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The Axe Files with David Axelrod

The Axe Files with David Axelrod

The Institute of Politics & CNN

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.

740 - Ep. 584 – Evgenia Kara-Murza
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  • 740 - Ep. 584 – Evgenia Kara-Murza

    Evgenia Kara-Murza did not intend to become a public figure. But that all changed after her husband, Russian political opposition leader and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza, was arrested in Moscow in 2022. With Vladimir now serving a 25-year sentence in a Siberian prison, Evgenia has taken up his mission, advocating for the freedom of political prisoners and a democratic Russia. She joined David to talk about growing up during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Putin’s regime in Russia, the war in Ukraine, and why she won’t give up on fighting for her husband. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Thu, 20 Jun 2024
  • 739 - Mayor Mike Duggan

    From darkened streetlights and abandoned homes to pervasive graffiti and long waits for emergency services, Mayor Mike Duggan inherited a Detroit rife with problems, but also potential. Since he took office in 2014, Mayor Duggan has helmed a turnaround for the city, overseeing rising standards of living and significant economic growth. Mayor Duggan joined David at the newly re-opened Michigan Central to talk about the revitalization of Detroit, how Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer would fare as a presidential candidate, and the deeply felt ramifications of the Israel-Gaza war in his home state. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Thu, 13 Jun 2024
  • 738 - Ep. 582 - Leon Panetta

    When Leon Panetta was growing up in Monterey, California, his Italian immigrant parents often invited soldiers training at nearby Fort Ord to holiday dinners before they shipped out to World War Two battlegrounds. Later, as Secretary of Defense, Panetta’s thoughts returned to those service members when deploying young men and women to war. He sat down with David to talk about his long political career, his thoughts on the war in Ukraine, the intelligence lapse around the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and what Israel is doing wrong in its fight against Hamas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Thu, 06 Jun 2024
  • 737 - Best of The Axe Files: Bill Walton

    Bill Walton, one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history and former basketball announcer, died this week. David talked with Bill back in 2016 about leadership, what he learned playing for John Wooden at UCLA, how his back troubles nearly drove him to suicide, his love of the Grateful Dead, and much more. We revisit that conversation this week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Thu, 30 May 2024
  • 736 - Ep. 581 — George Stephanopoulos

    Originally built in just two weeks for $30,000, the White House Situation Room has been the nerve center during some of history’s most seismic events, from the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, to the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. In his new book, “The Situation Room: The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis,” George Stephanopoulos chronicles 60 years of American politics through spotlighting the historic room. George joined David onstage at the Chicago Humanities Festival to talk about his time working in the White House, how failed missions hashed out in the Situation Room informed future presidencies, and the responsibility of the media in covering Donald Trump in the 2024 election. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Thu, 23 May 2024
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