There are a lot of things President Biden won’t stand for. People saying anything but compliments about Hunter, doing the right thing when the wrong thing is much easier, and talking to reporters on his bike are just some of them. Now, we can add being outright ignored to that list as well.
There’s now the action of offering up former Soviet military officer and arms trafficking suspect Viktor Bout in exchange for WNBA star Brittney Griner and prior service U.S. Marine Paul Whelan. Given the stories behind all three, something doesn’t add up.
Whelan has been in a Russian jail since 2018 and was not tried until 2020 when he was accused of being a spy. He had been traveling to Russia with a Russian girlfriend to relax and practice his Russian. After a night out on the town, he got scooped up for getting a bit too drunk and accused of being a spy. He was quickly convicted and sentenced to 16 years for espionage.
Griner, as many know, got popped bringing THC vape cartridges into Russia. They have tried using her prescription back in Arizona, but Griner suddenly changed her tone and plead guilty to the possession, but claimed the cartridges were packed by mistake as she was in a rush. As a result, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
To get these Americans back, Biden is prepared to hand over the illegal arms trafficker Bout. Extradited to the U.S. on narco-terrorism charges and in 2011, he was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans, supplying anti-aircraft missiles, and aiding a terrorist organization. As a result, he received a 25-year sentence.
So far, Russia has acknowledged the U.S. attempts to reach a deal but has refused to sit down at the table together.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price gave a briefing to reporters on July 28th, where he claimed things are moving along, but not in a satisfactory way. “We continue to go back and forth. We continue to expect that they’ll have an opportunity to speak in the coming days… The fact that now several weeks later, we are where we are, I think you can read into that as being a reflection of the fact that this has not moved to the extent we would like.”
Biden, on the other hand, is losing his cool according to insiders. He sees no reason the Kremlin won’t come to the table and negotiate a swap. Considering this move goes completely against the Department of Justice guidelines, it’s not surprising to hear he’s throwing little tantrums over this. Then again, he’s also received more bad press over her detention in the last six months than he has the entire time Whelan has been locked up.
Given his multiple connections to Russia, many Americans expected that he could just reach out and get Griner released immediately. As if he had a duty or a responsibility to help someone who broke the Russian laws that are incredibly stringent on marijuana. With Griner having played for the last five seasons in Russian leagues, these laws are not brand new to her, nor something she had any excuse to be unaware of.
What is even more ironic is the outcry to have a WNBA star released for the same crime that sees people in the U.S. being locked up left and right. While a U.S. prisoner will receive far better treatment than a Russian one, both countries have marijuana as an illegal substance. Should Biden successfully have her released, this could also champion his campaign promise of reclassifying marijuana to the same level that alcohol is now listed at.