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Have you ever asked, “WTF?,” about politics? Or, “who are these people making decisions about my life?” Political Theater pulls back the curtain on the stunts, antics and motivations that drive Washington. Host Jason Dick and the Roll Call team spotlight the spectacle, the players and what’s going on behind the curtain in Washington’s long-running drama: Congress.
 
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show series
 
It’s been a busy few years for Rep. Madeleine Dean, the Pennsylvania Democrat elected to the House in 2018. The lawyer and professor was part of a historic wave of women elected who put the chamber back in Democratic control. She wrote a book with her son about his opioid addiction. She served as an impeachment manager for the second impeachment tr…
 
Despite the high drama and hard feelings associated with the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, it’s unclear it will have an effect on the political coin of the realm: The next election. Senior politics correspondent Bridget Bowman and Political Editor Herb Jackson discuss some of the remaining questions about whether their …
 
Showtime’s political documentary series “The Circus” wants to capture, in the words of co-host John Heilemann, the “big, giant chaotic, nightmarish stew” of our politics. At Political Theater, we’re pretty down with that. Heilemann and co-host Jennifer Palmieri join the podcast to discuss their approach to the Jan. 6 insurrection, the second impeac…
 
Amid a pandemic, an impeachment trial, an economic crisis and the fallout over the Jan. 6 armed attack on the Capitol, Congress is trying to figure out how much enhanced security, and in what form, is necessary to protect lawmakers, staff and eventually the public, who at some point will be let back onto the complex. D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton…
 
Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris discusses his latest movie, "My Psychedelic Love Story," history as chaos, whether Donald Trump believes his own lies, the power of first person narrative and whether any of us can ever be reliable narrators. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices…
 
The presidency of Donald Trump is over. The presidency of Joe Biden has started. The inauguration happened -- against all odds, is how one staffer succintly put it. Despite a pandemic, an attack on the Capitol, unprecedented security and uncertainty, the show went on. Listen to the members of Congress, guests, volunteers, staffers and our own team …
 
Presidential inauguration historian Jim Bendat discusses the unprecedented preparations of Wednesday's inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, from the unnerving amount of security in the wake of the Jan. 6th attack on the Capitol to Donald Trump's decision to snub the ceremony, from the symbolism of some of the performers to the importance of…
 
As Washington gears up to host the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States next week, the country is on edge. After the insurrection on January 6 on the Capitol and lawmakers, security officials are leaving nothing to chance. The city is in lockdown. So on the last Friday of President Trump's term we ask what next? CQ Roll Call's Ji…
 
As the baseball and life philosopher Yogi Berra said: It’s like déjà vu all over again! Why? Because it’s January and we’re preparing for an impeachment trial. But who would preside over a second impeachment trial for Donald Trump — if he's not president anymore? It's not necessarily the chief justice of the United States. These are the kind of que…
 
These days, every day feels historic. But Jan. 13, 2021 is a big one: The House impeached President Donald Trump for a second time. That's the only time a president has been impeached twice. During a pandemic. That's new, too. With thousands of National Guardsmen stationed inside the Capitol, protecting lawmakers against a repeat of the violent att…
 
We are learning more about what law enforcement knew before the insurrection at the Capitol last week and it’s not a pretty picture. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the FBI wrote a stark report warning of violence but no one seemed to pay attention. And the Capitol Police, the lead law enforcement agency in charge of protecting lawmakers …
 
With less than 10 days before Joe Biden gets sworn in as president, Congress is reeling from the assault on the Capitol and what it will mean to govern. House Democrats introduced impeachment again on Monday, this time charging President Trump with "inciting violence against the government of the United States.” While Republicans blocked another me…
 
If anyone thought 2021 would come in like a lamb this week's events prove otherwise. Insurrection, treason, 25th amendment are all terms being tossed around in reaction to President Trump's rally cry to incite his followers to descend on the Capitol. What's next for Trump? The Dems and the GOP? Not to mention that President elect Joe Biden is less …
 
The shock of the violent overrunning of the U.S. Capitol this week featured a lot of people knuckling down, thinking on their feet and doing their jobs amid a dangerous and unpredictable situation. Katherine Tully-McManus recalls the strange and stirring moments in the Capitol as she evacuated with U.S. Senators, staffers and fellow journalists. Ni…
 
Wednesday's joint session of Congress will be a long, potentially tortuous affair to count the Electoral College votes that certify Joe Biden's win in the 2020 presidential election. Republicans plan on objecting to the proceedings and forcing what could become a days-long affair that usually takes under an hour. They don't have the votes to overtu…
 
The 117th Congress is under way, and it is already weird. A time usually filled with ceremony, celebration and at least a faint trace of optimism is clouded over by the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the spectacle of members of Congress attempting to overturn the results of certified elections and the uncertainty of who will even be in charge …
 
While many of us might want to put 2020 in the rear view mirror, CQ Roll Call's three award winning photographers documented the year that was from impeachment (remember that?), the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and so much more. Jason Dick sits down with Bill Clark, Tom Williams and Caroline Brehman. They pick out their favorite photo and explain w…
 
We're looking at a dispute that is threatening the delicate coronavirus relief bill negotiations that are also tied to a Friday at midnight government funding deadline. The GOP wants to limit Federal Reserve lending programs that would tie the hands of a Biden administration. Also, we examine what energy and environment policy will look like as Pre…
 
Among the accomplishments of President Donald Trump is a crash-course in civics that showed the public that a lot of government business and transparency happens because of good will and cooperation, not statute. In the wake of Trump's busting so many norms about the presidency, there is discussion about what Congress can do to more clearly define …
 
With the Electoral College certifying Joe Biden’s victory, and Senate Republicans acknowledging that fact, is the presidential race finally over? Not a chance! Katherine Tully-McManus discusses possible challenges to the congressional counting of electoral votes. Meanwhile, Biden picks Pete Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary and then heads to G…
 
We're delving into why White House officials and members of Congress may be at the head of the line to get a COVID-19 vaccine. CQ Roll Call's Niels Lesniewski has more. We'll also explore what Biden's Cabinet nominees may face if the Senate doesn't flip to blue. Shawn Zeller explains. Katherine Tully-McManus hosts this special edition of Political …
 
President Donald Trump loved to hate the swamp, or official Washington. President-elect Joe Biden is bringing a different approach by bringing on a group of no-drama experienced government hands to run the executive branch. Niels Lesniewski discusses. And Ben Hulac outlines some of the outgoing administration's "midnight rules" and how they could a…
 
President-elect Joe Biden's picks to head the the Agriculture Department and HUD follow a fairly familiar pattern: a former farm-state governor for Ag and a former mayor for HUD. But the president's supporters expect his administration to aggressively address equality issues in a hyper-partisan environment, and Ag and HUD are two departments at the…
 
The incoming Biden administration continues to come into focus. The president-elect's nomination of retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to be Defense secretary, who would be the first Black man to head the Pentagon, also means Biden passed over a woman long considered a frontrunner for the job: Michelle Flournoy. And as a recently retired officer, Austin req…
 
In this episode of Political Theater's The Transition, Congress is still in a tug of war over a possible COVID-19 aid package. CQ Roll Call's David Lerman talks about where things stand. Then, we turn to CQ Roll Call health reporter Mary Ellen McIntire, who breaks down who President-elect Joe Biden wants on his team to lead the country out of the p…
 
As the holiday season is upon us, so too is a time honored tradition. Congress working at the last minute to shore up must-pass bills. CQ Roll Call's Jim Saksa talks with budget tracker David Lerman on the latest on appropriations and a COVID relief package. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices…
 
Jim Bendat has literally written the book on our Inauguration Day traditions and history. And one thing he is pretty confident of predicting: between Donald Trump's propensity for antics and the ongoing pandemic, the Jan. 20 inauguration of Joe Biden is going to be one we'll remember. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices…
 
Congress is very good at putting off its most important business until the end of the year. The current spending measure funding the government expires on December 11. And with the economy starting to show signs of strain, lawmakers are offering their own proposals for a COVID relief package that they hope to pass in the coming weeks. The two big t…
 
The first full official day of the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration featured President-elect Joe Biden introducing several of his Cabinet picks in Wilmington, Del., a group of veteran hands that epitomizes what could be called his Dare to be Dull approach to governing. Plus, Todd Ruger discusses changes atop the …
 
We're delving into President Donald Trump's latest moves to block President-elect Biden from moving forward, why foreign policy towards Europe may be thorny, and how a big infrastructure bill could be on the table. CQ Roll Call's Jim Saksa hosts with contributions from Niels Lesniewski, Rachel Oswald and Jessica Wehrman. Learn more about your ad ch…
 
With a COVID-19 vaccine in sight, it's more important than ever the Trump administration and the team of President-elect Joe Biden coordinate on the pandemic. But that's not happening. Sen. Chris Murphy discusses how the Trump team is briefing senators, but refuses to bring Biden into the discussion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphon…
 
David Marchick, director of Center for Presidential Transition, has a traffic report for us: If the Trump administration doesn’t start doing its part in the transition, the backups could soon threaten the public's well being. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesBy CQ Roll Call
 
President-elect Joe Biden has poached the first member of Congress for his administration — Louisiana Democrat Cedric Richmond. The lawmaker will become a senior adviser to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. CQ Roll Call's Jason Dick reports on why Richmond could be among the most influential staffers for Bid…
 
President-elect Joe Biden says that "more people may die" if President Donald Trump doesn't soon share what the current plans are to combat COVID-19 and distribute vaccines. Also, a first look at who may be named to be Director of National Intelligence. CQ Roll Call's Katherine Tully-McManus speaks with Niels Lesniewski on the latest. Learn more ab…
 
In a little over a week, President Donald Trump has launched legal action to try to counter election results, fired the Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and other top tier civilians at the Pentagon. CQ Roll Call's Jason Dick talks with Todd Ruger and John Donnelly to examine these latest moves and what they mean for the nation's stability. Learn mor…
 
President Donald Trump might be holding off on his participation in the transition process, but Congress is not. New members report to Capitol Hill this week for orientation, and Katherine Tully-McManus and Mark Satter talk to us about some of the demographic shifts in the freshman class. Jim Saksa also reports on how the incoming Biden administrat…
 
We're looking at the fallout from the Trump administration fueling the myth that the president didn't lose the election. President-elect Joe Biden and his team can't get national security briefings, or funds usually associated with setting up shop to become president. There are also more than a dozen congressional seats still waiting to be called. …
 
At the time of this recording, five states have still not been called in the presidential election, with former Vice President Joe Biden leading in three of them. Then there is the Senate. With two runoff elections set in Georgia in January, chamber majority will be uncertain until then. CQ Roll Call's Jason Dick, Niels Lesniewski and Stephanie Aki…
 
The country is on edge as battleground states continue their vote count in the race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden for the presidency. But that has not stopped Trump’s campaign from filing several lawsuits in hopes of gaining an edge in the final results. But what about all these lawsuits? How likely are they to affect the outcome? CQ Roll Call…
 
If you like tidy stories, then 2020 is not for you. As election officials continue counting votes for the presidency and Senate and House races, it's tough to get a handle on just what happened: Why were polls off? Who will win? Will each party need to do some soul searching or will they pretend it's all good? Rodell Mollineu of ROKK Solutions and …
 
With only days to go before Election Day, my colleague Shawn Zeller was thinking about the last 4 years and whether the way President Trump has governed will have a lasting impact on the presidency. Here is his podcast where Shawn speaks with presidential historian David Greenburg on what the future holds for the presidency. Learn more about your a…
 
The 2020 Election is “rounding the corner” — sorry, I could not resist — but here we are, just a few days out from Nov. 3, which means that it’s almost Halloween. And what better way to recognize the spooky nature of All’s Hallows Eve than to discuss the scary worst-case scenarios for the elections! Disputed counts! Lawsuits! Candidates refusing to…
 
Brent Roske is a political animal, but it wasn’t supposed to be that way. A veteran Hollywood creative type, his series “Chasing the Hill,” about a fictional congressional campaign, was supposed to get it out of his system. It just lit the fire though, and he went on to run for Congress himself, move to Iowa, start a political talk show, Roske on P…
 
Technology increasingly defines modern life, and that is especially so in political campaigns. But for all the sophisticated polling models and ways of raising money in politics, a new organization is betting that a very old school way of doing things will help boost turnout. Senior staff writer Bridget Bowman joins Political Theater to talk about …
 
The vice presidency is a strange office, a hybrid of both the executive branch and the legislative branch, someone who breaks ties on Senate votes and can preside over the counting of his own electoral votes in a joint session of Congress. So Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris carried with it more signif…
 
As if the 2020 presidential campaign wasn’t already tense enough, we now have a high-profile Supreme Court confirmation fight playing out in the Senate. But things will look and play out differently for the nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. CQ Roll Call senior writer Todd Ruger and staff writer Katherine Tully McManus walk us through what we can ex…
 
We thought we were in the home stretch of the 2020 campaign season, with the primaries over and early voting beginning, and then on Sept. 18, another political earthquake shook us when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Niels Lesniewski and Bridget Bowman discuss what we know, what we don’t know and what we’ll be watching in the coming…
 
If you’ve been anywhere near cable news or social media in the last few months, you have probably seen an ad by the Lincoln Project. The group of Republicans who have aggressively gone after President Donald Trump on cable news and social media. Lincoln Project Senior Advisor Kurt Bardella, explains what motivates the group, what they hope to accom…
 
If you ran for Congress in 2018, there was a pretty good chance you are part of a political documentary. First came “Knock Down the House,” which featured a (then) little known candidate, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and now comes “Surge,” which follows women who ran against veteran Republican incumbents. Political Reporters Bridget Bowman and Kate Ack…
 
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