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Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra
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Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra

Author: Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

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As a new authoritarian movement rises in American politics, stoked by one of the country’s most outrageous demagogues, there is an all-out international manhunt for an American traitor. The U.S. Army’s Nazi war crimes trials in Germany have been infiltrated by a spy -- a mole for the other side. A gruesome foreign influence operation unfolds in Washington. A blackmail plot turns deadly in the U.S. Senate. A Hail Mary scheme to stop the counting of the Electoral College votes rattles democracy’s cage. With the line between the violent ultra-right and mainstream American politics fraying beyond recognition, with the FBI always one step behind their quarry, Americans of all stripes step up to confront a seemingly unstoppable, ascendant, anti-democratic force. Join Rachel Maddow for Episode One, launching June 10, 2024, and follow now. You can also subscribe to MSNBC Premium on Apple Podcasts for early access to every episode the Friday before it drops, and ad-free listening to all episodes in Ultra seasons one and two.
17 Episodes
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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

2022-10-1038:4926

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

2022-10-1740:5017

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

2022-10-2440:1719

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

2022-10-3152:1211

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

2022-11-0743:5115

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

2022-11-1446:0715

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

2022-11-2101:00:5726

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. 
As a new authoritarian movement rises in American politics, stoked by one of the country’s most outrageous demagogues, there is an all-out international manhunt for an American traitor. The U.S. Army’s Nazi war crimes trials in Germany have been infiltrated by a spy -- a mole for the other side. A gruesome foreign influence operation unfolds in Washington. A blackmail plot turns deadly in the U.S. Senate. A Hail Mary scheme to stop the counting of the Electoral College votes rattles democracy’s cage. With the line between the violent ultra-right and mainstream American politics fraying beyond recognition, with the FBI always one step behind their quarry, Americans of all stripes step up to confront a seemingly unstoppable, ascendant, anti-democratic force. Join Rachel Maddow for Episode One, launching June 10, 2024, and follow now. You can also subscribe to MSNBC Premium on Apple Podcasts for early access to every episode the Friday before it drops, and ad-free listening to all episodes in Ultra seasons one and two.
Episode 1: Dr. Hunt

Episode 1: Dr. Hunt

2024-06-1040:4353

The sudden and shocking suicide of a popular Democratic Senator, inside his Senate office, stuns the country and the nation’s capital. And soon, a series of bombshell revelations concerning the circumstances around the senator’s death will start to reveal a web of troubling forces at work on the American ultra right in the post-war 1950s.This episode contains descriptions that reference self-harm. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat live at 988lifeline.org. You can also visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional support.
Episode 2: The Mole

Episode 2: The Mole

2024-06-1741:1529

The American government launches an all-out manhunt for a young American ultra-right fascist who harbors sympathy for the Nazis and who is actively peddling one of the world's most dangerous weapons. Francis Yockey’s journey -- and the government’s intense search for him -- will soon leave a mark on American politics for decades to come.
Episode 3: Malmedy

Episode 3: Malmedy

2024-06-2446:4117

One of the most shocking incidents of World War II for Americans -- a cold-blooded Nazi massacre of surrendering American troops -- gets weaponized against the United States by surviving Nazis hoping to return to power, as well as a group of Americans sympathetic to their cause. A gruesome hoax around the massacre, cooked up by the Nazis, will soon rocket through American politics.
In a live conversation recorded at the Provincetown, MA Town Hall on May 26, Rachel and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner discuss “Ultra,” her book “Prequel,” and the rise of fascism both throughout history and in our current political moment. 
Episode 4: Spectacle

Episode 4: Spectacle

2024-07-0846:2819

Elements of the American ultra right -- including the trailing ends of the America First movement -- begin taking up a strange new cause after the war... sympathy for Nazi war criminals. The surprising efforts to oppose the Nazi war crimes trials, and advocate for individual Nazis at home and abroad, will involve some of the most high-profile voices on the American right, and will jumpstart the career of one rising Republican star, Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
Episode 5: Coming Home

Episode 5: Coming Home

2024-07-1555:3611

The U.S. government’s search for American fascist Francis Yockey picks up steam as Yockey secretly returns home to America and joins forces with the growing pro-Nazi American ultra right. With investigators continually one step behind, Yockey suddenly turns up alongside one of the country's most powerful political figures who is ascending toward the height of his powers.
As Sen. Joseph McCarthy's activities -- and his troubling connections to those on the ultra right -- are exposed in the press, Democratic Sen. Lester Hunt launches a final effort to take McCarthy on and rein in his abuses. In response, McCarthy and his allies launch a coordinated blackmail campaign against Hunt, using his own family, that will ultimately end in tragedy. 
Comments (147)

Jon

I just heard Rachel say that she thinks our democracy was "divinely inspired" so that we, as a people, could be shown to lead ourselves...or some other nonsense. Is Rachel a product of the Enlightenment or is she of a more theocratic disposition? Very strange, to me. Concerning this podcasr, I've enjoyed listening to all of them. Having said that, there's virtually no original source materials. This isn't groundbreaking journalism here. It's essentially an elaborate book report.

Jul 24th
Reply

P Kittler

A painful education. It is truly disheartening to learn that the US has chosen to fertilize and reward fascist behavior over and over, rather than grind it into the dust, as I believe the founders laid the base in order to do.

Jul 22nd
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Bonnie Wixom

this story would seem more sensational if our national media was not a propaganda arm today.

Jul 14th
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Judy Huelskamp

Another great podcast from Rachael Maddow.

Jul 11th
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Debbie Gordon

, , z

Jul 10th
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PJ

Easter egg for those who stick it out?

Jul 10th
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Irene Jane

I can't express how grateful I am for the time and knowledge you shared with me. I'm grateful that you're my first choice for inspiration as usual. https://hurdlegame.io

Jul 9th
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Bea Kiddo

Rachel Maddow books and or podcasts should be shown in high schools across America. This is a cheat sheet for our future. #traitortrump #saveourdemocracy

Jul 1st
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Tina Johnson

this sounds like what is going on with the Republicans right now wow what the heck

Jun 26th
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Alfred Fleming

No theories are needed here. We can find the info ourselves if we choose to look and not have a blind eye. Or do we dare not to?

Jun 19th
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Connie Kaess

Absolutely amazing and equally terrifying. So relevant to today's politics! Thank you Rachel and your team!!

Jun 15th
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Alisia Barbour

I knew about a lot of this (one name in the American businessmen who worked with and was award the Iron Cross, by Adolf Hitler, himself, was Henry Ford, a staunch supporter of the Third Reich).

Jun 15th
Reply (1)

Eduardo Gonzalez

What leads you to believe that these stories are made by Democrats?

Jun 11th
Reply (1)

Jenny Mummert

Fascinating, Rachel. Thank you for working so hard to inform us. Difficult times ahead.

Jun 11th
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michael gilman

Googled Hunt. The issue that brought him to suicide is what I figured it was. Please turn the volume of the background strings down. The slow reveal is somewhat passe in the age of Google, no?

Jun 11th
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Peter Gooley

hmmm.. seems like the current Maga maniacs have been listening to your podcast. So much of this is exactly what we are seeing and hearing right now in the courts. As far as the current higher courts, it appears they have filled one of the failure points of the last attempt. This makes your podcast even more brilliant since this is from 2022.

Jun 11th
Reply (1)

Peter Gooley

Rachel, I sure hope you've sent this podcast to the democrats in the senate and the house. The latest installment of the 2 Maga maniacs to the intelligence committee fits right in with this playbook. They will directly be able to warn their machinery before they are arrested or shutdown. Good luck with all of this. What a fantastic and determind team you all are.

Jun 11th
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Bea Kiddo

God I hope this isn’t our future in America. It sure sounds like it’s happening again. I wish people would see and realize that Trump is a real deal traitor.

Jun 10th
Reply (1)

Sharon Wright Bower

Amazing work!

Jun 6th
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Judy Huelskamp

Anxiously awaiting Ultra P.2!!!

Jun 3rd
Reply (1)