard to try to join them – Robert F Kennedy Jr. The controversial independent candidate doesn’t even have the backing of his famous political family, but he’s polling nationally stronger than any third-party candidate has in decades. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to political analyst David Corn about which of the two frontrunners should be more worried by RFK Jr’s presidential campaign
24/05/2426m 4s

Donald Trump comes face to face with former fixer Michael Cohen

This week, it was Donald Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen’s turn to take the stand in the hush-money trial in New York. Cohen walked the jury through the steps he says he took to make any potential story that would damage Trump’s image go away, in advance of the 2016 election. The defence is trying to chip away at Cohen’s credibility, to sow seeds of doubt among the jury listening to his testimony. So how did he do? Jonathan Freedland asks former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori what he makes of the prosecution’s star witness so far
15/05/2427m 21s

Stormy Daniels takes the stand in Trump trial

It was the moment Donald Trump was dreading. The former president could only sit and watch as the adult film actor Stormy Daniels told her version of events from an alleged sexual encounter they had in 2006. Prosecutors say that Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen shuttled a $130,000 hush-money payment to Daniels less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential election, to keep her from talking to anyone about her alleged encounter with Trump. So how bad was Daniels’ testimony for the presumptive GOP candidate? Jonathan Freedland and the political commentator Molly Jong-Fast discuss an extraordinary day in a Manhattan courtroom
08/05/2420m 48s

Trump trial update, terrifying Time interview and a Republican dog killer

This week, Donald Trump gave an interview to Time magazine confirming the fears many have about what he would do were he to win back the White House in November. He found time to lay out his vision of a Trump presidency 2.0 despite having to appear in a New York court for a case that this week cost the former president even more money. On top of that, a potential Trump vice-president admitted she killed her puppy, Republicans attempted to remove the party’s House speaker – again – and a wave of Gaza protests took place on US university campuses. Jonathan Freedland and Nikki McCann Ramirez of Rolling Stone magazine discuss what it all means for the 2024 election
03/05/2431m 20s

White House correspondents dinner: is there still space for humour?

The annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner returns this Saturday for a night of comedy ‘roasting’ – where the great and the good are ruthlessly mocked in celebration of the freedom of the press. In recent years, however, the night has taken on a different tone, with the atmosphere of warm self-deprecation and bipartisan bonhomie replaced by something more scathing and serious. This week Jonathan Freedland is joined by Jeff Nussbaum, a former senior speech writer to Joe Biden, to discuss the art of writing gags for presidents and whether there is still space for humour in US politics.
26/04/2426m 7s

Republicans divided over abortion ahead of elections

Last week the Arizona supreme court upheld a law first passed in 1864, which, if it goes into effect, will ban almost all abortions in the state. Democrats were quick to denounce the ruling, but some prominent Republicans were not happy with it either, including Donald Trump. Since the overturning of Roe v Wade nearly two years ago, individual states have had the ability to restrict abortion rights and several have jumped at the chance. This week, Jonathan Freedland and Moira Donegan of Guardian US discuss why Republicans are divided on restrictions they worked so hard to put in place. Why are once staunch supporters of abortion bans wavering? And as November fast approaches, will abortion be the issue that swings the election?
19/04/2427m 48s

How badly has US diplomacy been damaged by the war in Gaza?

Criticism of Israel’s war strategy has been growing in recent months, but last week there was a marked shift in tone from western leaders after seven aid workers were killed by an Israeli strike. The most notable change has come from the US president, Joe Biden, who this week turned on Benjamin Netanyahu, declaring Israel’s approach to the war a ‘mistake’. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to a former negotiator in the Middle East, Aaron David Miller, about whether pressure from within his own party will force Biden to stop supplying arms to the US’s biggest ally in the Middle East, and what the future holds for the relationship between the US and Israel when the war ends
12/04/2426m 49s

Should Biden be worried about losing Black voters to Trump?

Several recent polls have suggested that Donald Trump may be on course to receive more support from Black voters than any Republican presidential nominee in history. Some have argued the polling isn’t representative enough. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the historian and author Leah Wright Rigueur about whether or not Trump can really win over more Black voters than Joe Biden can afford to lose. Or should his main concern be those disaffected voters who don’t turn to Trump, but instead don’t turn out at all, choosing to stay home?
05/04/2430m 21s

Can Bibles, sneakers and social media save Trump from financial ruin?

Donald Trump is embroiled in a balancing act between several criminal and civil trials, which could cost him millions of dollars and potentially even put him behind bars. On top of that, there’s the small issue of a presidential campaign. So the question is: can he afford to do it all? This week Jonathan Freedland speaks to Erica Orden, of Politico, to discuss the highs and lows Trump experienced this week, and whether or not he can raise the money to save himself from bankruptcy
29/03/2426m 42s

America’s ‘news deserts’ and what it means for democracy

In the run-up to this year’s election, President Joe Biden has warned that American democracy is at stake. But when it comes to the democratic process of an entire nation, might the solution be local? In an age of declining print media, losses of local newspapers and journalists are creating ‘news deserts’: areas bereft of a local paper. But does this matter, or is local news just a collection of obituaries and classifieds? Especially when rolling news coverage can be found online? This week, Joan Greve speaks to the journalist and local news campaigner Steven Waldman, who argues that in an election year of increasing polarisation, we need local news more than ever. They will discuss why local journalism is a fundamental part of building communication, scrutiny and trust – and what can be done to save it
22/03/2424m 55s

Can US Congress control the abuse of AI in the 2024 election?

In January, voters in New Hampshire answered a phone call from what sounded like President Joe Biden. What turned out to be an AI-generated robocall caused a stir because it was trying to convince Democratic voters not to turn up to polling stations on election day. In response to this scam, just a couple of weeks later, the US government outlawed robocalls that use voices generated by artificial intelligence. But experts are warning that this story is just one example of why 2024 will be a year of unprecedented election disinformation in the US and around the world. This week, Jonathan Freedland and Rachel Leingang discuss why people are so worried about the influence of artificial intelligence on November’s presidential election, and what politicians can do to catch up
15/03/2426m 27s

Haley finally bows out as Trump and Biden prepare for rematch

Pundits saw it as one of the least exciting Super Tuesdays in American history. Nevertheless, it gave us some answers. Nikki Haley, who surprised everyone by beating Trump in the Vermont primary election decided it wasn’t enough to keep her in the race, and on Wednesday, she dropped out. Despite President Biden and Donald Trump winning easily in most states so far, there is a growing trend that neither camp can ignore - they’re both incredibly unpopular. So who should Americans who are dismayed at the choice they’ve been left turn to now? How will both Biden and Trump learn from their first contest four years ago? And what else did we learn from the other primary contests that created headlines on Tuesday? Jonathan Freedland speaks to conservative columnist Charlie Sykes about who Americans should turn to now that it’s likely Biden v Trump in November
08/03/2427m 21s

The Guardian’s new podcast series about AI: Black Box – prologue

We wanted to bring you this episode from our new series, Black Box. In it, Michael Safi explores seven stories and the thread that ties them together: artificial intelligence. In this prologue, Hannah (not her real name) has met Noah and he has changed her life for the better. So why does she have concerns about him? If you like what you hear, make sure to search and subscribe to Black Box, with new episodes every Monday and Thursday.
02/03/2414m 36s

Mitch McConnell steps down, Donald Trump wins again

Sometimes there are weeks when the news just keeps on coming. This week, the longest-serving US senator, Mitch McConnell, announced he would step down, the US supreme court agreed to take up the claim that Donald Trump has absolute immunity from prosecution in the criminal case over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, Congress avoided another government shutdown and Donald Trump continued his winning streak in the Michigan primary. In some ways, the Republican party is the exact same one we saw get behind Trump in 2016 and then again in 2020, but there are many out there who see major events such as these as proof that it has changed – irreversibly. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the former Republican strategist and legendary political operative Mike Murphy about the state of the party he once served
01/03/2428m 54s

Will Trump abandon Ukraine if he wins in November?

Two years ago this weekend, Russia invaded Ukraine. Two weeks ago, Donald Trump admitted that he would encourage Russia to ‘do whatever the hell they want’ to the US’s Nato allies, if they did not meet Trump’s demand to ‘pay their fair share’ of Nato funding. He also compared himself to the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny when discussing one of his many legal woes. All the while, the military aid package passed by the Senate last week, which includes $60bn for Ukraine, has stalled in the House of Representatives. So how worried should the US’s allies be about a second Trump presidency? What happens if the Republican party’s isolationist streak becomes the policy of the entire US? And in the meantime, how can Biden protect Ukraine when Congress refuses to act? Jonathan Freedland discusses these questions with Susan Glasser of The New Yorker
23/02/2427m 15s

Why do so many Americans believe the Taylor Swift and Joe Biden conspiracy?

Just under a fifth of Americans believe Taylor Swift is part of a conspiracy to help Joe Biden win re-election in November, a new poll found this week. The global pop star has been a regular feature at NFL games since September, when she was first spotted linking arms with the Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Before the Chiefs won the Super Bowl on Sunday, rightwing commentators had suggested the championship was rigged by the Biden administration and Swift was secretly helping in order to sway the election in November. So where did this conspiracy theory come from? Why are conservatives so obsessed with Swift? And did the Biden team do the right thing by jokingly feeding the conspiracy? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Nikki McCann Ramírez of Rolling Stone magazine to try to figure it out
16/02/2432m 47s

Who tanked the border bill?

Illegal immigration via the US-Mexico border remains one of the most pressing problems for Congress. And yet the much anticipated $118bn border security bill, which included aid packages to Ukraine and Israel, was blocked by senators after a chaotic week. Why did this crucial piece of legislation with bipartisan support get rejected by the very people who demanded it? This week, Joan E Greve is joined by Marianna Sotomayor, the congressional reporter for the Washington Post, to discuss why the border bill failed
09/02/2420m 26s

A year on from the East Palestine toxic train derailment, what’s changed?

A year ago on 3 February a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in a small village on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania. A few days after the derailment, officials decided to vent and burn the chemicals it was carrying to prevent an explosion. Those still living in East Palestine and the surrounding communities have been told the air they breathe is safe, but many aren’t confident in what they’re being told. So what led to the derailment? What’s changed in terms of legislation to make sure this kind of accident doesn’t happen again? And how are residents coming together to advocate for their safety and that of fellow Americans in the future? The Guardian’s fossil fuels and climate reporter, Dharna Noor, travelled to East Palestine to see for herself what’s changed in the 12 months since the disaster
02/02/2434m 0s

Haley vows to fight on despite Trump win in New Hampshire

Donald Trump has won the first in the nation primary election in New Hampshire, making it almost inevitable that we’re poised for the first rematch in a general election since 1956. Despite coming in second in a two-person race, Nikki Haley celebrated at her election night event in Concord. So in our final episode of this special three-part series from New Hampshire, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Lauren Gambino and Semafor’s David Weigel about whether or not Haley actually has reason to be positive. Or is she running on hope rather than reason?
24/01/2422m 30s

DeSantis drops out, Trump rallies and Haley brings out Judge Judy

Two days before voters in New Hampshire were due to head to the polls, Ron DeSantis announced he was suspending his campaign to become the presidential nominee for the Republican party. Donald Trump had already focused his attack lines on his remaining opponent, Nikki Haley, but can she pull a shock win out of the bag? Jonathan Freedland heads out on the campaign trail, talking to voters along the way
22/01/2429m 2s

What is the future of the New Hampshire primary?

Residents say the New Hampshire primary was once like a festival coming to town, where voters got to come face to face with big name presidential hopefuls in their living rooms, barns and school gymnasiums. Things are different in 2024. Joe Biden isn’t even on the ballot and there are only three remaining Republican candidates – Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley – who are doing fewer events than ever. Jonathan Freedland talks to Dante Scala of the University of New Hampshire, and James Pindell of the Boston Globe, as well as some longtime voters to try and figure out when it all changed for the Granite state, and whether the festival of civic duty will ever truly come back.
19/01/2424m 47s

Trump wins big in Iowa as Haley and DeSantis fall short

It took just 30 minutes for the Associated Press to project Donald Trump the big winner in Iowa. Trump’s victory was expected, but as the night went on, all eyes were on the real contest – the race for second place. Ron DeSantis came out on top in Iowa, but is projected to fall far behind Nikki Haley in the New Hampshire primary. So what happens now? As the majority of Iowans put their faith in Trump, should we just assume he will be the Republican nominee? Can Haley and DeSantis take any positives away from such a poor showing behind the former president? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Joan E Greve, who spoke to him from a Haley caucus event, about all the potential avenues for the remaining candidates
16/01/2419m 44s

Who benefits as Christie ends presidential bid before Iowa caucus?

Hours before Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis took to the debate stage in Iowa on Wednesday night, more than 1,000 miles away in New Hampshire Chris Christie shocked his supporters by announcing he was dropping out of the race. The former New Jersey governor was the only candidate to consistently attack Donald Trump, in a field of Republicans trying to beat the former president, all the while keeping his base sweet. With only three days until the Iowa caucus, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Elaine Kamarck about who is most likely to come out on top
12/01/2427m 56s

Civil war gaffes and robotic smiles: can anyone beat Trump?

Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, Vivek Ramaswamy and Asa Hutchinson are all still putting on a brave face and trying to convince Republicans they would be a better president than Donald Trump. With the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary fast approaching, polling suggests the odds are against them, but does any campaign have a chance? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Bill Kristol, editor-at-large at the Bulwark
05/01/2430m 19s

Revisited: Al Sharpton on 60 years since the march on Washington

The Politics Weekly America team are taking a break. So this week, we’re looking back at one of our favourite episodes of the year. From August: Jonathan Freedland sits down with Rev Al Sharpton to discuss why he believes Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream’ speech has been abused by some on the right, why he is still fighting for police reform, and how James Brown was so influential on his life
29/12/2340m 1s

Revisited: why do Republicans hate the Barbie movie?

The Politics Weekly America team are taking a break. So for the next two weeks, we’re looking back at a couple of our favourite episodes of the year. From August: Jonathan Freedland and Amanda Marcotte try to figure it out why rightwing politicians and pundits took such a disliking to Barbie, Greta Gerwig’s summer blockbuster. They look at what the outrage can tell us about how the Republicans will campaign in 2024
22/12/2330m 29s

Why did Colorado kick Donald Trump off the ballot?

In a shock decision overnight, the Colorado supreme court ruled that Donald Trump is ineligible to run for the White House again in that state. The 4-3 decision cited a rarely used provision of the US constitution, arguing that Trump should be disqualified for his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. So what does it all mean? Will this historic decision actually prevent Trump from running? Or, like most hurdles the Republican frontrunner faces, will it just bolster his appeal? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Devika Bhat about how this might play out in 2024
20/12/2314m 53s

Would the US survive a second Trump presidency?

Last week, Donald Trump was asked whether he would use power as retribution if he were to win a second term in the White House. The former US president responded that he would in fact abuse his power – but only on his first day in office. He followed up by saying: “After that, I’m not a dictator.” So what would a Trump presidency 2.0 look like? Would a second term be as catastrophic as the critics believe? And what would be the impact of a Trump sequel not only on the US but on the world? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, whose latest issue is dedicated entirely to a single topic: If Trump wins
15/12/2324m 20s

Why are third party candidates a threat to Biden in 2024?

This week, Joe Biden admitted that he probably would not be running for re-election if Donald Trump was not likely to be the Republican candidate. The thoughts of a rehashed presidential race in 2024 has many Americans dreading next year, and some are looking to third-party or independent candidates as potential alternatives. So why hasn’t an outsider been more successful in the past? Is running independently of the Democrat and Republican parties a legitimate offer to voters, or nothing more than an election spoiler? And if the answer is the latter, why should the president be the one to worry? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Nitish Pahwa of Slate about why Democrats are worried that Biden could suffer the same fate as Hilary Clinton in 2016
08/12/2324m 54s

Copping out? Biden skips UN climate conference

The UN’s Cop28 climate conference has kicked off in Dubai this week – but one notable absence will be the US president. Joe Biden pledged to make the fight against climate breakdown one of his top priorities when he took office, and news of his absence from this year’s gathering has frustrated activists. Jonathan Freedland speaks to one such activist, Jerome Foster, who in 2021 became the youngest adviser to the White House when he was asked to sit on its environmental justice advisory council
02/12/2321m 12s

Henry Kissinger and the man who wanted to confront him

Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state under Richard Nixon, died at the age of 100 this week. One of the most famous and powerful diplomats of the 20th century, some will remember him as the person who won a Nobel peace prize for his work negotiating the end of the Vietnam war. For others, he will forever be known as a war criminal. So what is Kissinger’s legacy? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to journalist and author Michael Goldfarb about how Kissinger came to be one of the most powerful people of the 20th century, and why back in the 1970s he had the opportunity to criticise the man to his face – and chose not to. Does he regret staying quiet?
01/12/2327m 38s

Did the assassination of JFK kickstart the conspiracy theory movement?

This week marked 60 years since President John F Kennedy was shot dead as he travelled in the back of a car through the streets of Dallas, Texas. From the moment the news broke, people had their theories about what happened. So why did the assassination of JFK spawn dozens of conspiracy theories that have persisted for decades? Is there a reason why Americans are quick to believe their government is covering something up? And despite multiple examples of when conspiracies turn dangerous, are politicians today, including Kennedy’s own nephew, using conspiracy theories for political gain? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Prof Kathryn Olmsted, author of Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11
24/11/2325m 33s

Will Biden lose voters over response to Israel-Hamas war?

On Wednesday, the UN security council voted to back a resolution calling for a humanitarian pause in Gaza and the release of all the Israeli hostages held by Hamas. The US and the UK abstained on the resolution, saying they could not give their full support because it did not explicitly criticise Hamas. Joe Biden is facing growing calls to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. In a letter presented to him on Tuesday, more than 500 political appointees and staff members criticised the extent of the president’s support for Israel. But what about the communities directly involved? What do Arab-American and Jewish American voters think of Biden’s response since the 7 October attacks? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Dr James Zogby, of the Arab American Institute, and Jodi Rudoren, of The Forward, to discuss it
17/11/2326m 19s

Elections 2023: Republicans lose big on issue of abortion

Tuesday was a big night for the Democrats, with big wins in some unexpected places: Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky. Abortion rights advocates were celebrating, their hopes lifted ahead of next year’s presidential election, despite some gloomy polls for Joe Biden. Republicans, meanwhile, like the presidential candidates who took to the debate stage on Wednesday, are reeling. So what do the results mean for 2024? Should Republicans rethink their message on abortion? And why is it that despite Donald Trump spending the week in court on trial for fraud, it’s Joe Biden who’s suffering in the polls? Jonathan Freedland is joined by Tara Setmayer and Simon Rosenberg to discuss it all.
10/11/2325m 17s

Speaker Johnson, Israel, government shutdown and Virginia

The new speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, faces the tough task of uniting a fractured Republican party, and preventing a quick-approaching government shutdown. Jonathan Freedland and Marianna Sotomayor of the Washington Post discuss what we have learned about his approach to the job from his first week with the gavel. Plus, as we prepare for next week’s off-year elections, Jonathan speaks to Carter Sherman about Virginia – the last remaining southern state without extensive abortion restrictions. They look at why results there could prove pivotal for Republican chances in 2024
03/11/2332m 20s

Will Mitt Romney be remembered as a ‘good Republican’?

Republican Mike Johnson of Louisiana became the 56th speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday. Democrats immediately criticised his support for Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Most Republicans will just be happy the speaker selection debacle is over for now, but there may be some in the party, such Mitt Romney, who wish events had taken a different direction. A senator for Utah, Romney has spent the last few years angering his Trump-supporting colleagues by voting to convict the former president in both of his impeachment trials and speaking out against him on several occasions. He announced he was retiring in September, and this week his biography hits the shelves, detailing his life in politics and how he has fallen out of love with the Republican party of today. Jonathan Freedland talks to McKay Coppins, a staff writer at the Atlantic and author of Romney: A Reckoning.
27/10/2330m 0s

A high-stakes diplomatic mission for Biden

This week, Joe Biden travelled to Israel – becoming the first US president to visit the country at war. He set out to show United States support for Israel, ease the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza, win the freedom of hostages held by Hamas, and prevent a wider regional conflict that might draw in the US. So with stakes this high, how did he perform? And what does this mean for Biden politically? This week Jonathan Freedland is joined by Julian Borger, the Guardian’s world affairs editor, who is in Jerusalem and has been following the trip and the reactions to it.
20/10/2324m 26s

Biden’s foreign policy agenda upended by Israel-Hamas war

In a TV speech on Tuesday Joe Biden pledged unwavering support for Israel after Hamas militants killed hundreds of civilians including US nationals on Saturday. More than 900 people in Gaza have been killed in retaliatory airstrikes by Israel, which has enforced a ‘blockade’ of the area, sealing off 2.3 million people from food, fuel and other supplies. Despite some Democrats calling for de-escalation of the situation, Biden said Israel not only had the right to defend itself, but a ‘duty’ to do so. So how else might the US be able to influence the war? As some at home use this moment to blame Biden, what can his administration do to keep his foreign policy plans on track? This week, Jonathan Freedland is joined by Aaron David Miller – who served for two decades as a state department analyst, negotiator and adviser on Middle East issues – to discuss what the US president should do next
13/10/2320m 54s

US surgeon general on why loneliness threatens democracy

In a public advisory, written back in the summer, Dr Vivek Murthy warned of a growing ‘epidemic of loneliness and isolation’, which he believes is not just destined to affect the physical and mental health of individuals but could end up being detrimental to democracy itself. ‘The nation’s doctor’ speaks to Jonathan Freedland about why some bad faith actors are choosing to manipulate this problem and how political leaders on all sides can address it before it gets worse
06/10/2326m 11s

McCarthy has been ousted as US House speaker. What happens next?

On Tuesday night Kevin McCarthy became the first speaker of the US House of Representatives to be removed from his job. Eight House Republicans joined every Democrat in the chamber to wrest the speaker’s gavel from McCarthy’s hand. For now, McCarthy’s fellow Republican Patrick McHenry of North Carolina is the acting speaker, but the House will most likely vote next week on who will take over permanently. The Guardian US Washington bureau chief, David Smith, joins Jonathan Freedland to discuss the fallout from this unprecedented event, and the various possibilities for McCarthy’s replacement
04/10/2322m 37s

Trump gets done for fraud as GOP candidates vie for attention

Wednesday was debate night for almost all the Republican candidates for the White House, but once again, the man who chose not to turn up was stealing the headlines for yet another legal issue that went against him. Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Nikki Haley and the others had ample opportunity to bring up the fact that a judge in New York ruled that Donald Trump had committed fraud for years while building a real estate empire. But they didn’t focus on that or any of the other court cases set to interrupt his campaign next year. So what did they all have to say? Did they manage to steal any of the limelight? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Bill Kristol, the former chief of staff to the vice-president Dan Quayle and top conservative commentator, to get his take on the Republican field
29/09/2326m 38s

What happens to Ukraine if Biden loses in 2024?

Both Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, and Joe Biden, the US president, reiterated their calls for unity against Russia this week at the UN general assembly in New York. In Washington DC, however, Republicans and Democrats in the House hold very different views on the war – how to help, who to help, and which allies they should team up with to try and bring an end to it all. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Susan Glasser of the New Yorker to talk through a question many in Europe are trying to work out: what happens if Biden loses in 2024?
22/09/2327m 24s

Will Joe Biden be impeached?

Despite an apparent lack of evidence that Joe Biden profited from the business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, announced on Tuesday that he was launching a formal impeachment inquiry into the president. Many suspect he was pushed to make the move to appease some far-right members of the Republican party, who have threatened to tank his deal to avert a government shutdown by the end of the month if he does not meet their list of demands. So, will Joe Biden be impeached? Is this just an act of political revenge for Donald Trump? Could it end up backfiring on McCarthy? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Marianna Sotomayor of the Washington Post about what happens next
15/09/2326m 58s

What was behind Joe Biden’s biggest presidential decisions?

Afghanistan, Ukraine, abortion rights – what was Joe Biden thinking during some of the toughest points of his presidency so far? Who did he rely on for advice? How did his morals play a role? Does he regret anything? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Franklin Foer of the Atlantic about his new book, The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future
08/09/2327m 29s

Will the real Vivek Ramaswamy please stand up?

He’s an entrepreneur, a former libertarian, a lover of rap, and has been labelled ‘Trump 2.0’ by some. He’s also campaigning to be the Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election. So why is he polling well despite angering many? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Charlie Sykes of The Bulwark about Ramaswamy’s credentials, his campaign style and his chances of winning
01/09/2327m 35s

The winners and losers of the first GOP debate

Republican presidential candidates took to the stage this week to try to convince voters they should be the one to take on Joe Biden in 2024. There was one notable exception – but Donald Trump was still inescapable for his opponents. Joan E Greve speaks to the former GOP communications director Tara Setmayer about everyone’s performance on the night, and whether these debates even matter when the missing frontrunner is so far ahead in the polls
25/08/2325m 25s

Georgia takes on Trump and his allies

Until five months ago, no former US president had ever faced criminal charges. As of Monday evening, Donald Trump is facing 91 felony counts. The 97-page indictment handed down by a Fulton county grand jury in Georgia includes 41 criminal counts, 13 of them against Trump. This case may represent the biggest legal peril for Trump to date and it could see him behind bars, no matter who wins the presidential election next year. Joan E Greve and Sam Levine discuss every possible outcome
18/08/2327m 10s

The power of junk food companies in Washington

When and why did so-called food deserts first emerge? How has the fast food industry become so powerful? And despite the growing rate of obesity in the US, why are politicians not stepping in to improve nutrition? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Dr Eduardo J Gómez of Lehigh University, on how his new book Junk Food Politics taught him about the power of lobbyists
11/08/2323m 10s

Al Sharpton on 60 years since the civil rights march on Washington

On 26 August, Rev Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and other civil rights activists will commemorate the 1963 march on Washington, which was organised to advocate for civil and economic rights for African Americans. This week, Jonathan Freedland sits down with Sharpton to discuss why he believes Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream’ speech has been abused by some on the right, why he is still fighting for police reform, and how James Brown was so influential on his life
04/08/2340m 39s

Why do Republicans hate the Barbie movie?

Moviegoers flocked to cinemas last weekend for the highly anticipated release of two of the year’s biggest movies – Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. But conservatives have slated Barbie for being, among other things, too ‘woke’, anti-men and even … Chinese propaganda. Is the outrage real or is it just another example of politics employing a culture war to rally the base? Jonathan Freedland and Amanda Marcotte try to figure it out
28/07/2331m 25s

How would a possible third indictment affect Trump’s 2024 run?

On Tuesday, Donald Trump said he had received a letter suggesting he was about to be indicted by special counsel Jack Smith in connection with the criminal investigation into the Capitol riot on 6 January 2021. It would be his third criminal indictment. Jonathan Freedland asks Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, if the pile of indictments could grow too large even for Trump – and his voters. Plus: who is Glenn Youngkin, the governor of Virginia? If Republicans do decide Trump is too badly damaged, might they turn to him?
21/07/2330m 0s

Will Hunter Biden damage his father’s bid for re-election?

Last month we learned that President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, will plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanour tax crimes and accept a deal with prosecutors related to a separate illegal firearm possession charge. Republicans and rightwing media outlets jumped at the chance to discuss the case, but liberals have been much quieter on the issue. Jonathan Freedland speaks to the Guardian US columnist Margaret Sullivan about why many on the left are quick to analyse the legal woes of the former president, but pay much less attention to the current president’s son
14/07/2328m 29s

How do Democrats fight back against the US supreme court?

As the dust settled on last week’s judgments from the conservative-led bench, progressives voiced their anger at what they see as a lack of determination from the Biden administration to counteract the supreme court and its most extreme decisions. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the Guardian US columnist Moira Donegan about what progressives want Joe Biden to do now
07/07/2332m 25s

Is the US supreme court bad for democracy? – podcast

As this year’s summer session draws to a close, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Michael Waldman, whose new book The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America explains why the court’s decision to put an end to affirmative action in colleges, and recent scandals surrounding conservative justices and their billionaire friends suggest the highest US court could use some ethics training
30/06/2327m 49s

Will Robert F Kennedy Jr cause trouble for Joe Biden?

In April this year, Robert F Kennedy Jr, nephew of former President Kennedy, announced his own bid for the presidency running as a Democrat. Recently, supporters of Joe Biden couldn’t ignore RFK Jr’s headline-grabbing appearances on two controversial podcasts - and the news that among Democrats he has an approval rating of 20%. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks with author and presenter Mehdi Hasan about RFK Jr’s popularity among Republicans and whether Joe Biden should engage with his main rival in the presidential race.
23/06/2330m 3s

Will this latest Trump indictment embolden the Maga base?

On Tuesday, Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to all 37 counts related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents, becoming the first former US president to face federal criminal charges. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to a former Department of Justice prosecutor, Ankush Khardori, about the potential for further political violence in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election as Trump spouts baseless claims against Joe Biden
16/06/2327m 42s

Will too many cooks spoil the Republican broth?

Mike Pence, Chris Christie and Doug Burgum all entered the already large pool of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination this week. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Charlie Sykes of the Bulwark about the new entrants to the Republican presidential contest - and how a new Trump indictment could affect the race.
09/06/2327m 55s

Who won the debt ceiling negotiations?

On Wednesday night the House debated legislation to increase the US debt limit until January 2025, before passing the bill by a vote of 314 to 117, in a rare showing of bipartisan action. It then narrowly passed the Senate late on Thursday night, heading straight to Biden’s desk to sign just days before the 5 June deadline. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the congressional reporter for the Washington Post, Marianna Sotomayor. They discuss whether Biden and McCarthy are right to see this as a win, or have they failed by simply giving into the demands of the other side
02/06/2327m 16s

Will Republicans get behind Tim Scott?

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina formally launched his presidential campaign on Monday, throwing his hat into the Republican ring. Scott leans heavily into his Christian identity and has vowed to sign legislation if he becomes president that would endear himself to conservatives, but his chances of success appear slim. Yet he’s decided to present a more optimistic view of the US in his campaign – an opposing tactic to most Republicans, including his main challenger … Donald Trump. This week Jonathan Freedland speaks to political historian Leah Wright Rigueur and politics reporter for The State Joseph Bustos about Scott’s chances of rallying the Republican base
26/05/2329m 23s

Is Ron DeSantis failing before he’s even started?

This week, Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that would exempt him from Florida’s ‘resign-to-run’ law, so he won’t have to give up his office in order to run for president. He also continued his attack on teachers, signing into law a ban on the state’s public colleges and universities from spending money on diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Democratic state senator Shevrin Jones, the first LGBTQ+ black person to serve in the Florida legislature about the likelihood of a DeSantis run in 2024. Plus, teacher Don Falls explains why he’s suing the governor over the Stop-Woke Act
19/05/2335m 17s

How should the media cover sexual predator Trump?

On Tuesday, a jury in New York found that the former president Donald Trump sexually abused magazine writer E Jean Carroll in the 1990s and then defamed her by branding her a liar. On Wednesday, Trump made the same baseless claims about Carroll that led to him losing the case – this time, live on CNN to millions of viewers. This week, Jonathan Freedland talks to Guardian US columnist Margaret Sullivan about the fallout from the E Jean Carroll case. The pair discuss how the media should cover a 2024 presidential candidate who has been impeached twice, indicted by a federal court, and who is now legally defined as a sexual predator
12/05/2327m 47s

What can the White House do to free Evan Gershkovich?

At the end of March, Russian authorities arrested Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, on espionage charges. He is still in a Moscow prison more than a month later, and at the weekend President Biden promised he was ‘working like hell’ to bring Gershkovich, and others detained in Russia, home. This week Jonathan Freedland speaks to Polina Ivanova, a reporter for the Financial Times and friend of Gershkovich’s, who breaks down the politics behind his detention
05/05/2329m 0s

As one door opens for Biden, another shuts on Carlson

Joe Biden finally launched his much anticipated re-election bid for 2024 this week. For the next year, news networks will cover extensively his campaign, and those of candidates running against him, but there will be an interesting shift in who exactly will be leading that coverage. In surprise news anchor exits, Tucker Carlson was fired from Fox News and Don Lemon from CNN, and there are rumours that Carlson might even run for president himself. Jonathan Freedland is joined by the political analyst and pollster Cornell Belcher to discuss the headlines from a big week in US politics
28/04/2327m 55s

Who profits from blood plasma donations in the US? Politics Weekly America podcast

Kathleen McLaughlin has a rare chronic illness and needs regular treatments using people’s blood plasma. She started researching the US blood plasma industry a decade ago and has written a book, Blood Money, about what it says about class, race and inequality. This week, she speaks to Joan E Greve about what she’s learned about the for-profit blood plasma industry • How to listen to podcasts: everything you need to know
21/04/2320m 42s

Will Republicans regret taking on the ‘Tennessee Three’? Politics Weekly America podcast

Lauren Gambino is joined by Becca Andrews in Nashville to discuss why the ousting of two Democratic lawmakers from the state Capitol in Nashville last week sparked outrage across the US
14/04/2319m 54s

The man who connected Bill Clinton and Gerry Adams: Politics Weekly America podcast

Next week, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton will arrive in Northern Ireland to join commemorations of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement. Clinton is now celebrated as one of the key players behind the agreement, but he didn’t do it alone. It took years of background efforts – of secret meetings, discreet lobbying and high-risk shadow diplomacy, by people whose names we’ve never known – to convince the United States to get involved. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to one of those people, Niall O’Dowd, who tells the extraordinary story of how he built a secret channel between Clinton and the Irish republican movement
07/04/2331m 38s

Trump’s day of reckoning in New York: Politics Weekly America podcast

On Tuesday, Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying business records for alleged hush money payments made during the 2016 presidential election. Joan E Greve speaks to the New York editor for Politico, Julia Marsh, amid a busy week for Manhattan
05/04/2317m 15s

Will Wisconsin decide who wins in 2024? Politics Weekly America podcast

Voters in the swing state Wisconsin will head to the polls on 4 April to determine who will replace Justice Patience Roggensack on the state supreme court. It is down to the final two – a liberal and a conservative – and the outcome will determine majority control of the court for at least the next two years, including during the presidential election in 2024. It is expected to be the most expensive election of its kind in history. Joan E Greve speaks to Alice Herman and Sam Levine about what is at stake
31/03/2320m 35s

Trump stays out of handcuffs – for now: Politics Weekly America podcast

Last weekend, Donald Trump predicted he would be arrested. This has yet to happen. So why did he bring attention to a hush money case that could put him in handcuffs soon? Jonathan Freedland and Hugo Lowell discuss why Donald Trump might still face criminal charges next week, and why it might actually benefit his campaign
24/03/2327m 51s

Why did liberals push for the Iraq war? Politics Weekly America podcast

Twenty years ago, as George Bush and Tony Blair advocated the need to invade Iraq, Jonathan Freedland and Peter Beinart were on opposite sides of the argument. This week, Peter tells Jonathan why he now regrets supporting the war
17/03/2339m 43s

Will Joe Biden run again? Politics Weekly America podcast

Reports suggest Joe Biden will announce his intention to run for a second term in the White House in 2024. Jonathan Freedland and Robert Reich discuss whether or not he is the best candidate the Democrats can put forward
10/03/2328m 28s

Scandal grips this year’s CPAC event: Politics Weekly America podcast

Jonathan Freedland and Tara Setmayer discuss why some high profile Republicans – and even Fox News – are avoiding this year’s gathering at the Conservative Political Action Conference
03/03/2325m 54s

Why are Republicans using Biden’s Kyiv trip against him? Politics Weekly America

This week marks one year since Russian troops invaded Ukraine, and for the first time since the war began, Joe Biden landed in Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian president, Volodymr Zelenskiy, in what some are calling one of the most important trips by a US president since the end of the cold war. This week, Joan E Greve speaks to Susan Glasser of the New Yorker about the significance of Biden’s trip to Europe and why Republicans at home are criticising him for it
24/02/2326m 58s

Spy balloons, UFOs and a standoff with China: Politics Weekly America

This week, Jonathan Freedland and Julian Borger look into why a story about spy balloons launched by China quickly led to the White House having to deny the existence of aliens, and how communication on this could further deepen the wedge between the US and China
17/02/2328m 20s

Biden shakes up Democrats’ primary calendar: Politics Weekly America podcast

Last weekend, members of the Democratic National Committee voted through a plan to reshuffle the party’s presidential primary calendar, meaning voters in South Carolina will pick their candidate first, bumping Iowa and New Hampshire off top spot. This was done at the behest of Joe Biden. So why did he want to shake things up? Jonathan Freedland is joined by Adam Gabbatt, Holly Ramer in New Hampshire and Joseph Bustos in South Carolina to discuss the ramifications of messing with political tradition
10/02/2333m 33s

Congress struggles with police reform: Politics Weekly America podcast

While attending the funeral of Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old man beaten to death by police in Memphis, Tennessee, this week, Kamala Harris called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed in the House in 2021 but failed in the Senate. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Dr David Thomas, of Florida Gulf Coast University, about why lawmakers find police reform a difficult issue to legislate on
03/02/2323m 36s

The 2024 senate race in California kicks off: Politics Weekly America podcast

Two weeks ago, the congresswoman Katie Porter announced she was running to be one of California’s two senators, despite the fact that the incumbent, Dianne Feinstein, has yet to say she is retiring. After the presidential primary, California is expected to be the most interesting race in 2024. Jonathan Freedland and Tal Kopan of the Boston Globe discuss which way the largely blue state could vote
27/01/2326m 30s

Confidential files found with Biden’s Corvette – Politics Weekly America podcast

Last week, the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, appointed a special counsel to investigate how several batches of classified documents were reportedly found at locations linked to President Biden. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Ankush Khardori, who worked in the US Department of Justice from 2016 to 2020, about what the outcome to this investigation may be
20/01/2323m 59s

Can George Santos outrun his lies? Politics Weekly America

Last week, the much-talked-about George Santos, of Long Island, New York, was sworn into office. The Democrats and even some Republicans think he should have resigned after he admitted to lying about a lot of things during his campaign. So who is the real George Santos? How likely is it that he’ll see out his full term in office? And does his success tell us more about the state of US politics than it does an individual’s misgivings? Jonathan Freedland and Will Bredderman of the Daily Beast discuss the man behind the lies
13/01/2329m 31s

Kevin McCarthy faces mutiny over speakership: Politics Weekly America podcast

Everyone knew that this week was going to be tough for Kevin McCarthy, but not even Democrats could have hoped for such a humiliating few days for the Republican nominee to be speaker of the House of Representatives. Jonathan Freedland and Lauren Gambino discuss what unfolded on Capitol Hill
06/01/2330m 6s

Revisited … Jennifer Senior on Steve Bannon: Politics Weekly America podcast

Politics Weekly America is taking a break. So this week, Jonathan Freedland revisits the conversation he had in July, with writer for The Atlantic, Jennifer Senior, about the former White House chief strategist under Donald Trump, Steve Bannon
30/12/2229m 39s

Revisited – Jon Ronson on Alex Jones: Politics Weekly America podcast

Politics Weekly America is taking a break. So this week, Jonathan Freedland revisits the conversation he had in April with the journalist and film-maker Jon Ronson about the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones
23/12/2223m 3s

Trump should face criminal charges, January 6 panel concludes: Politics Weekly America

On Monday, the House January 6 select committee held its final meeting, voting to formally adopt the report it had been working on for the last 18 months, referring the former president and some of his top advisers to the justice department for efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Hugo Lowell about what the committee found and what is likely to happen next
20/12/2222m 43s

Can Republicans come back from the extreme in 2023? Politics Weekly America podcast

As 2022 draws to a close, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Simon Rosenberg and Sarah Longwell about their predictions for how US politics will shake out in 2023. Can the Democrats capitalise on a weary electorate, can the Republicans finally get rid of the spectre of Donald Trump, and who will announce their intention to run in 2024?
16/12/2233m 54s

Why 51 is better than 50 in the Senate: Politics Weekly America podcast

Raphael Warnock was re-elected to represent Georgia in the US Senate for the next six years. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Molly Reynolds of the Brookings Institution about the significance for Democrats of having an absolute majority in the upper chamber of Congress, rather than a 50/50 split
09/12/2227m 10s

10 years since Sandy Hook – what’s changed? Politics Weekly America special

On 14 December it will be 10 years since the Sandy Hook elementary school mass shooting, when a 20-year-old killed 20 children aged six and seven, as well as six adults. The Guardian’s Joan E Greve travelled to Newtown, Connecticut to speak with Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden of Sandy Hook Promise, the parents of Dylan and Daniel, who were killed that day. She meets teenagers from the Junior Newtown Action Alliance, who now go through terrifying lockdown drills as preparation for another shooting, who want to see more change in gun legislation. She also speaks with Senator Chris Murphy, who helped draft the first significant gun control policy in the US in 30 years this year. Together they discuss what more could and should be done to stop such tragedies
02/12/2244m 39s

Who’s really in charge of the House of Representatives? Politics Weekly America

There was no red wave, but come January next year, the Republicans will officially be in control of the House of Representatives. What will they do? Who will be in charge? Will they hold together or fall apart? Jonathan Freedland puts these questions and more to Marianna Sotomayor of The Washington Post. The pair also discuss the legacy of the outgoing Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi
25/11/2226m 58s

Trump re-enters the battleground for the presidency: Politics Weekly America

Donald Trump has announced his third run for president, and not all Republicans are happy about it. Not only have there been a string of midterm losses by candidates he handpicked and supported – but in the background, federal and state authorities are investigating Trump’s personal, political and financial conduct. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the political columnist Jonathan Martin of Politico and unpacks how the Republican party can finally break away from Trump’s legacy
16/11/2224m 11s

Trump quiet as Democrats pull off surprise boost: Politics Weekly America midterms special

Republicans will be wondering how polling got it so wrong. As John Fetterman wins that all-important Pennsylvania seat and Democrats keeps more seats in the House than expected, it is clear the former president doesn’t have the pull analysts once thought. Donald Trump faces another problem, a party rival in Florida king, Ron DeSantis. Jonathan Freedland is joined by Lauren Gambino, Tara Setmayer and David Shor to discuss the ramifications for Washington and beyond of what the votes are telling us
09/11/2231m 49s

No sign of the red wave – yet: Politics Weekly America midterms special

As the votes continue to be counted, Jonathan Freedland is joined by Joan E Greve, columnist Richard Wolffe, and Chris Scott of Democracy for America, to look at what we know so far.
09/11/2238m 29s

Pennsylvania proves the final battleground: Politics Weekly America midterms special

It’s a tale of two cities for Jonathan Freedland, as he attends a Donald Trump rally in Pittsburgh, where he speaks to voters who want the former president to run again, and then heads to Philadelphia to talk to young voters who turn out for an unlikely icon, the 81-year-old Bernie Sanders
07/11/2232m 56s

The fight for blue collar voters in Ohio: Politics Weekly America midterms special

In the second episode of our special series, Jonathan Freedland travels to Youngstown, Ohio, to see who voters are more excited by in the state’s crucial Senate race - the Trump-backed Republican, JD Vance, or the Democrat Tim Ryan, who analysts say is running one of the best campaigns in the country. He heads to Cleveland to talk to a union leader about who workers want to win, and then to a Vance event with other prominent Republicans.
04/11/2229m 23s

Georgia fights for democracy – Politics Weekly America Midterms Special

Jonathan Freedland travels around the state of Georgia, a state that gave Democrats the Senate at the start of 2021. He follows Stacey Abrams and Herschel Walker, talking to their voters along the way. He also sits down with the co-founder of Black Voters Matter, LaTosha Brown, about why this election is about more than any one candidate
02/11/2232m 26s

Is a red wave about to touch down on US shores? Politics Weekly America

With less than two weeks to go before the November midterm elections, analysts are working overtime to try to predict the outcome. Will Republicans manage to take both the House and the Senate from the Democrats? Will the overturning of Roe v Wade be the catalyst that brings new Democrats to the polls? Is Donald Trump really as influential in the GOP as he thinks he is? This week, Jonathan Freedland and Joan E Greve bring us the latest on the races to watch, the candidates to pay attention to and the issues dominating the campaigns
28/10/2229m 37s

Social media giants struggle to tackle misinformation: Politics Weekly America

This week, Jonathan Freedland and Anya van Wagtendonk look at how misinformation could affect the outcome of the midterm elections in November and how tech platforms and lawmakers should be doing more to help stem the erosion of voter confidence in American democracy
21/10/2231m 13s

Why Nevada will prove crucial in November: Politics Weekly America

There is a source of worry for the Democrats coming from the west of the country – Nevada. A state previously considered pretty blue is showing some signs of turning red, and Republicans are hoping to pounce. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Jon Ralston of the Nevada Independent about why Nevada could prove fatal to the Democrats if it flips red in November
14/10/2227m 45s

The man who thinks Democrats could win big in November: Politics Weekly America

With just over a month to go until the midterm elections, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg about why he has been confident for a lot longer than others that a red wave isn’t about to happen, and that a blue wave might well be
07/10/2225m 12s

Republicans playing the migration card: Politics Weekly America

Ana Ceballos, a political reporter for the Miami Herald, tells Jonathan Freedland about the Republican party’s attempts to dramatise the question of migration ahead of November’s midterm elections
30/09/2231m 8s

A new generation of voters empowered by Roe: Politics Weekly America

Poppy Noor has been looking into how the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade back in June might influence midterm elections this November. She tells Jonathan Freedland that after Kansas voters chose to keep abortion legal in their state in a surprise result last month, she spoke to three people in Michigan about why they’re canvassing to get more voters registered before a similar ballot on reproductive rights.
23/09/2227m 1s

Why Biden blames Trump’s MAGA as a threat to democracy: Politics Weekly America

After Joe Biden delivered a landmark speech a couple of weeks ago warning that the extremism of Donald Trump’s Republican supporters now threatened the country’s democratic foundations, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the journalist Luke Mogelson, who has written a book chronicling the transformation of America in the run-up to January 6
16/09/2224m 38s

The Queen’s relationship with US presidents: Politics Weekly America special

Jonathan Freedland speaks to the former senior adviser to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, about some of Queen Elizabeth II’s most poignant encounters with the 13 US presidents she met during her reign, and why King Charles III needs to keep that ‘special relationship’ intact Death of the Queen and King Charles’s accession - latest updates
13/09/2223m 27s

From Today in Focus: the life and death of Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen has died aged 96 at her Scottish home of Balmoral. The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland introduces this special episode of Today in Focus, with Nosheen Iqbal speaking to Polly Toynbee about the Queen’s life
09/09/2231m 40s

Leon Panetta on the Afghanistan withdrawal, a year on: Politics Weekly America podcast

A year ago, American troops withdrew from Afghanistan after a 20-year war. The Taliban quickly returned to power and the country has since experienced famine, economic collapse and a widespread erosion of women’s rights. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the former US defense secretary Leon Panetta, who was at the heart of the Obama administration’s Afghanistan policy, about what he thinks of the Afghan withdrawal and what the future holds for Joe Biden and the Democrats
02/09/2230m 17s

Is Trump back in Murdoch’s good books? Politics Weekly America

At the end of July, it was reported that Fox News and other publications owned by Rupert Murdoch were starting to abandon their extensive coverage of Donald Trump. However, after the FBI launched an unprecedented raid on his Mar-a-Lago home as part of an investigation into Trump’s potentially unlawful removal of White House records when he left office, the former president was back to getting some favourable coverage, at least on Fox News. This week, Joan E Greve speaks to former Republican congressional communications director Tara Setmayer about how in the long term, this ongoing scandal could be beneficial to Trump
26/08/2222m 38s

What does the future hold for Liz Cheney? Politics Weekly America

This week, Joan E Greve speaks to the former chair of Republican National Committee Michael Steele about the defeat of Liz Cheney in the Wyoming primary, the state of the GOP after she leaves and why Donald Trump should fear what she does next
19/08/2220m 43s

Democrats celebrate ‘historic’ climate bill: Politics Weekly America

As the Inflation Reduction Act heads to the House floor, many Democrats are hoping the landmark legislation to tackle the climate crisis, which passed in the Senate last week, will result in more votes in the November midterm elections. Some experts aren’t convinced the bill goes far enough. Joan E Greve speaks to Leah Stokes, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, about what the bill – if passed into law – will mean for Americans, and for the planet
12/08/2221m 54s

A huge week for US foreign policy: Politics Weekly America

This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the former US assistant secretary of state Philip Crowley about what events in Taiwan and Kabul tell us about President Biden’s foreign policy strategy
05/08/2226m 39s

Why does an ageing Congress spell trouble for the Democrats? Politics Weekly America

Frustration is mounting about the Democrats’ elderly incumbents, as well as a growing sense that the party is so close to losing control of at least one chamber of Congress
29/07/2224m 48s

Is Bannon on course to destroy democracy? Politics Weekly America

As the former White House chief strategist appears in court charged with contempt of Congress, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Jennifer Senior, of the Atlantic, about the man behind the conspiracy theories. Is Bannon more than just a far-right provocateur?
22/07/2229m 41s

Why Republicans are backing a controversial former NFL star

Last week, we learned that Herschel Walker, who’s the Republican nominee for a Senate seat in Georgia, lied to his own campaign team about how many children he had. This is not his only misstep, but the longtime friend of Donald Trump continues to have the support of Georgia Republicans. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Roger Sollenberger of the Daily Beast about why Walker might prove a fatal blow for the GOP in November’s midterm elections
15/07/2224m 4s

Migrant deaths show Biden needs to change immigration policy: Politics Weekly America

At the end of June, authorities in San Antonio, Texas, opened the back of an abandoned truck to find the bodies of more than 50 migrants inside – people who had made the journey across the southern border in extreme heat. The news led to scrutiny, from all sides, of the Biden administration’s approach to immigration, with Republicans saying it was too weak and Democrats, too harsh. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Silvia Rodriguez Vega and Pedro Gerson about the steps the US government could take to prevent further deaths at the border
08/07/2227m 9s

Americans lose faith in the US supreme court: Politics Weekly America

The US supreme court has struck down the constitutional right to an abortion, one of several landmark decisions that will affect the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come. Jonathan Freedland and Jill Filipovic discuss whether it’s still possible for a deeply divided court of nine judges, a group that now has a 6-3 conservative majority, to keep the promise to the American people of ‘equal protection’, and what happens if it can’t
01/07/2225m 1s

What the January 6 hearings have told us: Politics Weekly America

We learned this week that the public hearings held by the January 6 select committee would be extended into July. The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell tells Jonathan Freedland what we’ve learned so far, why they need more time and what happens next
24/06/2222m 31s

What does ‘Watergate’ teach us 50 years on?: Politics Weekly America

50 years ago, police in Washington DC arrested five men for breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. What followed was the unravelling of a web of scandals that ultimately ended Richard Nixon’s presidency. What can today’s January 6 hearings learn from Watergate? And had it happened in today’s political climate, would it have played out the way it did? Jonathan Freedland speaks with Garrett M. Graff, journalist and author of Watergate: A New History
17/06/2226m 53s

A celebrity heart surgeon wins in Pennsylvania, what next? Politics Weekly America

Dr Mehmet Öz is the Republican nominee for the Pennsylvania Senate race, which will take place in November. Up against him is another interesting character in John Fetterman. Both see themselves as political outsiders, but who will win this important swing state in the midterms? Jonathan Freedland puts this to politics reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer Julia Terruso
10/06/2228m 11s

Biden’s dilemma over supporting Ukraine: Politics Weekly America

This week, Joe Biden confirmed he will send more advanced rocket systems to Kyiv. As Russian troops continue their assault on the Donbas region in the east of the country, Joan E Greve talks to Susan Glasser of the New Yorker about what the future holds for US support to Ukraine.
03/06/2225m 21s

Texas school shooting overshadows primaries: Politics Weekly America

The killing of at least 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in the town of Uvalde on Tuesday has reignited the gun control debate in the US. Jonathan Freedland speaks to the chief correspondent for the Washington Post, Dan Balz, about why, after yet another tragedy involving firearms, the Republican party is still unwilling to talk gun reform
27/05/2227m 11s

Will Republicans drop the Great Replacement Theory? Politics Weekly America

In a week when a teenager shot dead 10 Black people in Buffalo New York, apparently motivated by the ‘great replacement’ theory, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Michael Harriot and Anne Applebaum about why this racist ideology has become mainstream in rightwing circles in the US, and why we shouldn’t be surprised
20/05/2236m 22s

How senior GOP figures tried to oust Trump: Politics Weekly America podcast

This week Jonathan Freedland speaks to Jonathan Martin of the New York Times after the publication of his new book This Will Not Pass and what he and his co-author Alexander Burns unearthed about events behind the scenes in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, why all is not well for the Biden administration, and what all of this says for the future of the two-party system
13/05/2227m 6s

Is Biden willing to go against the supreme court to save Roe v Wade? Politics Weekly America

According to a draft majority opinion published by Politico this week, the US supreme court has voted to overturn Roe v Wade in the clearest sign yet that the constitutional right to abortion will probably be taken away from millions of Americans very soon. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Moira Donegan about what it will take to stop the majority conservative bench, whether Democrats are willing to pull rank, and if they don’t, whether it is even accurate to call the US the land of the free
06/05/2230m 8s

Jon Ronson on the fall of Alex Jones: Politics Weekly America

A couple of weeks ago, the far-right website InfoWars filed for bankruptcy. Its founder, Alex Jones, is facing multiple compensation claims brought by parents of victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, an event Jones previously told his followers was a hoax.Documentary maker Jon Ronson has followed Jones’ career from the very beginning. This week, Jonathan Freedland asks him for his take on the fall of one of America’s most famous conspiracy theorists
29/04/2223m 16s

What caused the rise of anti-Asian hate crime in the US? Politics Weekly America

Last year, President Biden signed the anti-Asian hate crimes bill into law. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Prof Claire Kim of UCI about what’s behind the recent rise in anti-Asian hate in America, why this is an issue both sides of Congress can actually agree on, and what influence Asian-American voters could have in the midterms and in 2024
22/04/2224m 58s

Can theatre predict 2024’s US election? Politics Weekly America

Playwright Mike Bartlett prophesies a Donald Trump v Kamala Harris showdown against a backdrop of rolling violence
15/04/2225m 34s

Does the White House have a communication problem? Politics Weekly America podcast

Recent reports suggest the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, is leaving her role to become a political commentator. This comes after the press team went into crisis control mode when President Joe Biden went off script in talking about Vladimir Putin. The polls show Biden is still proving unpopular with voters. This week, Jonathan Freedland and Bill Clinton’s former adviser Paul Begala discuss what the team behind Biden can do to change the narrative
08/04/2223m 32s

Why are Republican Senators flirting with QAnon conspiracies? Politics Weekly America podcast

During the Senate confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nomination for Supreme Court justice, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was repeatedly asked about an unfounded claim that originated in the QAnon community. Joan E Greve and Alex Kaplan of Media Matters look at why some in the GOP are turning to a far-right extremist group for attack lines.
01/04/2221m 50s

Can Ron DeSantis out-Trump Donald Trump? Politics Weekly podcast

Florida’s governor seems to relish addressing whatever culture war is raging. He might have learned a thing or two from his former backer, Donald Trump. If the polls are right, the two might end up fighting against each other in the Republican primaries for the 2024 presidential election. So who is DeSantis, and what are his chances? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald and Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics to learn more about him.
25/03/2225m 43s

Why are House Democrats leaving Congress in a midterm year? Politics Weekly America

This week, Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed Congress, thanking them for their support so far, but imploring them to do more. He spoke to Joe Biden directly, as it seems it’s the White House, not Congress, that is hesitant about provoking Russia further. How the US responds to the war in Ukraine will influence voters at home when midterm elections take place in November. It will be a tough campaign for Biden, and yet many Democrats are retiring from the House instead of fighting for their seat. Jonathan Freedland speaks to one of the Democrats choosing to retire. Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence shares her thoughts on the war in Ukraine, why she chose to leave office, and who in the Republican party worries her the most for 2024.
18/03/2223m 11s

Is Putin proving the need for Western power? Politics Weekly America

This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Dr Shadi Hamid about why Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could spark thought for anti-imperialists who question American power.
11/03/2230m 15s

Ukraine exposes fault lines in Washington: Politics Weekly America

Retired Lt Col Alexander Vindman testified in front of Congress that he heard Donald Trump ask President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens. Trump was later impeached, and Vindman vilified by Republicans. In a week that saw President Biden give his State of the Union address, and Russia continue its invasion of Ukraine, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Vindman about his thoughts on how this war is informing the actions of American lawmakers
04/03/2223m 52s

Biden and the west respond to Putin’s invasion: Politics Weekly America

In a historic week for Ukraine, Europe and the world, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Ivo Daalder, the former US ambassador to Nato, about how Biden is responding, and why – for the Ukrainians – it’s too late
25/02/2223m 8s

Coming 25 February: Politics Weekly America

Get ready for Politics Weekly America. Every Friday, Guardian columnist and former Washington correspondent Jonathan Freedland invites experts to help analyse the latest in US politics. From politicians to journalists covering the White House and beyond, Jonathan and his guests give listeners behind the scenes access to how the US political machine works Subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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