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Tucker Carlson Pressures Putin to Release Jailed WSJ Journalist

via TCN
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In an interview, Tucker Carlson pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin to release jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

Putin suggested Gershkovich could return to the US as part of an agreement between Moscow and Washington.

“I want to ask you directly – if, as a sign of your decency, you would be willing to release [Gershkovich] to us and we’ll bring him back to the United States,” Carlson asked.

“We have done so many gestures of good will, out of decency, that I think we have run out of them.”

“We have never seen anyone reciprocate to us in a similar manner,” Putin said, adding, “We do not rule out that we can do that if our partners take reciprocal steps.”

“Special services are in contact with one another,” Putin said. “They are talking about the matter in question. There is no taboo to settle this issue. We are willing to solve it, but there are certain terms being discussed by a special services channels. I believe an agreement can be reached.”

Carlson argued that Gershkovich is not a spy and shouldn’t be part of an exchange.

“This stuff has happened for centuries,” Carlson later said. “One country catches another spy within its borders, it trades it for one of its own intel guys in another country. I think what makes this different is [Gershkovich] is obviously not a spy.”

“Maybe he was breaking your law in some way, but he’s not a super spy, and everybody knows that,” Carlson pressed. “He’s being held hostage in exchange – which is true, with respect, it’s true and everyone knows it’s true – so maybe he’s in a different category?”

“Maybe it’s not fair to ask for somebody else in exchange for letting him out,” Carlson said, adding, “Maybe it degrades Russia to do that.”

“You can give different interpretations to what constitutes a spy,” Putin said. “A person that gets secret information and does so in a conspiratorial manner, then this is qualified as espionage.”

“And that is exactly what he was doing. He was receiving classified, confidential information, and he did it covertly,” he said.

“Maybe he did that out of carelessness,” Putin said, adding, “He was caught red-handed when he was secretly getting confidential information.”

Putin mentioned ongoing discussions between special services and emphasized that Gershkovich was involved in espionage.

Putin also mentioned a Russian prisoner held by a US ally, drawing a comparison.

Carlson questioned whether Putin was assuming that Gershkovich was “working for the U.S. government or NATO,” or if Gershkovich was “just a reporter who was given material he wasn’t supposed to have,” noting that the two scenarios “seem like very different things.”

Putin claimed that Gershkovich was involved in “espionage.”

Putin said that anyone who holds “patriotic sentiments” toward Russia is imprisoned due to having “eliminated” someone who was “laying our soldiers, taken prisoner, on the road and then drove his car over their heads.”

“Yeah, but Evan Gershkovich didn’t do that,” Carlson said.

“I mean, that’s a completely different – he is a 32-year-old newspaper reporter,” he added.

Gershkovich “committed something different,” Putin said, but added, “He’s not just a journalist.”

Despite Carlson’s plea, Putin stressed the need for an agreement between the special services and expressed openness to dialogue for Gershkovich’s return.

“I reiterate, he’s a journalist who was secretly getting confidential information,” Putin said. “Yes, it is different, but still.”

“There is an ongoing dialog between the special services. They’re keeping in touch, so let them do their work,” Putin added.

“I do not rule out that the person you refer to, Mr. Gershkovich, may return to his motherland,” he said. “At the end of the day, it does not make any sense to keep him in prison in Russia.”

“We want the U.S. special services to think about how they can contribute to achieving the goals our special services are perusing,” Putin said. “We are ready to talk. Moreover, the talks are on their way.”

“There have been many examples of these talks crowned with success. This is probably going to be crowned with success as well. But we have to come to an agreement,” Putin added.

“I hope you let him out,” Carlson said.

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