Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered to release Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for two Americans, Brittney Griner and Paul N. Whelan, who are currently detained in Russia.
However, former President Trump lambasted the administration for trading a Russian mass murderer for Griner, who is a basketball player and acknowledged her mistake in Russia.
Biden Administration to Release a Russian Arms Dealer
Speaking on the Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show, Trump noted that Griner took the drugs to Russia, despite knowing the laws of the country.
Trump also hoped that Griner did not accept drug ownership under any pressure from the Russian government.
According to the former president, Bout is “one of the worst in the world,” so this prisoner swap is not a “very good trade.”
While Griner is a one-time offender, Bout is a career criminal, who is also known as a “merchant of death.” He has provided arms to rebels and terrorist groups across the world, which helped them in killing numerous Americans.
The Biden administration has offered to exchange Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout for Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, per @CNN
Griner has been detained for 160 days. pic.twitter.com/iGcpT8P07v
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 27, 2022
The high-level talks between Russian and American diplomats are still underway.
It remains unclear whether the deal will be successful or not. However, Blinken reassured Griner’s family that America is doing everything to get the basketball player back home.
So, Trump asserted that the worst arms dealer in the world would get freedom just because a “potentially spoiled person” went to Russia with drugs.
Russia to Score a Major Diplomatic Win Against the US
Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, acknowledged Russia and the US are involved in prisoner swap talks, but added there are no “concrete results.”
Maria believes interests of both countries should be protected at any cost during the bilateral negotiations.
So word is the Biden admin is going to cut a prisoner swap deal for Brittney Griner, returning arms dealing terrorist Viktor Bout to Russia. So that's a fair deal, eh? We give up a Russian terrorist and get back an America-hating, hash-smoking WNBA player. The Art of the Deal! 🤪
— Joe Has Dementia (@RokerGlasses) July 27, 2022
Griner was arrested in Russia in February when Russian customs officials found “vapes” stuffed with hashish oil in her belongings.
Her legal team acknowledged earlier in July that she takes “full responsibility” for her negligence. She is likely to face a ten-year jail term if she does not return to the US in the prisoner swap deal.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also denounced the attempt of the Biden administration to exchange a global arms smuggler with a basketball player.
Calling Bout a “bad guy,” Pompeo noted last week that “Russians want to get him home,” as they know he presents a real and dangerous threat to the United States.
Pompeo also stated this prisoner trade would encourage the Biden administration to strike further controversial deals in the future.
If the Biden administration returns Bout to Russia, it will be a major diplomatic loss for America, as Russia has repeatedly demanded the US to release the arms dealer.
Currently, Bout is serving a 25-year jail term in the US; he was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans, along with other high-profile terrorism charges, in 2011.