In an exclusive interview with German magazine Die Zeit, ex-UKIP boss Nigel Farage seemed to suffer a meltdown when probed on his international connections, private talks with Julian Assange, and the impact of Brexit.
The Brexiteer was grilled by journalist Steffen Dobbert over his links to Russia, US President Donald Trump, and his recent meeting with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
But Farage and his press officer were not content with the line of questioning. The resulting interview quickly went viral on social media.
Not long into the conversation, Dobbert writes: “Farage’s press spokesman interrupts the interview. He says that the interview had actually been arranged to discuss trade relations between the EU and the UK. Neither he nor Farage, the spokesman says, want to talk about Farage’s connections to the WikiLeaks founder or to Russia.”
“So you were sent by someone to speak to Julian Assange? What did you talk about?” the reporter insisted, referring to a much publicized sighting of Farage leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange currently resides.
“It has nothing to do with you. It was a private meeting,” Farage shot back.
Before that strained exchange, Farage had already denied receiving any monetary support from the Russian state, but the conversation did not improve from there.
When Dobbert asks Farage about a meeting between the then-UKIP leader and the Russian Embassy’s deputy chief-of-mission in London, the MEP seems to lose his temper.
“I think you are a nutcase! You are really a nutcase! Brexit is the best thing to happen: for Russia, for America, for Germany and for democracy. And that’s the key point,” Farage replied.
Farage in the Die Zeit interview: “I want the EU to I destroyed.” By default, this is now also the UK government’s policy. pic.twitter.com/PA6urfMYdG
— Frederic Moreau (@goodclimate) May 19, 2017
And the reaction to the journalist’s questions on Brexit ending freedom of movement between Britain and Europe struck a similar chord.
“You are away with the fairies. You must be mad,” Farage is quoted in Die Zeit saying.
“I have never heard anything so immature in all my life. Because of Brexit I will lose my option to travel to Hamburg? You should be on a comedy show, not be a journalist.”
The interview is then abruptly ended by the unnamed UKIP press man, but it became an instant hit on social media.
“This interview with Farage in Zeit is… spiky, to say the least,” Press Association reporter Alastair Reed wrote on Twitter.
“Nigel Farage is interviewed by Die Zeit about meeting Julian Assange, and Russian money. He does not like it,” chimed the Guardian’s diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour.
“Farage faces persistent questioning by Die Zeit, inc on Russian ties. When his rhetorical nonsense is challenged, he doesn’t respond well,” added human rights lawyer Shona Jolly QC.