Donald Trump has blasted the Biden administration following the release from Russia of Brittney Griner who was held for months in Russian prisons on drug charges. She was released Thursday in a one-for-one prisoner swap for notorious international arms dealer Viktor Bout, bringing an end to an ordeal that sparked intense high-level negotiations between Washington and the Moscow to secure her freedom.
To secure Griner’s release, the president ordered that Bout be freed and returned to Russia. Mr. Biden signed the commutation order cutting short Bout’s 25-year federal prison sentence.
Notably, the Griner-for-Bout exchange left retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan imprisoned in Russia. Whelan has been in Russian custody for nearly four years. He was convicted on espionage charges that the U.S. has called false.
“We’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan,” Mr. Biden said Thursday, adding “we will never give up” on securing his release.
Welcome home Viktor Bout.
Arms dealings are LEGAL as long as you deal for CIA. But if you deal for FSB or KGB you could end up in jail as a CRIMINAL.
Merchant of death' was Sarkis Soghanalian, he was dealing for CIA. Don't steal his name.https://t.co/AQnlRxhTyB#VictorBout
— George A. Hamalian (@gahamalian) December 8, 2022
“The ‘Merchant of Death’ Victor Bout, is one of the most dangerous men on the face of the earth.”…@60Minutes
Yet we traded him for an American-hating, third rate, basketball player. pic.twitter.com/UeQKGg0tQR
— Carrie ❤️ America 🇺🇸 (@FarmGirlCarrie) December 8, 2022
Brittney Griner is freed in exchange for the Russian Merchant of death, Victor Bout.😭😭😡😡💀💀💀
Civiian Casualties ! Liberia 🇱🇷 250,000,Sierra Leone 🇸🇱 50,000,The Ivory Coast 25,000, The Sudan /South Sudan 🇸🇩 1 million, Rwanda,D.R Congo 🇨🇩. Unjust ! 😭 pic.twitter.com/3JOiM558pD
— QuiQui (@Grain2013) December 8, 2022