Vladimir Kara-Murza is a Russian democracy leader, and one brave hombre. Twice, he has been poisoned. Twice, he recovered. And he is still at his work.

Jay wrote about him earlier this year in a three-part series: Part I, Part II, and Part III. And Kara-Murza is Jay’s guest on this “Q&A.”

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Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980. Since then, it has been ruled by one man: Robert Mugabe, the dictator. Like most Zimbabweans, Evan Mawarire has never known any other leader. Today, he is Mugabe’s worst nightmare: a principled, moral, talented, brave critic.

Mawarire is a Christian pastor. Last year, he made a video, expressing love of country, and exasperation at the longstanding dictatorship. The video went viral in Zimbabwe. Mawarire was arrested, of course, and eventually had to flee the country with his family. He has since returned (and, of course, been arrested again).

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This week, Jay has been at the Oslo Freedom Forum, the annual human-rights gathering in the Norwegian capital. Its founder is Thor Halvorssen, who also started the Human Rights Foundation, which is based in New York.

And he is Jay’s guest on this “Q&A.”

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Gao Zhisheng is one of the most heroic men in China, or anywhere. He is a human-rights lawyer who has put his neck on the line and paid for it with ten years of imprisonment and torture.

His wife and two children fled to America. One of those children is Grace, a senior in college, who is presently at the Oslo Freedom Forum, where Jay is too. They sat down for this “Q&A.” What’s it like to be the daughter of such a man? What does it do to you?

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It’s been a terrible week for Trump – which means a terrible week for those who love this country. Jay and Mona consider the implications of the Russia probe, Flynn’s conduct, the Comey business, and the president’s leaked comments to the Russians about Comey. What a world. The podcast ends with some happy musings about music, and a note of hope, if not exactly optimism, from Jay.

Music is Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Third movement.

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Daniel Krauthammer joins Need to Know to talk of the divide on the right over nationalism versus patriotism. Is nationalism a good impulse or not? He also offers views on the Comey firing.

Jay and Mona then speak of the French elections, immigration, the unfilled jobs in the Trump Administration, how to boost the economy, Prince Phillip’s retirement, uniforms (school and otherwise), and the great Kate O’Beirne – RIP.

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Diana Damrau is an opera star – a German soprano – and a total delight. Jay sat down with her in New York for this “Q&A.” They talk about her new album – a compilation of Meyerbeer – and many other things: her children, her favorite singers, her technique, her dancing (including Michael Jackson routines).

No one can resist this soprano onstage. She is pretty irresistible in interviews, too. See what you think.

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John Negroponte is one of the leading diplomats of our age. When he was a young man, he was at Henry Kissinger’s side in Vietnam. He had a Latin American career, including the ambassadorships to Mexico and Honduras. He was also ambassador to the Philippines.

In the George W. Bush years, he was ambassador to Iraq, and ambassador to the U.N. He was also director of national intelligence and deputy secretary of state.

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At Claremont McKenna College, in Claremont, Calif., there is a student-hosted podcast: “Free Food (For Thought).” Jay was on the campus recently. And he sat down for a podcast with two hosts, Zach Wong and Bryn Miller. It was obviously unusual for Jay to be in the “A” chair, the answerer’s chair. He is used to being in the “Q” chair. So, for something different, we thought we would share this podcast with you. The hosts ask a range of questions, some of which require a little self-reflection. Jay balks at these. But he stumbles through, in his fashion.

Claremont McKenna College students conducted this podcast. They can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and SoundCloud.

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This is Tara Ross’s moment – an extended moment. She is one of the country’s foremost experts on the Electoral College. This institution was put in the spotlight in 2000. And again in 2016. Tara Ross is the author of “Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College”; a children’s book, “We Elect a President: The Story of Our Electoral College”; and the forthcoming “The Indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders’ Plan Saves Our Country from Mob Rule.”

Jay asks her a series of questions: Why do we have it? Is it fair? What should be changed about it? And so on.

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The Atlantic’s David Frum joins NTK to evaluate Trump’s first nearly 100 days. Mona plays Devil’s advocate with Frum, a Trump critic – at least for a while. Jay engages David about the French elections, and then conversation turns to the March for Science, O’Reilly, FoxNews, the Detroit Tigers, and David Selznick.

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University Challenge” is a British quiz show, watched all over the world (particularly on YouTube). A major star of the recent season was Eric Monkman, of Oakville, Ontario. He was the captain of a Cambridge team. And he wowed the world with — as Jay says — “his amazingly extensive knowledge; his unaffected, individualistic style; and his obvious generosity of spirit.”

A hashtag flew through the Internet: #monkmania. Jay confesses, happily, that he is a monkmaniac.

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Jay and Mona speak of normality (which they like in President Trump), the role of in-laws, how much religion is too much in an Indiana school, Steve Bannon, and a tribute to two of Mona’s current favorite shows.

Music is the theme from Doc Martin. 

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Venezuela is spinning out of control: starvation, desperation, chaos, fear. Hannah Dreier, the Associated Press correspondent in Caracas, is in the midst of it. In a briefing with Jay, she gives us the latest.

What does the latest include? The slums – the ruling party’s strongholds – turning against the party. The supreme court nullifying the congress. And then reversing itself. Opposition politicians seeking refuge in embassies. People getting thinner and thinner. People trying to leave, if they possibly can. Grandmothers protesting in the streets, along with the youth – something very rare.

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With his old friend Mark Farrell, the golf pro, Jay talks Masters 2017 – the shoot-out between Sergio Garcia of Spain and Justin Rose of Britain. Also, should golf be an Olympic sport? (Rose is the reigning gold medalist – the only one there has been, in the modern era.) Also, whatsamatter with Tiger? And so on. Mark Farrell is a guru and a treat. Even the un-golf-minded might well enjoy.

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Stranger things may have happened, but not lately. Jay and Mona welcome Bloomberg’s Eli Lake to talk national security, Syria, Susan Rice, chemical weapons, Russia, and more. Jay and Mona then find themselves defending our president against some of his disappointed fan boys.

Closing music is from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Op.24.

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With Norman Podhoretz, you can talk about practically anything – so Jay does. They talk about writing, of course. Few do it as well as NPod. They talk about his friend Shakespeare, and his friend Yeats. They talk about novels. (Podhoretz rates “Anna Karenina” number one.) They talk about music and ballet. Even math and science. And also politics, including Trump. And Europe – its fate. And Israel – its.

Lucky him, Jay has had many conversations with this extraordinary man. After this “Q&A,” Jay remarked, “This was maybe the best – along with all the other ones, of course.”

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For ten years – 2006 to 2016 – Toomas Hendrik Ilves was president of Estonia. He grew up in New Jersey. His parents, like many Estonian parents – if they were lucky – took refuge abroad.

With Jay, he talks a little about his life, and the great challenges facing his country, and liberal democracy in general. A name for those challenges would be Vladimir Putin.

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Eliot Cohen is a leading national-security scholar and an adviser to presidents, would-be presidents, and others. His latest book is The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power & the Necessity of Military Force. Jay asks him to take a tour around the world, and he does: beginning with Mexico, moving to Europe, moving to the Far East, and the Mideast, and elsewhere. They wind up talking about the Trump administration, which includes, in senior positions, longtime friends and comrades of Cohen’s. Spend some time with Professor Cohen, and you will have a heightened view of the world: its dangers and its promises.

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The sage George F. Will joins Jay and Mona to discuss the progress of Trumpcare, the condition of our political parties, and what daily lying does to our civic culture.

Jay and Mona then turn to the violence that Putin critics keep encountering, the hate crime hoaxes, Manafort, a rape in Maryland, Bannon, Nowruz, and dogs.

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A friend of Jay’s – a journalist in Washington – described Arthur Brooks as “the most interesting man in Washington, D.C.” Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute. Earlier in his life, he was a professional French-horn player. Jay talks to him about music – and about enterprise, the poor, nationalism, Americanism, and much else. Jay found this podcast exceptionally refreshing. You may well too.

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Daniel Hannan, the British writer and politician, was honored at the recent “ideas summit” of the National Review Institute. Jay sat down with him there, to talk about Britain, Europe, nationalism, patriotism, Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orbán, Vladimir Putin, and more. Burning issues addressed by a learned, experienced, and thoughtful man.

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A rare in person Need to Know this week as Jay and Mona participated in the National Review Institute’s Ideas Summit. One of the sharpest writers on Earth, Kevin Williamson, drops in to talk about the changing complexions of the Democratic and Republican parties, what it’s like to write for an Indian newspaper, and other things. There is even a dose of pop culture. Good cheer all around.

Music is the Washington Post March by John Phillip Sousa

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Health care is kind of the ball game in American politics. Screw this up, and voters will punish you. Jay and Mona chew over the American Health Care Act and spit out the pieces. Conversation then ranges to a special rapper, Silicon Valley parents, the thug/students at Middlebury College, and more.

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Robert P. George is a famed professor, working at Princeton University. He began modestly, in the hills of West Virginia. He went on to Swarthmore, Harvard, and Oxford. With Jay, he talks about a slew of issues, including abortion, gay marriage, nationalism, refugees, and lawyers. He also talks about the fate of our civilization. If it dies, he says, it will not be from evil but from cowardice (itself a kind of evil, to be sure).

An hour with Robby George is an hour with a genuine teacher and thinker.

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