The United States and Russia are locked in a dangerous new standoff. From Facebook and meddling in the 2016 election, to alleged poisoning attacks, to the war in Syria, Russia is the dominant force in our news cycle. John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and new host Alex Wagner examine America's new Cold War with Russia and where it's leading. Season Premiere.
An ever-growing swirl of legal entanglements continues to surround President Trump. From the ongoing Mueller investigation to the Michael Cohen raid and subsequent hearing, and James Comey's inflammatory book, the Trump presidency is under siege. John Heillman interviews Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' lawyer, John and Alex Wagner have a colorful dialog with legal heavyweight and Trump supporter Alan Dershowitz, and Mark McKinnon remembers his old friend Barbara Bush.
As Mike Pompeo's nomination for Secretary of State clears a Senate hurdle, official visits from French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel command the administration's attention. John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon sit down with Wendy Sherman, lead negotiator behind the Iran nuclear deal. Plus, Alex Wagner interviews imam Dr. Ismail Elshikh, the plaintiff behind the travel-ban challenge.
The Circus goes on the road to Trump country to take the nation's temperature on the president's performance, how the midterm elections are shaping up, and where the two sides currently stand on gun control. John Heilemann catches up with Mitt Romney about his Utah senate campaign, Mark McKinnon interviews Randy 'Iron Stache' Bryce in Wisconsin about his bid to turn Paul Ryan's district Democratic, and Alex Wagner travels to Texas for a sit-down with Beto O'Rourke on his surprisingly close race to unseat Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
The gloves are off as Donald Trump fights a 360-degree battle to keep the presidency. He's taking shots at those who stand to threaten it, and is at war against the 'deep state' of the FBI, CIA, and the Department of Justice. Stories covered include Michael Cohen's connection to a Russian oligarch, Trump's attempts to undermine the Mueller investigation, the scuttling of the Iran deal, and the Senate confirmation hearing for Trump's controversial CIA Director pick, Gina Haspel.
The Trump administration has had to contend with an unprecedented number of crises, and spinning them is an ongoing preoccupation. In this era of splintered news media, how do you get the right message to the right people, and still stay on course? Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie discusses trying to govern during a PR crisis, Steve Brill hosts an Axios event on combating fake news, and Steve Schmidt and Mark Fabiani, Bill Clinton's advisor during the Whitewater scandal, both weigh in on how this White House is managing crises.
With the looming midterm elections, the Trump presidency under relentless siege, and Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolina coast, Washington has a lot on its collective plate. Mark McKinnon and Alex Wagner visit the democratic and republican war rooms respectively, and learn what each camp is doing to secure the majority in the House. John Heilemann interviews Steve Bannon and takes a tour of Breitbart, all in advance of the release of Bannon's inflammatory new documentary.
As Republicans and Democrats play a dramatic game of chess in the wake of the assault allegations from Christine Blasey Ford, all eyes are on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the confirmation process of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Parallels are drawn between the current showdown and the Anita Hill hearing in 1991, and recurring contributor Steve Schmidt gives context to the Trump administration's response, given his experience working to confirm Supreme Court nominees for previous Republican administrations.
The focus remains tightly on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the future of U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein notwithstanding. As legions of outspoken critics and fans of Judge Kavanaugh vie for attention on Capitol Hill, and allegations of sexual misconduct continue to surface, the temperature in the capital climbs steadily upward. For much of the week John Heilemann is embedded with attorney Michael Avenatti, who may just have the most explosive revelations of all.
The emphasis remains squarely on the constantly-evolving story of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation. But as the midterm elections draw nearer, hosts John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon, Alex Wagner and guest commentator Steve Schmidt delve into the ramifications of the confirmation's outcome on various Senate races around the country. Republicans and Democrats are riled up about this issue, and in states where the polls are close, Senate races could be affected by how the incumbents vote.
In the wake of the Kavanaugh confirmation, The Circus travels to California to take the temperature of the political and policy resistance to the Trump administration. With almost a dozen house seats currently held by Republicans in serious contention, any potential blue wave in the midterm elections will begin here. The hosts interview key players from across the political spectrum to determine the current state of California politics, how they got where they are, and where they are headed.
As the battle for the Senate heats up with post-Kavanaugh polls forecasting a Republican resurgence, The Circus travels the country charting the shifting dynamics in three of the closest races - each considered a must-win if Democrats hope to gain the majority. In Arizona, it's neck and neck between Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally; in Nevada, Jacky Rosen digs deep to take on incumbent Dean Heller; plus, a sit-down with North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp, who's fighting for her political life in the wake of a campaign ad controversy.
As undertones of racial politics make news, The Circus travels south, following two historic gubernatorial races with African-American candidates. In Florida, America's most unpredictable swing state, Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis reap the benefits and face the challenges of being respectively progressive and pro-Trump candidates. Next door in Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams find themselves locked in a virtual dead heat despite being on opposite ends of a statewide voting controversy.
Donald Trump has hit the campaign trail in a big way to aid Republicans in their election efforts, and he is painting frightening pictures to motivate his base. In response, prominent Democrats are issuing dire warnings of what will happen if their party doesn't retake at least some control. With the midterm elections only days away, The Circus travels to rallies and campaign stops around the country to find out how both sides are pulling out all the stops to win these all-important races.