“We were hoping to get more out of this” Sen. Tuberville reacts to Griner release
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - It’s a victory nearly a year in the making - made possible by what Biden is calling “painstaking and intense negotiations” with Russia.
“Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones,” said Biden. “She should’ve been there all along.”
Griner was arrested back in February at an airport outside of Moscow for possession of less than a gram of hashish oil.
She was sentenced to nine years in one of Russia’s most notorious penal colonies.
“This is a day that has taken a long time. We’ve never stopped pushing for her release” said Biden.
The deal came together last minute, with key players from the state department, Russia and the United Arab Emirates all in talks.
In exchange for Griner, the US is releasing Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer known as the ‘Merchant of Death”.
He was serving a 25-year sentence in the US on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, supporting a terrorist organization and conspiracy to acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles.
For some on Capitol Hill, while they’re happy Griner is home, feel we got fleeced in the deal.
“We played all of our cards. We were all hoping to get more for what we got out of this” said Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville.
For Brittneys wife Cherelle, Thursday is a prayer answered.
“Today I’m just standing here overwhelmed with emotion.. but the most important emotion I have right now is sincere gratitude”
While Thursday is a day of celebration, the Biden administration says there’s still work to be done.
American Paul Whelan is still in Russian custody after a 2018 arrest for his alleged involvement in a spy operation.
Whelan denies that and has said he is disappointed the Administration wasn’t able to include him in the swap.
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