Jul 31, 2022 - World

Trump slams reported plan to exchange Griner, Whelan for arms dealer

Donald Trump
Donald Trump looks on during the pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Invitational - Bedminster at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 28. Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump slammed the reported plan to exchange a Russian arms dealer for the freedom of WNBA star Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan during an appearance on the Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show on Friday, saying the deal "doesn’t seem like a very good trade."

Driving the news: It was reported earlier this week that the Biden administration was exchanging Russian national Viktor Bout — currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for supplying weapons to a terrorist organization and conspiring to kill Americans — for Griner and Whelan's release.

What they're saying: Trump blamed Griner for her detention, repeatedly saying Griner went to Russia "loaded up with drugs."

  • "They’re very vigilant about drugs. They don’t like drugs. And she got caught. And now we’re supposed to get her out," Trump said.
  • "We’re supposed to get her out for an absolute killer and one of the biggest arms dealers in the world. Killed many Americans. Killed many people. And he’s gonna get a free card and we’re gonna get her," Trump said, referring to Bout.
  • "She knew you don’t go in there loaded up with drugs, and she admitted it. I assume she admitted it without too much force because it is what it is, and it certainly doesn’t seem like a very good trade, does it?"
  • "He’s absolutely one of the worst in the world, and he’s going to be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person goes into Russia loaded up with drugs," Trump said.

The big picture: Griner, who has been imprisoned since February, pleaded guilty earlier this month to drug charges in Russia that carry up to 10 years in prison.

  • However, Griner said that there was "no intent" to break the law by bringing vape cartridges containing hashish oil into Russia.
  • Griner's lawyers also earlier this month told a Russian court that doctors in the U.S. prescribed Griner medical cannabis two years ago for chronic pain.
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