Tucker Carlson released his two-hour interview with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president whose military is deep into its second year of the Ukraine invasion, marking an unprecedented sitdown between an American journalist and adversarial head of state during wartime.
Watch it here.
The Putin interview in its entirety was offered for free and unedited, Carlson said Tuesday when he announced that he was in Moscow to visit with Putin.
Days before the interview, Carlson was spotted in and around Moscow, taking in the city and chatting with citizens who clearly recognized him. The now-independent journalist said he paid for all aspects of the trip himself, and repeated his claim that the U.S. government had been spying on and harassing him in an attempt to shut down any Putin interview.
Carlson was fired from Fox News last April, days after the network settled – and paid in full – a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems for $787 million. Since then he has launched his own media company on multiple platforms, including a paid streaming service. During his time on Fox News, critics called Carlson a “Putin apologist” for his questioning of the U.S.’s support for Ukraine, and his multiple public efforts to secure an interview with the Russian leader.
Carlson was criticized Tuesday for claiming to be the only Western journalist interested in hearing Putin’s side; that claim turned out to be false, as multiple journalists came out of the woodwork to note that they had reached out and were repeatedly denied, which the Kremlin later corroborated.
Carlson has lately become an experienced interviewer of right-leaning world leaders, including Hungarian president Viktor Orbán and Argentina’s newly elected Javier Milei. Though Barbara Walters famously traveled to Havana to interview Fidel Castro in 1977, Dan Rather interviewed Saddam Hussein in 2003 (before the Iraq invasion) and Laura Logan (then at CBS) interviewed the Taliban commander in occupied Afghanistan, Carlson’s interview with Putin would seem to mark the first time an American journalist sat down with a wartime head of state against whom the U.S. was currently supporting an adversary.
Though not technically at war with Russia, the U.S. has sent nearly $100 billion in military and other aid since the invasion began Feb. 24, 2022, according to some estimates. The Biden Administration is seeking another $110 billion – some of which would backfill Ukraine-related Pentagon expenses – in legislative proposals that have recently stalled in Congress.
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