Noam Chomsky has labelled allegations of electoral collusion between US President Donald Trump and Russia a joke that is turning America into the world's laughing stock.
Chomsky, one of the world's most eminent academics and political commentators, claimed Democrats are only so focussed on alleged Russian interference and contact because they "utterly mishandled the election and blew a perfect opportunity to win".
The 88-year-old also went as far to say that Trump's attempts to improve the relationship with Russia was the "one ray of light" in his otherwise "train wreck" presidency.
Appearing on Democracy Now on Tuesday (4 April), Chomsky said: "It is a joke. Half the world is cracking up in laughter.
"The United States doesn't just interfere in elections. It overthrows governments it doesn't like, institutes military dictatorships.
"Simply in the case of Russia alone – it's the least of it – the US government, under [Bill] Clinton, intervened quite blatantly and openly, then tried to conceal it, to get their man [Boris] Yeltsin in, in all sorts of ways.
"So, this, as I say, it's considered – it's turning the United States, again, into a laughingstock in the world."
Chomsky's comments come as a recent poll indicated that 52% of Americans want an independent probe into Trump's links to Russia.
The scandal has already seen the resignation of Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who stepped down after claims he attempted to cover up conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US.
However, Chomsky insists that while Democrats pressed the Russia question, they let Trump's other corrosive elements slide.
He said: "Well, you can understand why the Democratic Party managers want to try to find some blame for the fact they utterly mishandled the election and blew a perfect opportunity to win, handed it over to the opposition.
"But that's hardly a justification for allowing the Trump policies to slide by quietly, many of them not only harmful to the population, but extremely destructive, like the climate change policies.
"And meanwhile, [while they] focus on one thing that could become a step forward, if it was adjusted to move towards serious efforts to reduce growing and dangerous tensions right on the Russian border, where they could blow up."
He added: "These are serious issues. People like William Perry, who has a distinguished career and is a nuclear strategist and is no alarmist at all, is saying that we're back to one of the worst moments of the Cold War, if not worse.
"That's really serious. And efforts to try to calm that down would be very welcome."