Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that he asked then-U.S. President Bill Clinton if Russia could join NATO in 1999, with Clinton initially seeming receptive before ultimately rejecting the idea after consulting with his administration.
Putin suggested that if Clinton had agreed, it would have initiated a process of rapprochement.
“At a meeting here in the Kremlin with the outgoing President Bill Clinton, right here in the next room, I said to him, I asked him, ‘Bill, do you think if Russia asked to join NATO, do you think it would happen?’” Putin said.
“Suddenly he said, you know, ‘I’ve talked to my team. No, no, it’s not possible now.’ You can ask him. I think he will watch our interview. He’ll confirm it. I wouldn’t have said anything like that if it hadn’t happened.”
Putin implied that the United States may have been behind the bombing of the Nord Stream pipeline, emphasizing the need to consider both those interested and capable of carrying out such an operation.
“Did you have evidence that NATO or CIA did it?” Carlson asked.
“You know, I won’t get into details, but people always say in such cases, look for someone who is interested. But in this case, we should not only look for someone who is interested, but also for someone who has capabilities, because there may be many people interested but not all of them are capable of sinking to the bottom of the Baltic Sea and carrying out this explosion. These two components should be connected,” Putin said.