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Sitting members of Congress aiding and abetting a plot to overthrow the government. Insurrectionists criminally charged with plotting to end American democracy for good. Justice Department prosecutors under crushing political pressure. Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra is the all-but-forgotten true story of good, old-fashioned American extremism getting supercharged by proximity to power. When extremist elected officials get caught plotting against America with the violent ultra right, this is the story of the lengths they will go to… to cover their tracks. Follow now and join Rachel Maddow for the first two episodes on October 10th.
Episode 1: Trip 19

Episode 1: Trip 19

2022-10-1038:49129

It started with a plane crash. The tragic, mysterious crash of a commercial airliner in the summer of 1940 left a scene of devastation in rural Virginia -- and a series of unanswered questions. The cause of the crash was unclear. Among the dozens of people killed was a sitting U.S. senator. His presence on the flight and the strange circumstances surrounding the crash would end up revealing threats to American democracy itself.
The most prominent media figure in America calls for the creation of a militia, armed Americans willing to use violence to get their way. What they want is to overthrow the U.S. government and to end democracy in this country – by force. Their plot raised alarming indications that the federal government is not up to the task of dealing with that kind of homegrown threat.
Episode 3: The Day

Episode 3: The Day

2022-10-1740:5080

A devastating explosion rips through a munitions plant in a small New Jersey town. And the American public is left with the chilling fact that the federal government had been warned about such an attack almost a year prior. The tip had come from a private spy ring operating in Los Angeles that was intent on doing what law enforcement had largely failed to do. Infiltrate far-right groups plotting violence across the country, and foil their plots before it was too late.
Episode 4: A Bad Angle

Episode 4: A Bad Angle

2022-10-2440:1768

A paid agent of Hitler's government ramps up a targeted propaganda effort aimed at weakening democracy and supporting the fascist cause in America. His base of operations... the center of American democracy itself -- the United States Congress. Sitting members of Congress, and the America First movement, take part in an elaborate scheme to subvert democracy. Laundering millions of pieces of Nazi propaganda through Congress and into the hands of the American people.
Episode 5: Shut It Down

Episode 5: Shut It Down

2022-10-3152:1277

The walls begin to close in on members of Congress, and members of the America First movement, who are actively involved in a Nazi plot to spread misinformation and propaganda across the country. With a crusading newspaper reporter and a Justice Department prosecutor each peeling back the layers of the scheme, the members of Congress involved in the plot launch a desperate effort to shut down both the reporting and the federal investigation into their activities.
Episode 6: Bedlam

Episode 6: Bedlam

2022-11-0743:5152

The most high-profile sedition trial in American history kicks off inside a Washington, DC federal courtroom. The members of Congress who attempted to quash the investigation are now faced with a super-charged indictment and a brand new Justice Department prosecutor who is battle tested and up for the challenge. What he finds as the curtain rises on the trial, though, is something that he is wholly unprepared for: pre-planned, unmitigated chaos. 
Episode 7: Rinse, Repeat

Episode 7: Rinse, Repeat

2022-11-1446:0746

The largest mass sedition trial in American history churns on. And continues descending into chaos. But the dozens of sedition defendants attempting to wreak havoc on the proceedings would soon get a high-profile assist. From serving members of Congress injecting themselves into the trial and coming to the defense of the accused seditionists standing trial. Before a verdict can be reached, one final twist calls into question whether the Justice Department will see the case to the end, or cut bait entirely.
Episode 8: Ultra Vires

Episode 8: Ultra Vires

2022-11-2101:00:5760

In the wake of the sedition trial's collapse, Justice Department prosecutor John Rogge travels overseas and uncovers a bombshell. He finds evidence of a coordinated effort to subvert American democracy… as well as the names of high-profile Americans involved. Rogge then returns to America... and goes rogue. Risking his career as a prosecutor, he makes public what he's discovered about the fascist threat and the Americans who supported it. And he offers a prescient warning about an American criminal justice system that is ill-equipped to defend democracy from those who seek to destroy it. 
Comments (81)

Julie Nance

This is scary. THIS part I feel like shouldn't be made too public- it will give the current Ultra right "America First" folks too many ideas! They already act crazy like this, it wouldn't be much of a stretch for them to start doing it in courtrooms. On the other hand, this should be taught in every law school. Every judge should know about this and know how to keep order in their courtroom to prevent such horrific shenanigans. (Also, why on earth did the DOJ try all the seditionists in one trial together? Current DOJ seems to be smarter about it so far- small Seditious Conspiracy trials are getting convictions.)

Dec 6th
Reply (1)

Julie Nance

Everyone needs to hear this. All the parallels today to this history Rachel brilliantly lays out for us- scare the shit out of me. My jaw dropped too many times to count. I'm scared for our future...it feels like the major leaders of the ultra right wing movement of today have studied history and they're repeating those things that worked back then. The rest of America was ill equipped then and ... I fear we are even less prepared to deal with these threats. It's sobering to think- all these people talked about in this podcast, all the Nazis, domestic terrorists, many of whom were members of freaking Congress...remained Americans. They have children and grandchildren living today, perhaps spreading the same ideals they pushed. I'm surprised there was only one current-day name drop: Glenn Beck. Absolute shame on him for bringing these ideas back up, spreading it to his listeners. I expected or hoped Rachel had traced lineages of the people she highlighted. It would be interesting to know if there are any descendents who hold any type of office now. Journalists, office holders, DOJ and other government officials- please please hold the line with your integrity, fight for democracy.

Dec 6th
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Kelly Rodriguez-Rains

well done Rachel and all involved with bringing this to light...I am not uneducated but I had no idea of this part in American history...totally fascinating and quite scary especially as is seems history is repeating itself.

Dec 5th
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Heather Farris

The single most important story never heard. Ultra needs to be a major motion picture by the next voting cycle. THANK YOU for educating us. I'm evangelizing this show left and right.

Dec 2nd
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Alesia Baldwin

Another great podcast. Thank you for reminding us of our history. The educational systems seems to have forgotten to teach this even on collegiate levels! High praises 👏

Dec 1st
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Eli Rivers

Thank you very much Rachel et al. I hope Heather Cox Richardson is aware of this hidden history. She also supports the "pendulum" view of our politics, however hers is more related to economics. Here, it's between democratic vs totalitarian.

Nov 29th
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Don Ross

Excellent series and explains so many recent events in Europe and the US - Trump, Britain's vote to leave the EU, the invasion of Ukraine, rise of populism. Putin clearly studied the Nazi playbook.

Nov 28th
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Susan Wood

Great story and so relevant to today. but I couldn't listen to all of it as the background music and speech caused pain.I am sensitive to sound and cannot cope with music and speech at the same time as it triggers migraines and fits. Not an uncommon condition. Please when editing don't put music and speech together. It is really difficult for those of us who have sensitive brains like stroke victims, migraines, ptsd, adhd, fibromyalgia, autism, anxiety, hard of hearng. Don't cut out a large part of your audience. I have been listening to an audio book on the same topic which is very interesting. Hopefully this will become a book or I can read the transcript to catch the parts I can't listen to as they triggered pain.

Nov 27th
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Teddy

Great podcast. All I can say is "Who knew?" This makes me want to drill more into this history. Thank you.

Nov 23rd
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Anna Marroquin

Thank you all for putting this together to inform those of us who listened. I had no idea that our Government had done this before. I'm shocked and at the same time I'm not, given where we are today. Thank God for Rachel Meadow and all of you 💜 Again thank you all.

Nov 23rd
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Janet Ploss

Rachel, This is the finest piece of journalism I have ever experienced. You are an amazing storyteller, meticulous researcher and you chose a story that could not be more relevant. Thank you!!!

Nov 22nd
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PJ

Brilliantly written and researched by Maddow and the entire team. Brava!

Nov 22nd
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MAC Sam

The ACLU, needs to pay attention to these historical lessons that we know little to nothing about. This needs to be made into a movie for sure, quite an inheritance, thanks Rachel for shining a light on all this!

Nov 22nd
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Sassy Saint

Netflix needs to make a mini series of ULTRA. Excellent work Rachel and to all those who worked on this!

Nov 21st
Reply (1)

Judy Huelskamp

Never learned about this in era in history. Another amazing Maddow project. Thank you.

Nov 21st
Reply (1)

Chips Fowler

So being clowns and making everything they don't like a clown show is not a current thing, but they have years of practice doing just that. Same as it ever was.

Nov 15th
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Miguel Batchelor

Such an interesting story. Not quite sure I understand the choice of music though. You're telling a story about American Nazi sympathizers plotting to kill American citizens and take over the country but the music seems more suited for a Disney sitcom. I feel like I'm listening to a whimsical murder mystery, and the story couldn't be more dire, and not really much of a mystery either. It's just you're average run of the mill right wing racist nazi's doing what nazi's always do. Terrorizing and threatening anyone they don't like. This trend is a very scary thing across the entire planet, and shouldn't be treated with kid gloves or made out to be "light hearted" or "whimsical". If we ALL don't start taking this threat seriously, we will eventually fall victim to its darkest desires.

Nov 15th
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S. E. Wigget

Essential watching: The U. S. and the Holocaust (PBS documentary)

Nov 13th
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keith tkach

Rachel, you've outdone yourself. It's 2am, I'm exhausted. But I'm going to listen to the next episode now.

Nov 12th
Reply (1)

Chips Fowler

After these three episodes and the whole Bag Man series, it seems like things really have not changed a lot. Still have right wing groups behaving the same way. Claiming they have been wronged and it always somebody else's fault.

Nov 8th
Reply
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