As Jay says, John O’Sullivan is one of the most eminent political journalists in the English-speaking world. He is British — a Liverpudlian, and an exact contemporary of the Beatles — but he has lived all over and worked all over. In this “Q&A,” he joins Jay from his home in Budapest.

He talks about the British election. And Brexit. And the EU. And NATO. And immigration/assimilation. And other critical issues of our time. He also answers such questions as, “How did you acquire your views?”

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Richard Brookhiser is a journalist and historian — the author of many books about the Founders. His latest book is Founders’ Son, about Abraham Lincoln and his relation to the founding generation.

Brookhiser is also Jay’s fellow senior editor at National Review — and, in this podcast, they cover a lot of ground.

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Well, the emergency was averted. Mona and Jay managed to record their discussion without the guiding hand of their producer. Kathy Griffin, Oslo Freedom Forum, Trump relatives, Russia, violence, campuses, pronouns. Not to be missed.

Music is from Dmitri Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite, waltz number 2.

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A few weeks ago, President Trump made some remarks about the Civil War. He said, “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?” He also said that Andrew Jackson – had he been “a little bit later” – would have prevented the war.

Jay takes the occasion to have a “Q&A” with one of the most distinguished historians of the United States, and in particular of the American South: J. Mills Thornton III. They talk about the origins of the Civil War; the effect of slavery on Manifest Destiny; the issue of the Confederate flag today; and other things.

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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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