Bill Browder, the man behind the Magnitsky Act and a tireless campaigner for human rights, joins to discuss the shady characters who met with Trump campaign officials last year. Browder knows them all, but his judgment is measured and cautious.

Jay and Mona also discuss whataboutism, the politics of jerseys, and slightly differ on the nature of Trump’s support.

Music from this week’s episode: Schubert Piano Trio in B flat, Andante movement

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Members have made 24 comments.

  1. Profile photo of George Townsend Member

    First, let me say how happy I was to see a new Need To Know Podcast. I need my weekly Need to Know fix, and am always sad and disappointed when I don’t see one. 🙂

    This one was, of course, very good. Full of substance. After days of going back and forth, on Ricochet, with people who just will not see the harm that Donald Trump is doing to our land, it is a pleasure to hear folk who will not overlook the good he has accomplished but who do not shy away from pointing out his many faults.

    While Jay has many things to commend him, he is right that he does go on. When Mona does get a word in, she is always insightful and to the point. It is right to keep in abeyance any final judgement about Don Jr., but he shouldn’t have had the meeting.

    I learned a lot from their guest, including that he had high hopes for Putin, only to have his ideals thrashed. I also did not know that Dana Roherbocker (forgive the spelling) was that bad. Thanks for that.

    Keep up the great work, guys. I wish we could have you more! 🙂

    • #1
    • July 15, 2017 at 6:44 am
    • Like4 likes
  2. Profile photo of David Bryan Member

    Oh, George!

    Jay is always beautifully concise, in my opinion, and he has never dominated a NTK conversation to my recollection. I hope Mona agrees.

    I otherwise appreciated your own comments, George…I merely fear that the “…he does go on” comment may inhibit Jay’s comments in future episodes.

    • #2
    • July 15, 2017 at 7:27 am
    • Like5 likes
  3. Profile photo of George Townsend Member

    David Bryan (View Comment):
    Oh, George!

    Jay is always beautifully concise, in my opinion, and he has never dominated a NTK conversation to my recollection. I hope Mona agrees.

    I otherwise appreciated your own comments, George…I merely fear that the “…he does go on” comment may inhibit Jay’s comments in future episodes.

    I do appreciate Jay. And I don’t think may comments will inhibit him. But I do slightly disagree with you. I think he does hog things. And most of the time, Mona is too much of a lady to fight back. But they both are fine people. And I like Jay’s Q&A.

    • #3
    • July 15, 2017 at 8:24 am
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  4. Profile photo of Petty B Member

    Jay, Jay, Jay… I have to tell you how disappointed I was by your Trump sycophancy; I could get that from Sean Hannity… I jest a bit, but I did want to take issue with you on your analysis if Trump’s nomination.

    I agree completely that support for Trump by the working class is as irrational as Black America’s support for OJ Simpson when he murdered his wife. And I agree that he did motivate a record setting number of the Jerry Springer set to get off the couch and vote for him. I disagree with you about your dismissal of the mainstream Republican voter, though. Trump’s record setting mob was counterbalanced by a record setting number of real Republicans that went out to stop him – through the Indiana Primary anywhere from 2/3 to 3/4 of voters told exit pollsters they were not only turning out for one of the other 16 candidates, they were turning out to explicitly vote against Trump. If the ego tripper Kasich had gotten out his votes combined with Rubio’s would have won the South Carolina and Virginia primaries, probably others that I cannot recall, and the dynamic of the race would have changed. In Wisconsin real Republicans put up a solid fight for the weaselly Ted Cruz as the last very flawed option, only when he went to Indiana and started talking about basketball rings did Cruz’ creepiness shine through and voters capitulated. I really think this was a black swan event caused by winner take all, winner take 2/3rds front loaded primaries, quislings on the RNC, and very bad luck.

    • #4
    • July 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm
    • Like1 like
  5. Profile photo of Unprofitable Servant Thatcher

    Mona, Jay: thank you for the podcast.

    Jay wants “basic honesty.” Good luck. Collectively, we are no longer striving to be a moral and decent people (“Be perfect, therefore,…” ) For those of us individuals who strive (and fail) have lowered our expectations and standards. We have become resigned to dishonest politicians and elites. If we are honest, we rationalize things and are dishonest with ourselves.

    Perhaps, we are just worn down. Fatigue makes cowards of us all.

    Where have we been the last 25 years? (Context: my adult life began in 1991) As conservatives, we suffered Clinton, angered by Bush II and grieved through the Obama years. I see Trump, Clintons, Bush, Obama as a pure reflection of our entire selfish, unbelieving, and perverse generation.

    Perhaps we placed too much faith in politicians and in ourselves?

    The source of “whataboutism” /double standards is that “we the people” have no expectations of moral and decent political leadership or, even worse, do not know what moral and decent leadership is. Either way, Scruton is spot on- we just don’t care. We don’t care, because as Hillary Clinton said, “What difference does it make…”(my dose of what-aboutism)

    Until we recognize that our culture and -by extension- our politics is sick, we will continue on this path.

    • #5
    • July 15, 2017 at 11:27 pm
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  6. Profile photo of George Townsend Member

    Unprofitable Servant (View Comment):
    Where have we been the last 25 years? (Context: my adult life began in 1991) As conservatives, we suffered Clinton, angered by Bush II and grieved through the Obama years. I see Trump, Clintons, Bush, Obama as a pure reflection of our entire selfish, unbelieving, and perverse generation.

    While I liked you comment in general, I wish conservatives would stop being negative about George W. Bush. Yes, “Compassionate Conservatism” was always a gimmickry phase. As a contradiction in terms, it confused people as to what conservatism is all about. But Bush did some really good things. He introduced Health Saving Accounts, tried to reform Social Security, and got rid of Saddam Hussein, in hopes that this would lead to a different Middle East (which I believe it could have, were it not for Obama). He is also just a wonderful man, and a fine American. That should count a lot to a conservative.

    • #6
    • July 16, 2017 at 2:39 am
    • Like1 like
  7. Profile photo of filmklassik Member

    George Townsend (View Comment):
    First, let me say how happy I was to see a new Need To Know Podcast. I need my weekly Need to Know fix, and am always sad and disappointed when I don’t see one. 🙂

    This one was, of course, very good. Full of substance. After days of going back and forth, on Ricochet, with people who just will not see the harm that Donald Trump is doing to our land, it is a pleasure to hear folk who will not overlook the good he has accomplished but who do not shy away from pointing out his many faults.

    While Jay has many things to commend him, he is right that he does go on. When Mona does get a word in, she is always insightful and to the point. It is right to keep in abeyance any final judgement about Don Jr., but he shouldn’t have had the meeting.

    I learned a lot from their guest, including that he had high hopes for Putin, only to have his ideals thrashed. I also did not know that Dana Roherbocker (forgive the spelling) was that bad. Thanks for that.

    Keep up the great work, guys. I wish we could have you more! 🙂

    Agree with most of what you said just now (wholeheartedly in fact) but I do NOT agree that Jay “does go on.”

    Many is the time Mona will finish interviewing someone at the top of the show and then invite Jay to ask questions or make comments, only for Jay to reply, “Nothing to add.”

    So I suspect some of your impatience with Mr. Nordlinger’s commentary has more to do with substance than duration.

    Just a theory, of course, and I could be wrong.

    • #7
    • July 16, 2017 at 8:04 am
    • Like3 likes
  8. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    Unprofitable Servant (View Comment):
    We have become resigned to dishonest politicians and elites.

    This is the inevitable outcome of centralizing the government more than how the Founders intended and having such an easy central bank, which is unconstitutional.

    Trump, Bernie, and Clinton are just symptoms of a sick system: permanent ***2%***GDP, a choking debt to GDP ratio, a regressive economy that makes socialist ideas attractive. Trump is the only realistic, electable option right now, plus all of the Critical Theory crap just rolls off of him.

    • #8
    • July 16, 2017 at 8:15 am
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  9. Profile photo of filmklassik Member

    Agree with Jay and Mona’s assessment of Trump and (more importantly) their assessment of the climate that has allowed Trump to thrive among Republicans.

    For true Conservatives, the only good thing (besides Gorsuch) to come out of the election of 2016 has been clarity. It has been a clarifying last couple of years.

    For example, we now know the American Right is as quick as the Left to ignore issues of character. They are as quick as the Left to ignore compulsive lying, and unscrupulous business practices, and vile behavior.

    And they now seem willing to embrace a European style of Right Wing governance that combines nationalism with — incredibly — Big Government largesse. They’re okay with that. (And I agree with Jay that the vast majority of Americans way deep down probably LIKE Big Government, and prize security over liberty).

    And they justify all of this with a perfunctory wave of the hand and mutterings about “We never said he was perfect but he’s the guy we’ve got, right? And you fight with the army you have and the Democrats are far worse and blah blah blah.”

    And they are heedless of the price they are going to have to pay for the abandonment of 90% of their conservative principles.

    They simply don’t realize the Faustian bargain they have made with themselves.

    Or maybe they do realize it, but they simply don’t care.

    • #9
    • July 16, 2017 at 8:33 am
    • Like1 like
  10. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    And they now seem willing to embrace a European style of Right Wing governance that combines nationalism with — incredibly — Big Government largesse. They’re okay with that. (And I agree with Jay that the vast majority of Americans way deep down probably LIKE Big Government, and prize security over liberty).

    The last chance to undo all of the centralized government and socialism in the way principled libertarians would like was Romney 2012. 2008 would have been better. He basically told Ryan that was what they were going to do and they weren’t going to get reelected because of it. There is just too much graft, rent seeking and socialism embedded into a very, very regressive economy now.

    I 100% belive in Austrian economics, but I think people need to give Trump a chance.

    • #10
    • July 16, 2017 at 8:44 am
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  11. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    I am bad at using the Ricochet editing controls. lol

    • #11
    • July 16, 2017 at 8:45 am
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  12. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    I just listened to more of this podcast. The #1 best thing Ricochet could do is have Victor Davis Hansen interview David Stockman, Angelo Codilvilla, Joel Kotkin, and some Austrian economist that isn’t going to freak everyone out like Robert Murphy.

    All of the social problems and lack of prosperity have causes that the GOP is horrific at dealing with. (Two good ones are Rep. Jason Lewis and Rep. Tom Emmer from Minnesota) Trump is just the best option for now.

    • #12
    • July 16, 2017 at 8:55 am
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  13. Profile photo of George Townsend Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    Agree with Jay and Mona’s assessment of Trump and (more importantly) their assessment of the climate that has allowed Trump to thrive among Republicans.

    For true Conservatives, the only good thing (besides Gorsuch) to come out of the election of 2016 has been clarity. It has been a clarifying last couple of years.

    For example, we now know the American Right is as quick as the Left to ignore issues of character. They are as quick as the Left to ignore compulsive lying, and unscrupulous business practices, and vile behavior.

    And they now seem willing to embrace a European style of Right Wing governance that combines nationalism with — incredibly — Big Government largesse. They’re okay with that. (And I agree with Jay that the vast majority of Americans way deep down probably LIKE Big Government, and prize security over liberty).

    And they justify all of this with a perfunctory wave of the hand and mutterings about “We never said he was perfect but he’s the guy we’ve got, right? And you fight with the army you have and the Democrats are far worse and blah blah blah.”

    And they are heedless of the price they are going to have to pay for the abandonment of 90% of their conservative principles.

    They simply don’t realize the Faustian bargain they have made with themselves.

    Or maybe they do realize it, but they simply don’t care.

    Actually, I am not quite how to respond to this but feel I must. I do agree with most of it (emphatically, as you put it, with mine), but I must be fair to Trump. I think his character, to be sure, is wanting. And I hate the fact that, to service his ego, he has put or country’s future (and, by that, I mean perhaps paving the way for a whole leftist takeover), and his own Presidency, at risk! However, as I say, to be fair, he has issued several Executive Orders of the kind that are desperately needed, and appointed terrific folk to the cabinet.

    Trump’s main problem is his ego. And, because of that ego, he feels he has to respond, a hundred times as hard, to folk like Mica and Joe, who are not going to matter one whit to the future of this land. What in the name of prudential statecraft can Trump possibly be thinking? He ought to just get together with Ryan and McConnell, put together good bills, and only speak and tweet when his speechwriters write good stuff for him!

    And, oh yes, I did want to get to this: I do not want to give up. The futures of over 2 hundred million people are at stake. We must find a way to get to smaller government.

    • #13
    • July 16, 2017 at 9:34 am
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  14. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    George Townsend (View Comment):
    We must find a way to get to smaller government.

    This will never happen until Western bond markets collapse. The economy is hooked on credit growth and the government has to keep growing so it can borrow to prop up they economy. Romney could have turned this around, but it’s too late now.

    Basically, we are going to pay big time for decades of stupid politicized central planning and the ignoring of actuarial reality.

    • #14
    • July 16, 2017 at 9:38 am
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  15. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    This is what is going on:

    Breitbart didn’t make the world Trump voters live in, Nixon, Greenspan, Clinton, Rubin, Summers, Bush, Paulson, Bernanke, Obama et al. did. 

    It happens over and over in history. You have a lousy financial system, it makes everyone poorer and they behave badly. Then it manifests in the political system. Give Trump a chance.

    • #15
    • July 16, 2017 at 10:07 am
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  16. Profile photo of Old Vines Thatcher

    While interesting this could have been so much better. We had a guest who apparently knows the key visitors at Don Jr’s illfated meeting and we hardly talked about them at all.

    • #16
    • July 16, 2017 at 10:16 am
    • Like1 like
  17. Profile photo of filmklassik Member

    George Townsend (View Comment):
    And, oh yes, I did want to get to this: I do not want to give up. The futures of over 2 hundred million people are at stake. We must find a way to get to smaller government.

    It’s now actually in excess of 300 million.

    And how do you “get to smaller government” when the vast majority of the country — Left, Right and Center — has now gotten to the point where it loves the security and comfort of BIG Government?

    One can easily say, “Hey, we just have to find better ways of educating people about the virtues of limited government and individual responsibility” but phrases like that are bromides without any practical means of being implemented. In other words, they are meaningless. They bring comfort to the speaker and to a handful of listeners. Otherwise they’re of little value.

    I am now convinced that our only hope of “getting back to smaller government” is when the big one collapses.

    • #17
    • July 16, 2017 at 11:49 pm
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  18. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    I am now convinced that our only hope of “getting back to smaller government” is when the big one collapses.

    I shell out majorly for (basically) independent hedge fund analysis and that is what those guys say.

    FYI in congress Rep. Jason Lewis, Rep. Tom Emmer, and Rep. Steve Scalise are all over this stuff. Lewis in particular would be a great Ricochet interview.

    • #18
    • July 17, 2017 at 1:19 am
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  19. Profile photo of George Townsend Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    George Townsend (View Comment):
    And, oh yes, I did want to get to this: I do not want to give up. The futures of over 2 hundred million people are at stake. We must find a way to get to smaller government.

    It’s now actually in excess of 300 million.

    And how do you “get to smaller government” when the vast majority of the country — Left, Right and Center — has now gotten to the point where it loves the security and comfort of BIG Government?

    One can easily say, “Hey, we just have to find better ways of educating people about the virtues of limited government and individual responsibility” but phrases like that are bromides without any practical means of being implemented. In other words, they are meaningless. They bring comfort to the speaker and to a handful of listeners. Otherwise they’re of little value.

    I am now convinced that our only hope of “getting back to smaller government” is when the big one collapses.

    Thank you for the Correction. I did put three originally, but then got to thinking that I may be wrong.

    It is very hard to get back to a conservative’s idea of what government should be, in order to make the most of people’s lives. I think the best way to start is with communication. It seems to me that Secretary Tom Price would be a good representative for our ideas on health, for example. But this administration is not doing that. He should make speeches around the country, and take questions. That would be a great start.

    But, and this may be the worst part of this administration, and one that we just cannot get through to the fanatical followers of Donald Trump: Because of the crazy things he says and write, there is so much time consumed with trying to explain what he meant, or why he is not a criminal, that there is not much left for anything else. He is simply ruining what should be a great opportunity!!

    • #19
    • July 17, 2017 at 3:39 am
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  20. Profile photo of filmklassik Member

    George Townsend (View Comment):

    It is very hard to get back to a conservative’s idea of what government should be, in order to make the most of people’s lives. I think the best way to start is with communication. It seems to me that Secretary Tom Price would be a good representative for our ideas on health, for example. But this administration is not doing that. He should make speeches around the country, and take questions. That would be a great start.

    A great start. Okay. But please finish the scenario, if you would. We get someone like Tom Price to go out and do Q&A’s around the country … then what?

    I’m trying to understand how you think we can get from where we are now — where people are habituated to umpteen forms of government largesse — to the point where over 50% of your fellow Americans would be in favor of smaller government.

    You do understand that shrinking the size of the Federal Government requires half the population (at least) to dig in its heels and say, “Enough! Close your wallet, Uncle Sam! You’re giving us too many things for free, and we’d like to get more of them on our own!”

    To my knowledge, that kind of proclamation (“Stop giving us things for free!”) has never been uttered en masse in the entire history of human civilization. In over 8000 years, it has never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever been said.

    But you think we can buck that civilizational trend — a trend that is deeply rooted in human nature — and get half of our fellow Americans to say it … through things like Q&A sessions, Town Halls, lectures, pamphlets, books, videos, etc.

    Right?

    Is that really your contention?

    • #20
    • July 17, 2017 at 6:23 am
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  21. Profile photo of George Townsend Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    To my knowledge, that kind of proclamation (“Stop giving us things for free!”) has never been uttered en masse in the entire history of human civilization. In over 8000 years, it has never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever been said.

    But you think we can buck that civilizational trend — a trend that is deeply rooted in human nature — and get half of our fellow Americans to say it … through things like Q&A sessions, Town Halls, lectures, pamphlets, books, videos, etc.

    Right?

    Is that really your contention?

    Not really. It is probably doomed to failure, because of human nature. But does that mean we should give up? I don’t want people hurt. Look at Venzuala! (My spelling leaves a lot to be desired) Those people are suffering badly because of Socialism. Nothing more. So if we get together smart people, for Towns Halls, lectures, pamphlets, great writing, on all media, etc., at least there’s a chance. What choice do we have? There is no other America out there!

    Our Revolution seemed doomed many times. But Washington didn’t give up.

    And even when got our freedom, many people didn’t have it. And we had a Civil War. Much is still wrong today. But we kept trying to make it right. Much of life is a constant struggle. I actually believe God intended it that way, to make us worthy of a greater life. That’s another discussion. The point is to always keep wanting the best for all Americans!

    • #21
    • July 17, 2017 at 7:42 am
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  22. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    The big problem is there were no built-in actuarial stabilizers to Medicaid, Social Security, etc. It’s all intergenerational theft and graft and someone is going to get the shaft now the hard way.

    • #22
    • July 17, 2017 at 7:43 am
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  23. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    The big problem is there were no built-in actuarial stabilizers to Medicaid, Social Security, etc. It’s all intergenerational theft and graft and someone is going to get the shaft now the hard way.

    Gee, why would LBJ and FDR do it that way? All of the city and state pensions?

    The Federal Reserve is the only thing that can bail out Illinois. In the aggregate, government is evil.

    • #23
    • July 17, 2017 at 7:45 am
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  24. Profile photo of Joe D. Lincoln

    I still think we could have had Ted Cruz as our nominee, but too many conservatives decided either way too late or way too half-heartedly to get behind him – including one Mona Charen, and most of the field. You would be facing a steep mountain to convince me that John McCain or Lindsay Grahamm and maybe even Mitch McConnell would have preferred Ted Cruz to Donald Trump. As I remember, even Marco Rubio did not endorse Ted Cruz when he dropped out – nor did John Kasick. Certainly, if these people would have gotten behind Ted Cruz enthusiastically he might have at least given the Donald a run for his money. So, I would prefer not to be chided because I’d rather not have Donald Trump go down like Nixon when his crimes aren’t that bad and he’s actually doing things we want (which Nixon wasn’t – he can go down all day). I was too young then, but I wonder how quickly the elder conservative statesmen of the day were abandoning Reagan during Iran-Contra.

    • #24
    • July 17, 2017 at 10:56 am
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