False claim Putin told Carlson it’s ‘amusing’ that US protects foreign borders | Fact check

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The claim: Putin said in Carlson interview that Russians find it ‘amusing’ US protects foreign borders, but not its own

A Feb. 9 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) shows a purported quote from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

“TUCKER: Are you following what’s happening on the US southern border?” reads the start of the post, which is a screenshot of a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “PUTIN: Actually yes. It’s part of my daily briefing. We Russians find it ironically amusing your Congress will spend billions protecting foreign borders but neglect it’s own. It’s quiet laughable but deadly (sic).” 

The post received more than 200 likes in three days. Other versions of the claim spread widely on Facebook and X

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Our rating: False

No such quote appears in transcripts from Carlson’s interview with Putin. The Russian president did point to problems at the U.S. border as a reason why the U.S. should not become involved in the war in Ukraine.

Putin referenced US southern border in response to Schumer’s ‘cheap provocation’

Carlson said in a Feb. 6 X post that he was interviewing Putin in an attempt to “inform people” about Russia’s war with Ukraine in light of the billions of dollars of aid the U.S. has given to Ukraine. Two days later he released the full interview covering various topics, including the war in Ukraine, President Joe Biden and detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

There are no reports from legitimate news outlets of Putin’s supposed remark about the U.S. southern border. The purported quotation also does not appear in interview transcripts from the Kremlin or Carlson’s YouTube channel, though Putin did bring up the topic.

Carlson asked Putin about Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s comment in an MSNBC interview that Americans could eventually be drawn into the fighting if legislation with more Ukraine aid didn’t pass. 

Putin called the remark a “cheap provocation” and said he could not understand why the U.S. should fight in the war. 

“You have issues on the border, issues with migration, issues with the national debt – more than $33 trillion dollars,” Putin said. “You have nothing better to do, so you should fight in Ukraine?” 

Fact check: Obama wasn’t arrested. Tucker Carlson didn’t post a video about it, either

USA TODAY previously debunked claims that Putin told Carlson that President Joe Biden is a “facade” for “those in real power” and that no Western journalists besides Carlson had reached out to interview the Russian leader. 

USA TODAY reached out to several users who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

AFP Fact Check and PolitiFact also debunked the claim.

Our fact-check sources:

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