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  • - He said very specifically,

  • "Depending on the questions you ask Putin,

  • you could be arrested or not."

  • And I said, "Listen to what you're saying.

  • You're saying the US government

  • has like control over my questions

  • and they'll arrest me if I ask the wrong question.

  • Like, how are we better than Putin if that's true?"

  • Killing Navalny during the Munich Security Conference

  • in the middle of a debate

  • over $60 billion in Ukraine funding,

  • maybe the Russians are dumb.

  • I didn't get that vibe at all.

  • I don't think we kill people in other countries

  • to affect election outcomes.

  • Oh wait, no, we do it a lot, and have for 80 years.

  • - The following is a conversation

  • with Tucker Carlson, a highly influential

  • and often controversial political commentator.

  • When he was at, Fox, Time Magazine called him

  • the most powerful conservative in America.

  • After Fox, he has continued to host big,

  • impactful interviews and shows on X,

  • on the, "Tucker Carlson Podcast" and on, tuckercarlson.com.

  • I recommend subscribing, even if you disagree

  • with his views, it is always good

  • to explore a diversity of perspectives.

  • Most recently, he interviewed the President

  • of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

  • We discussed this, the topic of Russia, Putin, Navalny,

  • and the war in Ukraine at length in this conversation.

  • Please allow me to say a few words about the very fact

  • that I did this interview.

  • I have received a lot of criticism publicly

  • and privately when I announced

  • that I'll be talking with Tucker.

  • For people who think I shouldn't do the conversation

  • with Tucker or generally think that there are certain people

  • I should never talk to.

  • I'm sorry, but I disagree.

  • I will talk to everyone as long as they're willing

  • to talk genuinely in long form.

  • for two, three, four or more hours.

  • I will talk to Putin and to Zelensky,

  • to Trump, and to Biden, to Tucker

  • and to Jon Stewart, AOC, Obama,

  • and many more people with very different views on the world.

  • I want to understand people and ideas.

  • That's what long form conversations

  • are supposed to be all about.

  • Now for people who criticize me

  • for not asking tough questions, I hear you,

  • but again, I disagree.

  • I do often ask tough questions, but I try to do it in a way

  • that doesn't shut down the other person,

  • putting them into a defensive state

  • where they give only shallow talking points.

  • Instead, I'm looking always for the expression

  • of genuinely held ideas and the deep roots of those ideas.

  • When done well, this gives us a chance

  • to really hear out the guest

  • and to begin to understand what and how they think.

  • And I trust the intelligence of you, the listener,

  • to make up your own mind, to see through the bullshit,

  • to the degree there's bullshit

  • and to see to the heart of the person.

  • Sometimes I fail at this,

  • but I'll continue working my ass off to improve.

  • All that said, I find that this no tough questions criticism

  • often happens when the guest is a person

  • the listener simply hates and wants to see them grilled

  • into embarrassment, called a liar, a greedy egomaniac,

  • a killer, maybe even an evil human being and so on.

  • If you are such a listener,

  • what you want is drama, not wisdom.

  • In this case, this show is not for you.

  • There are many shows you can go to for that

  • with hosts that are way more charismatic

  • and entertaining than I'll ever be.

  • If you do stick around, please know I will work hard

  • to do this well and to keep improving.

  • Thank you for your patience and thank you for your support.

  • I love you all.

  • This is the, "Lex Fridman Podcast."

  • To support it, please check out

  • our sponsors in the description.

  • And now, dear friends, here's Tucker Carlson.

  • What was your first impression

  • when you met Vladimir Putin for the interview?

  • - I thought he seemed nervous

  • and I was very surprised by that.

  • And I thought he seemed like someone

  • who'd overthought it a little bit, who had a plan.

  • And I don't think that's the right way

  • to go into any interview.

  • My strong sense, having done a lot of them for a long time,

  • is that it's better to know what you think,

  • to say as much as you can honestly,

  • so you don't get confused by your own lies

  • and just to be yourself.

  • And I thought that he went into it

  • like an over-prepared student.

  • And I kept thinking, "Why is he nervous?"

  • But I guess because he thought

  • a lot of people were gonna see it.

  • - But he was also probably prepared

  • to give you a full lesson in history as he did.

  • - (chuckles) Well, I was totally shocked by that

  • and very annoyed because I thought he was filibustering.

  • I thought he would, I mean, I asked him as I usually do,

  • the most obvious dumbest question ever,

  • which is, why'd you do this?

  • And he had said in a speech that I think is worth reading.

  • I don't speak Russian,

  • so I haven't heard it in the original,

  • but he had said at the moment of the beginning of the war,

  • he had given this address to Russians,

  • in which he explained to the fullest extent

  • we have seen so far why he was doing this.

  • And he said in that speech, I fear that NATO, the West,

  • the United States, the Biden administration

  • will preemptively attack us.

  • And I thought, "Well, that's interesting."

  • I mean, I can't evaluate whether that's a fear

  • rooted in reality or one rooted in paranoia.

  • But I thought, "Well, that's an answer right there."

  • And so I alluded to that in my question

  • and rather than answering it, he went off on this long,

  • from my perspective, kind of tiresome,

  • sort of greatest hits of Russian history.

  • And the implication I thought was, "Well,

  • Ukraine is ours, or Eastern Ukraine is ours already."

  • And I thought he was doing that

  • to avoid answering the question.

  • So, the last thing you want

  • when you're interviewing someone is to get rolled.

  • And I didn't wanna be rolled.

  • So, a couple of times interrupted him, politely I thought,

  • but he wasn't having it.

  • And then I thought, "You know what?

  • I'm not here to prove that I'm a great interviewer."

  • It's kind of not about me, I want to know who this guy is.

  • I think a Western audience, a global audience,

  • has a right to know more about the guy,

  • and so just let him talk.

  • 'Cause it's not, you know, I don't feel

  • like my reputation's on the line.

  • People have already drawn conclusions about me,

  • I suppose to the extent they have.

  • I'm not interested really in those conclusions anyway,

  • so just let him talk.

  • And so I calmed down and just let him talk.

  • And in retrospect,

  • I thought that was really, really interesting.

  • Whether you agree with it or not,

  • or whether you think it's relevant

  • to the war in Ukraine or not, that was his answer,

  • and so it's inherently significant.

  • - Well, you said he was nervous.

  • Were you nervous?

  • Were you afraid that says Vladimir Putin?

  • - I wasn't afraid at all, and I wasn't nervous at all.

  • - Did you drink tea beforehand?

  • - (chuckles) No, I did my normal regimen

  • of nicotine pouches and coffee.

  • No, I'm not a tea drinker.

  • I try not to eat all the sweets they put in front of us,

  • which is that is my weakness is eating crap.

  • But you eat a lot of sugar,

  • as you know before an interview, and it does dull you,

  • so I successfully resisted that.

  • But no, I wasn't nervous.

  • I wasn't nervous the whole time I was there.

  • Why would I be?

  • I'm 54, my kids are grown, I believe in God.