In Atlanta, Brexit champion Farage dismisses Russian interference claims

Nigel Farage, a European Parliament and pro-Brexit leader, speaks to the Rotary Club of Atlanta. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)

A top British ally of Donald Trump dismissed the idea that Russia interfered in the 2016 election on Monday even as the FBI’s director confirmed an investigation into possible links between the president’s campaign and Russian government.

Nigel Farage, the British populist leader, said after an appearance at the Rotary Club of Atlanta that the notion that there was any coordination between the two camps was “absolutely ridiculous.”

“Do governments watch and fiddle around in other countries’ elections?” Farage said. “Well, America’s done that over the last 60 years. But the idea that there was some collusion? That’s utter rubbish.”

FBI Director James Comey told a House Intelligence panel on Monday that the agency is investigating the “Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 president election,” a probe that is investigating whether Trump aides were in contact with Russian officials.

Farage, who led the pro-Brexit U.K. Independence Party, delivered a pro-Trump pep talk to a decidedly mixed crowd of Rotary business power brokers, drawing scattered laughter – and some praise – from the corporate chief executives and community leaders in the audience.

His message to them was pointed: “The revolution of 2016 is not over.”

“Anyone here who is a strong Democrat and really thinks the European Union is a strong project, your lives are going to get more miserable,” Farage said, adding of Trump’s critics: “They all think this is just some revolt by ill-educated, rarely washed peasants and we’ll all go back to normal. Well it won’t.”

He predicted a victory by far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in France would be a death blow for the European Union, and he said the notion of Scotland declaring independence as a result of Brexit is “nonsense.”

When asked about his future plans, he didn’t rule out a run to lead Britain if Prime Minister Theresa May didn’t move quickly enough to sever ties with the EU.

“If in two years’ time we’ve got the kind of Brexit I’ve wanted, I’m happy. I’m done,” he said, adding: “But if in two years’ time we have not got that type of Brexit, then the soft-blooded English will become so blooming angry that I’ll have no choice to go in the front lines, in the trenches.”

As for Trump, he said his sharpest critics will be surprised by a “genuinely pro-business president” who is willing to slash corporate tax rates.

“He does make little mistakes, but his instincts on the big stuff are right,” Farage said, predicting that the U.S.-U.K. ties will strengthen through the course of his presidency.

“He genuinely feels he’s made a promise to the American people,” he said. “That promise was the ticket and the policies on which he was elected. And that attitude is come hell or high water, whatever challenges come his way, he’s going to put that ticket into action.”

His remarks were met with a mix of polite applause and, at times, laughter at his barbed quips. After the event, developer Emory Morsberger delivered his assessment on Farage’s appearance.

“He’s a charming, British version of Trump.”

Reader Comments 0

30 comments
Gail Broome Jackson
Gail Broome Jackson

Ya think if Hillary had been elected that anyone would be investigating The Clinton ties to Russia........URANIUM DEAL.......you can bet your bottom dollar they would not be. This is a witch hunt. Hillary interfered with the campaign by being such a terrible candidate! Until liberals and Democrats learn how to stop being arrogant and learn to relate to the working man they will continue to be voted out in state houses, governorships, Congress and the Presidency.

Tim Worley
Tim Worley

AJC, uh, do you mean like when Obama interfered in Isreal's elections?

Ben Dendy
Ben Dendy

How in the world could they influence electoral voters. Utterly nonsense. We Americans are not that stupid. If those liberals need to grasp at straws steal killiarys broom.

John Dunn
John Dunn

Sad that Trump has to import his supporters.

Josh Heart
Josh Heart

Claims are rolling around about Russia, but for a fact, Clinton has lied, cheated and let other countries into our system through her misuse of computer equipment, and then there's Odummer who has lied about everything from day one. Against Israel, openly allowing Iran to break laws, build nukes, let another country cross his line, and allowing the American way of life get bolted to its knees because of his anti-American policies, and y'all liberals scream out about this?! Lol...love your logic and double standards.

John Dunn
John Dunn

Here's a quiz hotshot. Of all the people you mentioned which of them is our president? Which one had multiple staff members meet with Russians and then said, under oath, that they didn't? Which one of them actively sought to remove sanctions on the Russians? Which one had the Republican platform changed with a regard to the Russians while meeting with Russians? Double standard my butt. It is so sad all the excuses you people have to make for your guy. You should all just move to Russia and quit trying to damage America.

Josh Heart
Josh Heart

How about you fight me for America? Winner takes all!! And im pro-Russia. They are more "my type"!

Nolan Sims
Nolan Sims

John Dunn are you looking in a mirror?

Arno Alexander
Arno Alexander

So, waiting on my usuals to show up and justify this, and what is going on with the Trump administration. "Well Obama..." and "lol, fake news" isn't going to cut it this time!

Angie Parham
Angie Parham

Yes, he attended the NAACP Of Cobb County Gala a couple of weeks ago. Thank for attending Sir.

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

He hasn't gotten his way yet. Real Brits are still fighting in court.

Josh Heart
Josh Heart

What's a real Brit? One that doesn't want the exit or the other?

Chris Fowler
Chris Fowler

Josh Heart 99% did not vote to exit. 51.9%

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

Sound about right but when you get divorced she will still be your sister.

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

Josh Heart my grandfather always told me don't fight someone who can't defend themselves. Having a battle of wits with you would not be a challenge for a 3rd grader. I'm not wasting my time with your ignorance.

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

Your family tree like most white supremacists is a telephone pole.

Josh Heart
Josh Heart

LOL!! That's exactly who i am! I'm actuallly Putin! You almost had me there...

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

Real British people did not want to leave the European Union. Much like the last American election a bunch of uninformed uneducated people voted against their best interest.

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

Josh Heart you said it if you voted for Dumpster your either unprepared uneducated or a racist bigoted white supremacists terrorist. Pick one.

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

Josh Heart I think LBJ explained people like you the best... “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s is better than the best colored man, he won’t know you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him someone to look down on and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Lyndon B Johnson

Josh Heart
Josh Heart

Lol..51% wins there I guess. And London has falling to Muslims but I can tell you're all about hugging them. And I'm either uneducated or a white racist nationalist! I'll take both for 1000, Alex! Lol! You liberals make me giggle.

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

Looks like your a Russian troll saying what Putin tells you to say.

Josh Heart
Josh Heart

I have blacks in my family tree...

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

Josh Heart yea yea every racist bigoted white supremacists terrorist has a black person in their family or some unknown unnamed black friend. Right.