Tucker Carlson's interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin has been released, and the tyrant slammed President Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, and the CIA and issued a warning over "very smart" Elon Musk. The extensive two-hour interview was uploaded to Carlson's website, the Tucker Carlson Network, just before 6 pm on Thursday.
The two-hour-long sit-down interview begins with Carlson questioning Putin's statement regarding fearing a potential "surprise attack" from the United States. Putin, speaking through a translator immediately dismisses the question, and clarifies, "It's not that the US was going to launch a surprise strike on Russia, I didn't say that. Are we having a talk show or a serious conversation?"
Face-to-Face with Putin
Putin started the interview by responding to a question about the Ukraine war with: "Are we having a talk show or a serious interview?" Following that, Putin provides Carlson with a "historical background" of the regional conflict and proceeds to justify his military's actions.
Putin claimed that after becoming president in 2000, he tried to improve Russian relations with the US. He claimed to have even requested a place in NATO from then-President Bill Clinton, but he contended that Clinton's team turned down his request.
"At a meeting here in the Kremlin with the outgoing President Bill Clinton, right here in the next room, I said to him, I asked him: 'Bill, do you think if Russia asked to join NATO, do you think it would happen?'" Putin said.
"Suddenly he said, 'you know, it's interesting. I think so.' But in the evening, when we met for dinner, he said: 'You know, I've talked to my team, no, it's not possible now.
"You can ask him. I think he will watch our interview, and he'll confirm it. I wouldn't have said anything like that if it hadn't happened. Okay, well, it's impossible now."
Putin hinted that Russia would have been open to joining the military alliance if their request had not been rejected.
"If he had said yes, the process of rapprochement would have commenced, and eventually it might have happened if we had seen some sincere wish on the side of our partners. But it didn't happen. Well, no means no, okay, fine," he added.
Bad Biden, Good Trump
Putin also recounted to Carlson his interactions with various US Presidents, expressing admiration, particularly for Republicans George W. Bush and Donald Trump. "It is not about the personality of a particular person. I had a very good relationship with say Bush," he said.
"I know that in the United States, he was portrayed as some kind of a country boy who does not understand much. I assure you that this is not the case. I think he made a lot of mistakes with regard to Russia, too. I told you about 2008 and the decision in Bucharest to open the NATO's doors to for Ukraine and so on.
"That happened during his presidency. He actually exercised pressure on the Europeans.
"But in general, on a personal human level, I had a very good relationship with him. He was no worse than any other American or Russian or European politician. I assure you he understood what he was doing as well as others."
Continuing, Putin mentioned his positive rapport with former President Donald Trump, emphasizing that the dynamics were not solely about the leader's personality but rather about the mindset and deals among elites.
"If the idea of domination at any cost, based also on forceful actions dominates the American society, nothing will change. It will only get worse."
"I had such a personal relationship with Trump," he said.
No Stopping Putin
The timing of the interview is crucial given the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the Biden administration facing increasing scrutiny for its continued support of Ukrainian President Zelensky's costly defense efforts against Putin's military.
Putin displayed less enthusiasm about Biden, seemingly mocking his sustained financial support for the war-torn nation.
"If you really want to stop fighting, you need to stop supplying weapons. It will be over within a few weeks. That's it. And then we can agree on some terms before you do that, stop," he said.
When Carlson asked about the response Putin receives from the White House, Putin said: "You were going to deliver such and such weapons to Ukraine. Oh, I'm afraid, I'm afraid. Please don't. What is there to talk about?"
Putin revealed that he "cannot remember" the last time he spoke to the President, noting it has not happened since February 2022, just before the attack. In contrast, Putin spoke more positively about Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who disclosed his interest in watching the interview.
"I think there's no stopping Elon Musk. He will do as he sees fit [...] I think he's a smart person. I truly believe he is," Putin said.
Reason Behind Ukraine Attack
When questioned about the pivotal moment that led to his decision to launch the attack, Putin pointed to the coup in Ukraine, specifically referring to the ousting of Zelensky's predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, in 2014.
"And what triggered the current events? Firstly, the current Ukrainian leadership would not implement the Minsk Agreements," Putin said.
Putin accused former leaders of Germany and France of not honoring their commitments to the Minsk Agreements, a set of treaties aimed at resolving the Donbas War between Ukraine and Russian separatist groups, signed in 2014.
"They never intended to implement them, they simply led us by the nose," he said.
Putin expressed displeasure at the idea that a change in the presidency would change the outcome of the war.
"You just asked me if another leader comes and changes something? It is not about the leader," he said.
In a sensational claim, Putin said that a potential peace deal for the Ukraine war was nearly reached, placing blame on the 'Western side' for allegedly desiring to prolong the conflict as much as possible.
"We're willing to negotiate," he said.
"It is the western side, and Ukraine is obviously a satellite state of the US. It is evident. I do not want you to take it as if I am looking for a strong word or an insult. But we both understand what is happening."