Talking Feds

News & Politics Podcasts

TALKING FEDS is a roundtable discussion that brings together prominent former government officials, journalists, and special guests for a dynamic and in-depth analysis of the most pressing questions in law and politics.


United States


TALKING FEDS is a roundtable discussion that brings together prominent former government officials, journalists, and special guests for a dynamic and in-depth analysis of the most pressing questions in law and politics.






Groundhog Day in Washington

It was a week when the new Republican majority in the House showed its colors. Speaker McCarthy announced committee assignments that empowered some of the country’s most unhinged political figures and a committee structure featuring a special committee on the weaponization of government that promised a steady stream of vitriolic battles with the White House and executive branch. David Frum, Kavita Patel, & Michael Schmidt join Harry to break it all down, plus Pence docs, Barr Durham, and...


DOJ Confidential

Perhaps our most lively and informative repeating series of episodes is the quarterly deep dive into the DOJ from 3 analysts who know the Department inside and out: Katie Benner, Matt Miller, and Andrew Weissmann. This week is the latest one and in the nick of time: there has been detailed factual coverage of the Biden docs, Garland’s appointment of Hur, Smith investigations, the House lying in wait to afflict the DOJ. Now it’s time to dig deep into what’s happening beneath the surface. See...


Special (Counsel) Effects

Divided government comes to DC and the gloves are off, 3 of the country’s most prominent analysts of the ways of Congress and DC—Jackie Alemany, Luke Broadwter, and Norm Ornstein, join Harry to break it down. The discovery of classified documents in Biden’s office & residence forced the hand of Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel. In the House, Kevin McCarthy & his far-right allies pushed through a rules package that augured a steady stream of investigations & a potential debt...


Speaker Squeaker

The longest speaker battle since the Civil War played out in a slow-motion humiliation of Kevin McCarthy, who offered repeated concessions to the Freedom Caucus before finally mustering a majority of votes. A stellar set of guests – Gloria Borger, Jonathan Capeheart, and Robert Costa–breaks down the battle and its aftermath. They then turn to the 2-year anniversary of Jan 6, discussing what need happen to the Republican party before the country can fully shed the toxic effects of Trump’s...


Special Year-End Episode: How Will We Go Down in History?

A special topical episode with 3 of the country’s most eminent historians & social critics–Eric Foner, Eddie Glaude, and Heather Cox Richardson. The group first discusses the degree to which our tempestuous period resembles prior flirtations with authoritarianism. We broaden the focus to those features of our democracy that expose us to the menaces of Trumpism and a critical examination of whether the yin & yang of our political system condemn us to repetitions of the struggles of recent...


The Very Model of a Modern Mayor

This special topical episode focuses on municipal government, and the mayors who exercise it, featuring 3 of the country’s most distinguished recent mayors. The last few years have been a crash course in federal and state power. But it’s at the municipal level that the potholes and garbage pickups hit the road and an American ideal of representative democracy can be most directly achieved. And in recent years, many mayors have dramatically expanded their roles into issues of global...


Referral Madness

It’s the last days of the year, & 4 separate govt hubs are in overdrive: the January 6 Committee, finalizing its report & referrals; the lame duck Congress, w/ important final legislation such as the Electoral Count act; the Republican caucus, full of intrigue over whether Kevin McCarthy can squeak into the Speakership; & the DOJ, where investigations of Trump continue to pick up steam. A great set of DC insiders–Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, Norm Eisen, and Ali Vitali—brings it all...


Supreme Contortions

A week of high-profile critical developments for Trump, the Supreme Court, the DOJ, and Congress. A phenomenal group of expert commentators—Emily Bazelon, Prof Laurence Tribe, and Sen Sheldon Whitehouse—joins Harry to break it all down. They begin with lessons from Georgia Senate runoff; go on to Supreme Court argument in Moore v Harper, which carries the potential to upend democratic rule itself; and finish by discussing the most serious of the many grave legal threats confronting Donald...


Oath Keepers and House Speakers

A great trio of prominent commentators–Katie Benner, Aaron Blake, and George Conway–join Harry to break down a very good week for the rule of law joined with a rockier one on the political and social landscapes. The roundtable covers the broader legal and political importance of the Oath trial; the strongest of the many legal threats against Trump, the end game for J6C; & possible moves of the lame duck Congress to batten down the hatches before the coming storms of Republican rule in the...


Public Education in Crisis

Public school education is the cornerstone of equal opportunity for all students and the key to the country’s future prosperity and competitiveness. In the last few years, it has plunged into a crisis far greater than most people realize, posting benchmarks that national officials call “appalling” and “unacceptable.” In this special topical episode of Talking Feds, 3 of the country’s leading education experts join Harry to analyze the woeful state of affairs and consider ways out of the...


And Now This Special (Counsel) Announcement

On a week of tumultuous and hugely consequential developments on both the political and legal landscapes, Harry welcomes Sen Barbara Boxer, Norm Ornstein, and Michael Steele to work through the aftershocks of the Republicans’ gaining control of the Senate, Nancy Pelosi’s decision to step down as Speaker of the House, former President Trump’s declaration of candidacy, & AG Merrick Garland’s appointment of Jack Smith as Special Counsel to take charge of the criminal investigations involving...


Red Herring

After a midterm election in which Democrats outperformed not only poll-driven expectations but the results for any party in power in a generation, Harry is joined by a superb set of political analysts with great on-the ground political experience—Al Franken, Heidi Heitkamp, and Ted Lieu—to assess how the party did it but, more importantly, what the results suggest for the lame duck Congress, the next Congress, and the 2024 elections, including the coming battle royale between Trump and...


Red Alert

On the very eve of the midterms election, Harry and a great set of guests combining extensive political experience and broad savvy—Bill Kristol, Carol Lee, and Gov. Christine Todd Whitman—undertake a clear-eyed assessment of the potential coming changes. They consider the very real prospect of an election empowering Trump and dragging the country down even further into a polarized and vicious swamp, including a continuation of violence of the sort exemplified in the recent attack on Paul...


Halloween Edition: Margin of Terror

At T-minus one week to the election, 3 of the country’s leading political commentators and analysts–Joe Lockhart, Susan Glasser, and Josh Marshall—join Harry to analyze the parties’ closing strategies and assess the outsize stakes of the election. They analyze the potential deficiencies in the polls, and the challenges the Democrats face of trying to break through with arguments about abortion and democracy. Finally, they consider the implications, including the Trump factor, of an R...


Fortnight Forecast

On a week in which the midterm polls have shifted modestly but discernibly in favor of Republicans, a great set of political savants–Jon Alter, Greg Sargent, and Tara Setmayer–join Harry to assess the national movement and what if anything Dems can do to avert loss of 1 or 2 Houses of Congress. The group then discusses some individual races before moving on to the likely implications of Republican rule. Finally, they look at the status of Donald Trump after his horrible terrible no-good...


Hear! Hear!

The January 6 Committee neared the end of its historic turn on the national stage with a hearing that focused relentlessly on the central role of former President Donald Trump in orchestrating the various schemes to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to President Biden. A fantastic panel with deep knowledge and experience - Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Carol Leonnig, and Andrew Weissmann - joins Harry to assess the hearing and consider where the Committee, and the country, goes from...


A MAGA Midterm?

In a move that seemed only to strengthen the case against him for obstruction, Trump opted to stonewall the DOJ yet again in response to DOJ’s charge that he is still withholding some official docs. A seditious conspiracy case & the upcoming J6C hearing also kept the country’s focus on Trump’s Jan 6 conduct. All of this plays into the approaching midterms, with diverging strategies for the House and Senate, and the specter of a House takeover by Rs bringing on unparalleled partisan...


Nightmare on First Street: SCOTUS Returns (Live from the Texas Tribune Festival)

Based on its series of seismic changes to the law last Term, the Supreme Court starts a new term with record-low public support and deep disapproval in the legal profession. But the Court appears undaunted and poised to take up another set of cases that portend huge transformations for the law and US society. In an episode taped live at the Texas Tribune Festival, court experts Melissa Murray, and Greg Stohr, and Steve Vladeck join Harry to consider what the Court has in store in its new...


DOJ Under the Microscope (Live at the Texas Tribune Festival)

It wasn’t that long ago that the DOJ and Merrick Garland were being roundly criticized for not aggressively pursuing criminal cases against Donald Trump. No more. It’s clear that the DOJ has the former President in the crosshairs on a cluster of possible crimes. In an episode taped live at the Texas Tribune Festival, Katie Benner, Matt Miller, and Charlie Sykes join Harry to tap into what’s happening at DOJ and work through the rich brew of considerations that a Trump prosecution would...


Utter (Can)nonsense

Another wild and woolly week, and Luke Broadwater, George Conway, & Jen Rodgers join Harry to assess its impact. Judge Aileen Cannon again threw a monkey wrench into DOJ’s Mar-A-Lago work, prompting DOJ to take an appeal. DOJ’s Jan 6 investigation of Jan 6 seemed to spread to Trump confidants including Mark Meadows. On Capitol Hill, Lindsay Graham introduced a bill purporting to ban nearly all abortions after 15 weeks, while the January 6 Committee prepared for a new hearing. See Privacy...