NYU Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen and FNC’s Tucker Carlson discuss the president’s meeting Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, and calls of “treason” from Democrats and Intel officials.
TUCKER CARLSON, FNC: Assess, if you would, the reaction today to this press conference and to the summit between Putin and Trump/
STEPHEN F. COHEN: The reaction by most of the media, by the Democrats, by the anti-Trump people is like mob violence. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.
This is the president of the United States, doing what every other president before him, since FDR in 1943 with Stalin, meeting with the head of the Kremlin. And something that every American president since Eisenhower, a Republican by the way, has met with the leader of the Kremlin for one existential purpose: To avoid war between the nuclear superpowers.
Today, in my considered and scholarly long time judgment, relations between the U.S. and Russia are more dangerous than they have ever been. Let me repeat: Every been, including the Cuban missile crisis.
I want my president to do –I didn’t vote for this president– but I want my president to do what every other president has done. Sit with the head of the other nuclear superpower and walk back the conflicts that could lead to war, whether they be in Syria, Ukraine, the Baltic nations, these accusations of cyber attacks.
Every president has been encouraged to do that an applauded by both parties. Not Trump.
Look what they did to him today. They had a kangaroo court. They found him guilty. And then you had the former head of the U.S. CIA, who himself ought to be put under oath and asked about his role in inventing Russiagate, calling the President of the United States treasonous. What have we come to in this country? And what is going to happen in the future?
CARLSON: So, those are questions adults ought to be discussing. Tell me if my assessment is wrong. it seems as if some in our leadership class on both sides seek increased conflict with Russia. Do you think that is right, and if it is, why?
COHEN: You’ve asked a fundamental question. Do they know what they’re doing? I don’t know.
They see to hate or resent the idea of Trump as president, that they’ve lost all sense of American national security. If you ever get these people on, ask them this question. For yourself, for me, for the American people. Do you, these people who are hunting Trump. do you prefer trying to impeach Trump to trying to avert war with nuclear Russia? That is the bottom line, and that is where we’re at today.
CARLSON: I’m in no way defending Russia, which I have no connection to at all, and I’m basically agnostic and I take it as a matter of faith that they seek to undermine our elections. I just don’t understand why Russia uniquely is considered an unacceptable partner for conversation, while we are happy to have close intimate relations with Saudi Arabia and China, for example, both more repressive than Russia.
COHEN: Historians have written books about this. Why is it that Russia seems to be our wicked witch of the East? When Russia has more in common with the U.S. — it is a Christian county, it is a big country, it was a frontier country. We were allies during World War Two.
This will upset people, but historically, Russia defeated Nazi Germany in Europe, and the U.S. defeated Japan in the Pacific. We were great allies. After that, things went bad. Who is to blame? Historians have written lots of books, but after the end of the Soviet Union, there is no communism.
Let me ask you a question, you know D.C., why do these people dislike Putin, the president of post-communist Russia more than they ever seemed to dislike the communist leaders? it is more about us than it is about them.
CARLSON: I think it is no defense of Putin to ask that question. I’ll repeat it for the viewers in case they missed it: Why do so many people in charge now dislike the current leader of Russia more than they disliked the communists?
COHEN: There is an answer but we’d need a lot more time and a psychiatrist.