Members of the European Parliament are calling for sanctions against Tucker Carlson after he announced an interview with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Carlson posted a video to X on Tuesday announcing that he was in Moscow to interview Putin. Carlson’s sit-down with the Russian president is the first time Putin agreed to speak with a Western newsperson since Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago.
European Parliament member Guy Verhofstadt, former prime minister of Belgium, said the bloc should consider imposing a “travel ban” on Carlson for serving as a “mouthpiece” for Putin.
“As Putin is a war criminal and the EU sanctions all who assist him in that effort, it seems logical that the External Action Service examine his case as well,” Verhofstadt told Newsweek.
The External Action Service (EAS) oversees foreign policy for the European Union, handling such issues as diplomacy and sanctions. The EAS can choose to review a potential new addition to the E.U.’s sanction list. If the EAS finds the evidence convincing and sanctions warranted, it will present the case to the European Council, comprised of European government leaders, for approval.
Urmas Paet, a member of the European Parliament from Estonia, backed a travel ban against Carlson in remarks made to Ukrainian news.
“Carlson wants to give a platform to someone accused of crimes of genocide — this is wrong. If Putin has something to say he needs to say it in front of the ICC. At the same time Carlson is not being a real journalist since he has clearly expressed his sympathy for the Russian regime and Putin and has constantly disparaged Ukraine, the victim of Russian aggression,” Paet said. “So, for such propaganda for a criminal regime, you can end up on the list of sanctions. This concerns primarily a travel ban to E.U. countries.”
Carlson’s interview with Putin has taken place since the Tuesday announcement, though it has yet to be released. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to Newsweek Wednesday that the interview had been recorded, adding, “[Carlson’s] position is different from the others.”
“It is in no way pro-Russian, it is not pro-Ukrainian, it is pro-American, but at least it contrasts with the position of the traditional Anglo-Saxon media,” Peskov said.
It’s unclear how widespread support for sanctioning Carlson is among members of the E.U. Any potential sanction or travel ban against Carlson would likely take time to litigate and approve, if an effort moves forward at all.
The threats to sanction Carlson over the interview received blowback from conservative media in the U.S.
“The idea that Tucker would be sanctioned for engaging [in] free speech and journalism is the kind of thuggish tyranny one might expect from Vladimir Putin’s regime, not from democratic western governments,” posted Daily Wire co-founder Jeremy Boreing. “Even if Tucker flies rhetorical cover for Putin, a man with hundreds of nuclear weapons trained [on] us — and I hope he is sincere when he says that is not what he is there to do — he would still be well within his rights to do so.”
The idea that Tucker would be sanctioned for engaging free speech and journalism is the kind of thuggish tyranny one might expect from Vladimir Putin’s regime, not from democratic western governments.
Even if Tucker flies rhetorical cover for Putin, a man with hundreds of… https://t.co/8uSSBxT8QV
— Jeremy Boreing (@JeremyDBoreing) February 7, 2024
Glenn Beck, founder of The Blaze, said: “So, you’re not allowed to interview dictators now?! Should we also expect sanctions for the New York Times, which fawned over Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler? How about Dan Rather for interviewing Saddam Hussein? Or Megyn Kelly for also interviewing Putin? This is what journalists do. They get BOTH sides of the story.”
Reports are now claiming the EU might SANCTION @TuckerCarlson for interviewing Putin. Um…WHAT?! So, you’re not allowed to interview dictators now?!
Should we also expect sanctions for the New York Times, which fawned over Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler?
How about Dan Rather…
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) February 7, 2024