February 21, 2024

The whole setup was an embarrassing twist for the former Fox News anchor, who spent years sucking up to the de facto dictator, advocating against U.S. support for Ukraine, and calling for Americans to revisit their prejudices against Putin and the Russian government—even after Russian military officials were caught interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election—helping the commentator gain airtime in Russian state-run media outlets.

Carlson spent the better part of the much-hyped interview, which aired Thursday evening, sitting and listening while Putin ranted and raved, failing to press the indicted war criminal on any legitimate or worthwhile topics. Instead, the conversation sprawled across the concept of God, the Russian soul, and what Putin thought of U.S. President Joe Biden. It was the first time Putin had sat down for an interview with Western media since Russia launched its full scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Putin also mentioned that his country would be open to a prisoner exchange to release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained for almost a year on espionage charges for reporting on the nation.