The Circus

Ended / 7:00pm Showtime 30 min.
This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the 2016 presidential race, revealing the intense, inspiring and infuriating stories behind the headlines. Key characters and events from the individual campaigns are presented in real time, as they are happening. Produced in cooperation with Bloomberg Politics, THE CIRCUS is a non-partisan, never-before-attempted take on what promises to be one of the most fascinating and consequential elections in modern history.

Season 8

12 Episodes

The Circus confronts the central story defining American politics since the show premiered eight seasons ago: the rise of Donald Trump and the Democratic resistance. Hosts John Heilemann, Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon, joined by guest hosts Tim Miller and Errin Haines, explore this era of bitter division and uncertainty � in a week that features Trump taking the witness stand in New York, a surprising election night, and a shocking new battleground poll.
Nov 12 2023
The Circus examines the impact of AI on the 2024 election and democracy itself. Jennifer Palmieri travels to the U.K. for the first global AI Safety Summit and sits down with Mustafa Suleyman, a world leader in AI technology. John Heilemann and guest host Jordan Klepper talk with former Google tech ethicist Tristan Harris about the threat of AI-enabled disinformation and deep fakes. And Mark McKinnon discusses how campaigns can prepare with Jiore Craig, a strategist in countering disinformation.
Nov 05 2023
The Circus explores the mounting legal threats facing Donald Trump. Guest host Andrew Weissmann, a former lead prosecutor on Robert Mueller�s team, joins Jennifer Palmieri, John Heilmann and Mark McKinnon amid news that several Trump allies have flipped and begun cooperating with prosecutors in cases against him. Meanwhile in New York City, the former president comes face-to-face in court with his former fixer and now antagonist, Michael Cohen.
Oct 29 2023
The Circus examines President Biden's high profile wartime trip to Israel, a nation reeling in the wake of the terrorist attack by Hamas. Meanwhile, House Republicans struggle to elect a new speaker, two weeks after ousting Kevin McCarthy. John Heilemann, Jennifer Palmieri, Mark McKinnon and guest host Errin Haines track the dramatic developments throughout the week, speaking with Vice President Kamala Harris and Ron Klain, President Biden�s former chief of staff.
Oct 22 2023
In the wake of the shocking terrorist attack in Israel, The Circus tracks the political fallout as Republican presidential hopefuls respond to the ongoing crisis. John Heilemann, Jennifer Palmieri, Mark McKinnon and guest host Tim Miller travel to Iowa, Washington, DC and New Hampshire to hear from GOP candidates about how they would lead America in an increasingly dangerous world.
Oct 15 2023
The Circus returns amid an historic week in politics. Hosts Jennifer Palmieri, John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon are on Capitol Hill for the unprecedented vote to remove a House speaker by members of his own party, in New York City where former president Donald Trump is in court lashing out against the prosecution of his business empire and on the campaign trail in Iowa as the presidential primary race heats up.
Oct 08 2023
This week The Circus examines significant developments in the myriad investigations into former President Donald Trump. John Heilemann and guest host Andrew Weissmann discuss the two special counsel probes with former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal. Jennifer Palmieri looks at the investigation into Trump�s efforts to overturn the election results in Georgia. And Mark McKinnon speaks with Mike Pence in Iowa, after a federal judge orders the former Vice President to testify to a grand jury.
Apr 02 2023
This week The Circus examines the multiple investigations facing Donald Trump that could lead to the first indictment of a U.S. president. Jennifer Palmieri speaks with former Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Weissmann about the hush-money probe. Mark McKinnon charts Michael Cohen�s journey from Trump fixer to star witness with Vanity Fair reporter Emily Jane Fox. John Heilemann talks with New York Times reporters Michael Bender and Katie Benner about the myriad investigations and their political fallout.
Mar 26 2023
The Circus examines the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News. John Heilemann speaks with legendary First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams, Mark McKinnon with prominent journalists, and Jennifer Palmieri with Trump voters about the case.
Mar 19 2023
The Circus heads to Capitol Hill to cover the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives. John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon, and Jennifer Palmieri follow two freshman members of Congress, Republican Mike Lawler of New York and Democrat Maxwell Frost of Florida, as they navigate a week dominated by Tucker Carlson's coverage of January 6th, hearings on the Biden Administration, and a fight that threatens to tip America over a fiscal cliff.
Mar 12 2023
The Circus is on the ground in Florida, South Carolina, Maryland and New Hampshire to mark the unofficial kick-off of the Republican Party's presidential nominating contest. The week begins as a leading potential candidate, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, launches his book tour and ends with CPAC, the annual conservative gathering that�s friendly territory for former President Donald Trump, who�s already in the race. John Heilemann, Jennifer Palmieri, Mark McKinnon and guest host Tim Miller examine the fault lines already emerging in the party.
Mar 05 2023
The Circus is in Poland tracking President Biden as he stuns the world with a visit to the embattled capital of Ukraine to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion. Host John Heilemann talks with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan about the covert trip to Kyiv and the monumental challenges of confronting a nuclear armed Russia. Back in the U.S., Mark McKinnon speaks with Bush White House veteran Nicole Wallace, while Jennifer Palmieri sits down with former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis.
Feb 26 2023

Season 7

16 Episodes

The Circus concludes yet another turbulent election season with an extended one-hour episode tracking the final days leading up to an historic election night. Hosts John Heilemann, Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon, along with guest hosts Tim Miller and Errin Haines, are on the ground in the key battlegrounds tracking the stunning election results as a predicted red wave fizzles. Season finale.
Nov 13 2022
The Circus travels the country as election day draws near, examining the warning signs flashing for a Democratic party attempting to hold onto the balance of power in Congress. Guest host Paola Ramos joins John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and Jennifer Palmieri, exploring a party on the defensive � even in deep blue states � in the face of sky-high inflation and daunting historical trends. Plus, behind-the-scenes as the party's most sought-after surrogate, former President Obama, makes the case for why voters should keep Democrats in power.
Nov 06 2022
With just two weeks until Election Day, The Circus is on the ground in Pennsylvania for the highly anticipated Senate debate between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz. As questions swirl over Fetterman�s health, John Heilemann, Jennifer Palmieri, Mark McKinnon and guest host Jordan Klepper crisscross the state hearing from voters and local politicians, attending campaign rallies and analyzing the impact of the debate in a crucial race that could determine control of the Senate.
Oct 30 2022
The Circus is on the ground in Georgia�s 14th Congressional District, home of Marjorie Taylor Greene, examining her meteoric rise within the Republican party. Hosts Mark McKinnon, John Heilemann and Jennifer Palmieri travel the conservative district talking to voters about their overwhelming support for the first-term congresswoman. The team speaks with local Republican officials about where Greene derives her power in a party transformed by Donald Trump and catches up with the Democratic challenger trying to head off her re-election.
Oct 23 2022
The Circus examines the battle for the Senate through the prism of two key states: Georgia and Ohio, where former President Trump's hand-picked candidates find themselves in tight races. Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon go behind-the-scenes in the Ohio showdown between Democratic Representative Tim Ryan and Republican JD Vance. John Heilemann and guest host Errin Haines head to Georgia, where Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock tries to stave off his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, whose campaign has been mired in controversy.
Oct 16 2022
The Circus travels to Arizona, a key battleground in the upcoming midterm elections and the epicenter of election denial. Jennifer Palmieri, John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and guest host Tim Miller travel the state, where every top Republican candidate has echoed former President Donald Trump's false claim that the 2020 election was fraudulent, exploring what's at stake if election-denying candidates win office and control of the state's election system.
Oct 09 2022
The Circus examines the myriad legal threats facing former President Donald Trump. Mark McKinnon speaks with journalists Susan Glasser and Peter Baker, authors of a new book detailing the Trump administration. Jennifer Palmieri sits down with Sarah Matthews, the former White House Deputy Press Secretary who testified before the January 6th Committee. John Heilemann speaks with legal experts Andrew Weissman and Neal Katyal to discuss the implications of the wide range of investigations into Trump.
Oct 02 2022
The Circus returns amid the critical midterm election season with voters across the nation energized in unprecedented ways by the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. John Heilemann goes behind the scenes with Vice President Kamala Harris as she campaigns for reproductive rights in a swing state that could determine control of the Senate. Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon are on the ground in Michigan to report on how the end of Roe is impacting one the nation's marquee gubernatorial races.
Sep 25 2022
The Circus travels to Florida as Governor Ron DeSantis signs controversial laws on education, gender, and abortion. John Heilemann, Alex Wagner, Mark McKinnon and Jennifer Palmieri explore how the Sunshine State has become the central battlefield of an American culture war that includes a conservative effort to strike math textbooks due to �prohibited topics,� the fallout from the so-called �Don�t Say Gay� law, and a rapidly escalating feud between Disney and state Republicans.
Apr 24 2022
The Circus is on the ground in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania to cover one of the most consequential Senate races in the nation. John Heilemann, Alex Wagner, Mark McKinnon and Jennifer Palmieri report on the heated competition as former president Donald Trump weighs in with a surprise endorsement. Republican and Democratic candidates speak with The Circus about the final, frantic weeks of the primary.
Apr 17 2022
As the President�s historic nominee for the Supreme Court is confirmed, The Circus examines Biden�s successes, failures and plunging poll numbers. John Heilemann, Alex Wagner, Mark McKinnon and Jennifer Palmieri dig into the dissatisfaction within the Democratic base and the party�s prospects for the midterms; Representatives Stephanie Murphy and Ted Lieu share their differing strategies for Democrats to keep control of Congress; and The Circus speaks with the White House team behind Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson�s momentous confirmation.
Apr 10 2022
The Circus tracks the dramatic developments out of the House committee investigating the forces behind the violent January 6 insurrection. Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon speak with members of the committee after voting to hold two of former President Donald Trump's aides in contempt; Alex Wagner talks with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa on their bombshell reporting about the White House call log from the day of the Capitol attack; and John Heilemann examines the growing pressure on the Justice Department to investigate Trump�s activities.
Apr 03 2022
As President Biden travels to Brussels for an emergency NATO summit, The Circus examines Russia�s threats of using nuclear weapons. Jennifer Palmieri speaks to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby about the U.S. response to Putin�s nuclear saber-rattling; John Heilemann games out war simulations with one of the world�s foremost experts on nuclear weapons, Zia Mian; and Alex Wagner assesses Putin�s motives with former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev.
Mar 27 2022
As Russia escalates its assault, Ukraine�s President delivers an impassioned address to Congress. Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon are on Capitol Hill speaking with lawmakers immediately after Zelenskyy�s emotional plea to �close the sky� over Ukraine. Plus, Alex Wagner and John Heilemann examine the information war, including the sophisticated Russian disinformation campaign infiltrating American media and Putin�s draconian crackdown on dissent and free speech inside Russia.
Mar 20 2022
With the situation on the ground in Ukraine growing increasingly dire, The Circus explores what more the U.S. and its allies can do. As Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Estonia, John Heilemann speaks with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas about fears Putin could strike a NATO nation next. Plus, Mark McKinnon explores President Biden�s response with Senator Mitt Romney; Alex Wagner interviews Ukrainian parliament member Oleksandra Ustinova; and Jennifer Palmieri speaks with officials about the threat Putin now poses to the world.
Mar 13 2022
The world is on edge following Russia�s invasion of Ukraine. John Heilemann reports from on the ground in neighboring Poland with U.S. Ambassador Mark Brzezinski; Jennifer Palmieri is at the White House with Press Secretary Jen Psaki immediately following President Biden�s first State of the Union address; plus, Alex Wagner examines the escalating standoff between Presidents Biden and Putin and Mark McKinnon looks at the political tensions on Capitol Hill amidst the evolving crisis.
Mar 06 2022

Season 6

16 Episodes

The Circus examines the state of Biden�s presidency one year in. Two critical races for governor � a loss in Virginia and a razor-thin win in New Jersey � send shockwaves through the White House and Democratic party as they look ahead to midterms in a year. Jennifer Palmieri speaks with Governor Phil Murphy moments after surviving re-election, while Alex Wagner speaks with Rep. Jim Clyburn about what Biden needs to do now to pass his agenda. John Heilemann talks with John Podesta and Mark McKinnon talks with Rep. Cheri Bustos.
Nov 07 2021
The Circus is on Capitol Hill as President Biden tries to realize his legacy-defining agenda. As the 11th hour negotiations rapidly unfold, and protestors take to the streets, two powerful Senators square off with progressive Democrats as all sides try to negotiate a historic, multi-trillion dollar legislative victory for the White House. Hosts John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon, Alex Wagner and Jennifer Palmieri speak with both the administration and lawmakers at the center of the critical battle.
Oct 31 2021
The Circus heads to Virginia for the final sprint in a neck and neck gubernatorial race � a contest that�s seen as a bellwether for next year�s midterm elections, when control of Congress will be on the line. Alex Wagner speaks with Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin just after a new poll shows a tied race. John Heilemann and Jennifer Palmieri catch up with former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe on the campaign trail as he seeks reelection. Meanwhile, Mark McKinnon breaks down Youngkin�s strategy with his campaign advisors.
Oct 24 2021
The Circus examines the threat to American democracy posed by Trump's �Big Lie� as it fuels election audits, changes to state voting laws and an attempted party purge of disloyal Republicans. John Heilemann interviews Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the committee investigating the January 6 insurrection; Alex Wagner sits down with foreign affairs specialist Fiona Hill to discuss the threats to America; Jen Palmieri speaks with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson; and Mark McKinnon talks with Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt.
Oct 17 2021
The Circus heads to Texas, home to the nation's most restrictive abortion law, a controversial new voting law and a red-hot immigration battle. Alex Wagner speaks with Planned Parenthood about the new law�s impact on women across the state. Jennifer Palmieri talks with Bryan Hughes, author of both the abortion and voting laws. John Heilemann sits down with former Bush aide Matthew Dowd, who�s running for Lt. Governor as a Democrat. And Mark McKinnon heads to the border where Governor Abbott is announcing a new plan to address the crisis.
Oct 10 2021
The Circus heads to Capitol Hill for the fierce battle over President Biden's legacy-defining agenda. With Democrats at odds over massive infrastructure and social spending bills, John Heilemann goes behind the scenes with the leader of the House moderates, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, while Alex Wagner speaks with the chair of the House Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal. Neither side is backing down in the fight over how to achieve President Biden's transformative agenda.
Oct 03 2021
Against the backdrop of President Biden�s powerful speech to the UN, The Circus focuses on his administration�s approach to foreign policy. With a new defense arrangement announced between the US, UK and Australia, Jenn Palmieri speaks with former Aussie PM Julia Gillard in London. In the wake of ongoing turbulence in Afghanistan, John Heilemann examines the refugee crisis with IRC head Dana Miliband and Alex Wagner speaks with families in Richmond, Virginia, home to a significant refugee community.
Sep 26 2021
The Circus returns and while the weather may be cooling down, the temperature around the country is still overheated. As Gavin Newsom fights off an anti-vax motivated recall election in California, Asa Hutchinson tries to thread a needle by fighting the pandemic in Arkansas without resorting to a mandate. Meanwhile, Washington fears another incursion from January 6th insurrectionists galvanized by recent vaccine mandates. With the culture war still very much alive, will President Biden be able to heal the country�s political divisions?
Sep 19 2021
The Circus keys in on the Biden administration�s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. As Republicans scrutinize, the question remains: can centrists come together to pass the bill as the US surpasses 500,000 COVID-19 deaths? From the White House perspective, Jenn Palmieri sits with Communications Director Kate Bedingfield and John Heilemann interviews bill author Brian Deese and Domestic Policy Director Susan Rice. And exploring how the package is viewed among conservatives, Mark McKinnon speaks with Rep. Dan Crenshaw. Mid-season finale.
Feb 28 2021
The Circus shifts its focus onto an administration fresh off implementing a series of ambitious climate motions. With several early executive actions in place, how is President Biden filtering jobs into his climate agenda moving forward? In Minnesota, where construction of the Enbridge Pipeline is sparking controversy, Alex Wagner speaks with indigenous protesters along with Rep. Ihan Omar. And Mark McKinnon takes a spin in a new electric car from Ford, a company that has pledged fully electric emissions by 2030.
Feb 21 2021
The Circus focuses on the historic second impeachment trial of Donald Trump as the Senate faces a decisive moment and questions the former President�s culpability in the January 6th Capitol siege. Still outraged by the violence, Sen. Michael Bennett joins John Heilemann for a look at preparation for the trial and Alex Wagner speaks with an attorney planning to use Trump�s incitement in defense of his insurrectionist client. Elsewhere, the hosts take a glimpse at Mar-a-Lago, where locals are at odds about Trump�s presence in their community.
Feb 14 2021
In a chaotic week, The Circus takes the pulse of a Republican Party at war with itself. Still dominated by the postures of its predecessor, the hosts speak with both ends of the GOP spectrum, zeroing in on a party in the post-Trump era facing incessantly erratic claims from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green. John Heilemann sits down with Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of few Republicans backing the impeachment of Donald Trump, while Jenn Palmieri addresses growing fears for personal safety on the Hill with Green's fellow Georgia Rep. Nikema Williams.
Feb 07 2021
In the first full week of a new administration, The Circus offers a window into President Biden�s approach towards tackling the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. As the vaccine moves transnationally from shipment to inoculation, the hosts focus on the response at a federal, state & local level. In Los Angeles, John Heilemann speaks with Mayor Eric Garcetti about the status of vaccinations at Dodger Stadium. And from a United Airlines cargo area, Alex Wagner examines exactly what it takes to securely transport the vaccines.
Jan 31 2021
As a new administration takes center stage committed to national unity, The Circus captures the magnitude of an era that has until recently been engulfed in divisiveness. With Joe Biden officially sworn in as 46th President of the United States, the hosts break down the most prominent moments as the country undergoes a transition of power. While Trump departs the White House for the final time as President, former press secretary Hogan Gidley joins Alex Wagner to examine how Trump�s legacy will be evaluated moving forward.
Jan 24 2021
At the brink of an historic second impeachment, The Circus delves into the last week in office of a furious, de-platformed President Trump. With last week�s Capitol violence ever relevant, the question remains: will this be a decisive moment for our nation? Alongside social media bans, the hosts explore efforts hindering the rhetoric of Trump and his supporters. John Heilemann speaks with Neil Katyal about the legal implications impeachment brings and Mark McKinnon provides an eye-opening account with Texans still indoctrinated with conspiracy.
Jan 17 2021
In an extended season premiere, The Circus attempts to make sense of a country reeling from the grave implications of a Capitol siege. Incensed by the final blow of a Democratic controlled Senate, President Trump continues to stoke the political fire as his supporters riot to halt the now-certified Electoral Vote count. Hosts John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon, Alex Wagner and Jenn Palmieri bring their perspective to the unfolding news, exploring the fallout of a turbulent week and the energy surging from the results of the Georgia run-off.
Jan 10 2021

Season 5

21 Episodes

As election night passes with many a ballot remaining uncounted, The Circus wraps up an unhinged election season with a special one-hour look at how the 2020 race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden has evolved. With results permeating into the days following, the hosts are on the ground in every key battleground state offering a unique perspective of how the Presidential race is playing out.
Nov 08 2020
As the moment draws closer to election night, President Trump is struggling to contend with Biden in swing states. Biden takes a stand in Georgia, hoping to boost voter enthusiasm in competitive red-state Senate races. The Circus covers debate prep with SC Democratic nominee Jamie Harrison as he threatens incumbent Senator Lindsay Graham's seat. With both presidential candidates using new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to fuel their supporters, the hosts speak with NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg about the impact of her appointment.
Nov 01 2020
In the week leading up to the last Presidential Debate, The Circus takes stock of the 2020 race as Joe Biden and President Donald Trump play out their campaign endgames. With rising COVID-19 cases causing alarm, Barack Obama stumps in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania while Biden hunkers down to prioritize his health and debate prep. Former CDC head Tom Frieden gives his outlook on the virus and Cook Political Report editor David Wasserman provides a data-driven glimpse at the current state of the race.
Oct 25 2020
The Circus dives into voting integrity, specifically issues concerning election day disputes, voter suppression and re-election rhetoric from the President himself. Eager to stave off fears of negative polling numbers, Trump is hot on the campaign trail, despite his recent COVID-19 diagnosis. Among a myriad of perspectives, Mark McKinnon speaks with ACLU Director Andre Segura in Texas, where Republican officials are limiting mail-in voting. And Alex Wagner talks to a militia leader in Michigan about his view on the necessity of poll-watchers.
Oct 18 2020
In a turbulent week following President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis, The Circus is covering all the inquiry surrounding his health. As more people in Trump's circle test positive, the current functionality of the White House and outlook for the campaign has come under scrutiny. Alex Wagner talks with Kevin Madden, one of the top GOP communication experts, to discuss the White House's strategy in the days remaining until the election. Meanwhile, John Heilemann sits down with members of The Lincoln Project on the heels of the first Veep debate.
Oct 11 2020
The Circus covers the fiery first debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Jen Palmieri explores Trump's aggressive debate strategy, swapping war stories with Philippe Reines, a member of the Clinton 2016 debate prep team. John Heilemann spends debate night with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Alex Wagner and Mark McKinnon are on the ground in Cleveland gauging public reactions to the debate, as all the hosts react to the seismic news that President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
Oct 04 2020
The Circus profiles the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and examines the political battlefield her death has created. Eager to capitalize, Senator Mitch McConnell and conservatives have zealously pushed to fill her vacancy before election day, while progressives strongly object. Republican strategist Charlie Black joins Mark McKinnon to analyze McConnell's motives. Meanwhile, former Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Director of Demand Justice Brian Fallon discuss the implications of rushing a successor.
Sep 27 2020
As the United States approaches a grim 200,000 deaths, The Circus investigates the politicization of COVID-19. While the Trump campaign continues to prioritize the economy, Joe Biden has emphatically upheld health experts, causing many to question how the discourse between Red & Blue will play in the 2020 election. With regard to the current political game in key battleground states, the hosts interview Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, Biden Senior Advisor Symone Sanders and Republican political consultant Susie Wiles.
Sep 20 2020
As states roll out mail-in ballots, The Circus takes a look at the controversy surrounding mail-in voting and its effects on the 2020 election. Despite no widespread evidence of voter fraud, what safeguards are in place to ensure the security of people's votes? The hosts speak with a Colorado election clerk and the Philadelphia Postal Service Union President. As Trump continues to vocalize his distrust of vote by mail, Biden campaign manager Jen O�Malley Dillon joins John Heilemann to discuss how strategy is adapting to guarantee voter turnout.
Sep 13 2020
The Circus travels to Kenosha, Wisconsin, the site of a week of civil unrest after the shooting of Jacob Blake. President Trump attempts to redefine the struggle for racial justice into a political choice between Black and Blue lives with his visit. And kicking off his campaign travel, Joe Biden faces the challenge of satisfying all wings of the Democratic party while condemning looting & violence. Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes joins Alex Wagner to speak on police reform and his states' response to protests.
Sep 06 2020
The Circus is in the thick of the Republic National Convention in D.C., covering speakers, key speeches and the subsequent public reaction. Among other steady Trump confidants, Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz preview the race ahead and break down President Trump's appeal to swing voters. Can Republicans offer a winning perspective on "law & order" in response to national rallies over recent police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin?
Aug 30 2020
During the first-ever virtual Democratic National Convention, The Circus takes an in-depth look at the party's efforts to hold the best unconventional convention. Hosts dissect strategy, speeches and media coverage, as well as the Trump campaign's counter-programming attempts in Joe Biden's hometown of Scranton, PA. With the wisdom of her 2016 convention lingering, Hilary Clinton joins guest contributor Jennifer Palmieri to discuss Joe Biden's long road ahead as the Democratic nominee taking on President Trump.
Aug 23 2020
Hot off the press after an interminable hiatus, The Circus returns with all the reaction to Joe Biden's monumental VP selection: Sen. Kamala Harris, the first woman of color to appear on any major party ticket. As forceful coverage from conservatives looms, former Veep candidates offer their candid advice. Elsewhere, the hosts get a behind-the-scenes look at the planning of history's first-ever virtual Democratic National Convention. Mid-season premiere.
Aug 16 2020
The results of the Big Tuesday Democratic primaries in 6 states cemented Joe Biden's frontrunner status and gave him a seemingly insurmountable lead in delegates over rival Bernie Sanders. But Sanders has announced he isn't dropping out, and is planning to debate Biden and continue to push his progressive agenda. Meanwhile, with cancelled rallies and limits on travel, the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the race in ways large and small.
Mar 15 2020
In the run up to the Democratic primaries on Super Tuesday, The Circus covers the political theater of the annual Civil Rights march in Selma, AL, the endorsements of candidates who dropped out, and the remaining candidates crisscrossing the country in a last-minute hunt for undecided votes. And when the results of Super Tuesday turn the race upside down, the hosts check in with experienced Democratic strategists to wade through the repercussions.
Mar 08 2020
In the week of the South Carolina Democratic primary, with Super Tuesday closely following, voters are deciding if there is a viable challenger to leading candidate Bernie Sanders. African American voters in South Carolina and beyond could bolster Joe Biden�s campaign, but will the results dramatically affect the race going forward?
Mar 01 2020
All eyes have turned to Nevada and its Democratic caucus. Bernie Sanders has the chance to cement his frontrunner status with a strong showing, and the other candidates are looking for opportunities to challenge him. The arrival of Michael Bloomberg on the debate stage shakes things up, with every candidate seeking to take on his controversial campaign. And with the memory of the botched Iowa caucus still fresh, Tom Perez, the president of the Democratic National Committee, is on the ground in Nevada to make sure this caucus runs smoothly.
Feb 23 2020
The Circus is on the ground for the New Hampshire primary: the lead up, the results, and the fallout. With Bernie Sanders emerging as the favorite for the progressive branch of the Democratic party, and suddenly-ascendant Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar making compelling cases for the moderates, electability arguments are solidifying now that actual votes are being cast and results are coming in. Meanwhile, Michael Bloomberg waits in the wings, threatening to change everything.
Feb 16 2020
In one of the wildest political weeks in memory, the fumbled tallies at the Democratic Iowa caucus prevented the typical winnowing of candidates and essential momentum builds for the victors. With the stakes of the New Hampshire Democratic primary dramatically raised, all eyes go to the Friday night debate stage. Meanwhile, President Trump has the wind at his back, with a completed State of the Union address and an acquittal on both articles of impeachment from the Senate.
Feb 09 2020
In the last full week before the caucuses, the focus is on Iowa and the closing pitch all of the Democratic candidates are making to voters. Campaign leaders for the major candidates weigh in on their final sprints, what they're excited about, and what is keeping them up at night. And even as his impeachment trial is underway in Washington, President Trump makes an appearance at an Iowa rally and The Circus is there to cover it.
Feb 02 2020
The impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump begins in earnest, and the all-important Iowa caucuses are less than two weeks away. With three of the top five presidential candidates locked in the Senate chamber hearing testimony, the Iowa race is too close to predict. Biden and Buttigieg have the state to themselves�and they're taking advantage of it�while Senators Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar must rely on surrogates at campaign events and off-hour interviews from DC.
Jan 26 2020

Season 4

16 Episodes

Political analysts examine potential outcomes of the impeachment inquiry by taking the pulse of Congress members, Presidential campaigns, and Trump loyalists.
Nov 10 2019
A visit to Iowa for the all-important Liberty and Justice Celebration where past Democratic Presidential winners like Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter have broken out from tight races.
Nov 03 2019
The Circus does a deep dive into the longtime federal government agencies and bureaucrats involved in Congress� ongoing impeachment inquiry, otherwise dubbed by President Trump as the "deep state.�
Oct 27 2019
With Congress back in session after a two-week recess, everyone in the capital seems to be in fighting mode. Democrats are pursuing the impeachment inquiry at an aggressive pace, and members of Congress from both parties weigh in about the closed-door hearings. The President and his Republican supporters loudly defend his actions in both Ukraine and Syria. And the Democratic 2020 contenders participated in a heated debate in which everyone tried hard to differentiate themselves and be heard above the fray.
Oct 20 2019
How are key players responding to these desperate times? The President seems to have crafted his defense of the impeachment inquiry, and he's pushing it forcefully. The whistleblowers risked their careers to come forward, can they be protected? And the lower-tier 2020 Democratic candidates must fight even harder to be heard over the tidal wave of impeachment news, while Joe Biden faces a critical test of his candidacy. Special guest Jennifer Palmieri, a veteran of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Bill Clinton White House, joins the hosts.
Oct 13 2019
The Circus fans out across the country to cover the rapidly-evolving impeachment story through the lens of 2020 presidential campaigns. Meanwhile, in the capital, the hosts track breaking news developments as the White House and others react to the impeachment inquiry and findings thus far. And as members of Congress return to their districts for the fall recess, The Circus attends their town hall meetings with constituents to capture voter reactions.
Oct 06 2019
The launch of the official impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump. As news roils the capital and the entire nation, the hosts track down Democratic congressional leaders, members of the House Intelligence Committee, and prominent Republicans in a momentous week for both sides of the political aisle.
Sep 29 2019
The Circus returns with an update on where things stand in the 2020 presidential race. On the Democratic side, the three leading candidates � Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren � are crisscrossing the country trying to get their message across, while the party as a whole is debating what it will take to beat Trump. Meanwhile, the President has an unprecedented number of Republican primary challengers to contend with, which could have an impact on his election strategy.
Sep 22 2019
Donald Trump is currently engaged in a three-front war over the future of his presidency: one with Congress over his border wall, another with his potential Democratic challengers in 2020, and a third on the legal front.
Mar 17 2019
THE CIRCUS takes a deep dive into the Democratic party. There is a movement to tack left towards more progressive policies. On the other hand, many feel that the best way to convert Trump voters in 2020 is to move towards the center.
Mar 10 2019
It's an action-packed week for President Trump on two fronts, creating a split-screen effect for the American people. On one hand, the President travels to Vietnam to meet with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and have a big moment on the world stage. On the other hand, the President's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testifies before Congress about potential presidential dirt he may have. Emily Jane Fox, a reporter for Vanity Fair who has been following Cohen, joins the hosts this week to help cover the hearings.
Mar 03 2019
What exactly constitutes a national emergency? For President Trump, it is clearly securing the U.S. southern border. But others have very different ideas, including gun violence, the opioid crisis and climate change, to name a few. This week THE CIRCUS compares and contrasts various perceived national emergencies and covers people on the front lines of each one.
Feb 24 2019
The 2020 election is looming large in the capital. Campaign season is here early and more and more candidates are jumping in each week. THE CIRCUS follows declared and potential candidates Amy Klobuchar and Beto O�Rourke at the top of the week, and tracks ongoing news of the potential government shutdown, the border wall battle, and the Green New Deal back in D.C.
Feb 17 2019
As President Trump toys with declaring a state of emergency in order to be able to begin construction of his border wall, his administration is in the spotlight. The House Intelligence Committee is ramping up investigations of Trump on multiple fronts, and is collaborating with Robert Mueller's team.
Feb 10 2019
The list of former allies who are turning on Donald Trump grows daily, the Mueller investigation continues to circle him and the Democrats have been unrelenting in their attacks. The President�s increasing vulnerability has led to a bumper crop of potential 2020 challengers, all of whom are hoping to be the one to unseat him.
Feb 03 2019
On the season premiere of The Circus, it's a new world order in Washington as a Democratic majority in the House puts a check on the Trump presidency. The second half of his term has begun with total gridlock, a government shutdown, and federal workers lining up for free hot meals. Meanwhile, freshmen representatives are putting a new face on Congress�and introducing a new reality, and the investigation of Trump takes a surprising turn in the wake of Michael Cohen postponing his congressional testimony.
Jan 27 2019

Season 3

15 Episodes

This special one-hour season finale is all about the midterms: before, during and after. In the run-up to election day, The Circus visits some of the high-profile campaigns to catch their final pushes. On election day, we're backstage and on set at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where John Heilemann and Alex Wagner are guests as the results are coming in. Then we cover the fallout of the historic election, from Trump's reaction to the surprising changes to the political landscape in Washington and beyond.
Nov 11 2018
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.
Nov 04 2018
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.
Oct 28 2018
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.
Oct 21 2018
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.
Oct 14 2018
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.
Oct 07 2018
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.
Sep 30 2018
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.
Sep 23 2018
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.
Sep 16 2018
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.
May 20 2018
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.
May 13 2018
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.
May 06 2018
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.
Apr 29 2018
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.
Apr 22 2018
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.
Apr 15 2018

Season 2

8 Episodes

Washington insiders join John Heilemann, Mark Halperin and Mark McKinnon for a look at some of the thrilling, amazing and logic defying acts performed during President Trump's first 100 days. Season finale.
May 07 2017
What has President Trump learned from his first 100 days in office? As Congress reconvenes, Mark McKinnon and John Heilemann head to Capitol Hill to find out. Mark Halperin is in New York City to get Wall Street�s perspective.
Apr 30 2017
How are the Democrats resisting Trump? Mark Halperin talks to Elizabeth Warren about standing strong. Bernie Sanders tells John Heilemann about taking his message to the people. Americans talk about what resistance means to them.
Apr 23 2017
Congress may be in recess but Mark Halperin is on the job, covering the White House and the Syria fallout. John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon hit the road to see what Americans think about how President Trump is handling the situation.
Apr 16 2017
What in the world is going on? This week is all about foreign policy: President Trump's military response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria and its impact on his ongoing delicate dance with Russia.
Apr 09 2017
What do people outside the Beltway really think about President Trump? Mark Halperin takes a trip through America to find the answers. Then he heads to New Orleans to discuss his surprising findings with Mary Matalin.
Apr 02 2017
Mark Halperin talks with Senator Patrick Leahy about Neil Gorsuch�s Supreme Court nomination, Congressman Adam Schiff weighs in on Trump�s alleged ties to Russia and Joe Biden enters the fray surrounding the healthcare bill.
Mar 26 2017
Mark Halperin takes a ride on Airforce One with President Donald Trump. We look at the debate surrounding the healthcare bill and hear from both sides, including Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul and the White House. Season premiere.
Mar 19 2017

Season 1

26 Episodes

In a special hour-long episode finale of the real-time documentary series, Mark Halperin, John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon go behind the scenes of both campaigns in the lead up to Election Day - and the fallout that followed.
Nov 13 2016
Clinton in Arizona? Trump in Washington? As different polls predict differing outcomes both campaigns make a case in far-fetched battlegrounds. In a race that's either up for grabs or already decided, hope, it seems, springs eternal.
Nov 06 2016
The final two-week push going into the election sees the full weight of the White House come out in force for Clinton's campaign, including one man who has the potential to swing those states still up for grabs: Joe Biden.
Oct 30 2016
Amid claims of foreign intervention, international espionage and widespread hacking, Clinton faces what might turn out to be her toughest opponent to date: WikiLeaks, and the trove of highly sensitive, private emails it's made public.
Oct 23 2016
Tracking the fallout from the second debate and the scandal surrounding a now-infamous audio tape, could this be the final nail in Trump's campaign coffin - or can he pull off a surprise October Surprise to rally yet another comeback?
Oct 16 2016
Preparations for the debate; the candidates cede the spotlight to those who cover the political news.
Oct 02 2016
As Clinton and Trump prepare for the first of their debates, the campaigns target a handful of states that could swing the election, including the must-win battleground of Florida.
Sep 25 2016
Revelations about Clinton's pneumonia and scrutiny surrounding Trump's medical records lead to questions of their fitness to lead. As each campaign tries to avoid the issues, heat is put on their running mates.
Sep 18 2016
The Trump campaign finds itself running from behind and tries to close the gap on Clinton, even as members of his party start to publicly jump ship.
Sep 11 2016
The jeers and boos of Sanders diehards ring out in Philadelphia, before the Democrats at last make Hillary a historic nominee. But is shattering a glass ceiling enough for Clinton and Kaine to unite the party into a winning coalition?
Jul 31 2016
The political circus goes into overdrive as Trump is crowned the Republican nominee - and Melania, controversially, speaks! Capitalizing on his children to help humanize his image, can Trump plus Pence finally rally a unified party?
Jul 24 2016
No president is complete without a veep. As Trump auditions Chris Christie, Mike Pence and Newt Gingrich and Clinton considers Tim Kaine, can the candidates find the right-hand man for the job who will make, not break, their campaign?
Jul 17 2016
Game On 1x14
While the nation celebrates July 4th, Trump and Clinton engage in their own fireworks. With the reemergence of Clinton's email scandal and Trump's latest faux pas, the titans go on the attack to take each other down.
Jul 10 2016
From the early primary battles to the Super Tuesday showdown and beyond, pull back the curtain on the 2016 presidential race with Mark Halperin, John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon - and catch up on the electrifying first twelve weeks.
Apr 10 2016
Ahead of a Wisconsin showdown the candidates crisscross the state in pursuit of competing agendas. Can Kasich, Cruz or Sanders secure their position as spoilers - or will Clinton and Trump finally be crowned their party's Big Cheese?
Apr 03 2016
Foreign policy comes to the fore as the political climate grows fiery in the wake of the attacks in Brussels. As Trump and Clinton prepare to square off, can either of them prove their presidential mettle in handling the heat?
Mar 27 2016
While Rubio gets trumped in Florida, the rest of the candidates remain cautiously optimistic. But are high hopes what they need to pull off a win and secure the nomination - or are they just delusional?
Mar 20 2016
It's make or break time for Rubio, Kasich and Sanders. As the candidates pin their hopes on Florida and Ohio, can they gather enough momentum to force a brokered convention - or will their campaigns finally run out of steam?
Mar 13 2016
With big wins for the frontrunners on Super Tuesday the rest of candidates are reckoning with the results. But the biggest story of all might be one both Democratic and Republican establishments can agree on: how do they stop Trump?
Mar 06 2016
With the field narrowed down to The Big Five, the campaigns spread their game across the country and play to their strengths - with eyes squarely focused on the all-important upcoming prize: Super Tuesday.
Feb 28 2016
As the campaigns head towards the final stretch leading to Nevada and South Carolina, there's growing anxiety among both frontrunners and stragglers about just how high the stakes are - and the significance of falling behind.
Feb 21 2016
From the electric jolt of New Hampshire to the hard truths coming up in South Carolina and Nevada. Trump tastes victory, Kasich picks up momentum - and Bush faces the prospect of an impending do-or-die reality.
Feb 14 2016
Inside the Iowa fallout and who's got momentum leading into New Hampshire.
Feb 07 2016
This episode follows the angst and drama leading up to the Iowa caucuses, with a showdown brewing between Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and the GOP's first real test of outsider candidates versus the establishment.
Jan 31 2016
The second episode follows Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. John Kasich as they prepare for the all-important, first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire.
Jan 24 2016
The campaigns of three "outsiders" - Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump - are given behind-the-scenes attention on the road to the Iowa caucus. Series premiere.
Jan 17 2016