Trump wasn’t ‘Particularly Involved’ in Freeing Whelan
- Fiona Hill claimed that some US citizens held in Russia are involved in “political plays.”
- Critics, including Trump asked why Brittney Griner was released while Paul Whelan is still in jail.
- Hill stated that Trump was not “particularly interested” in Paul [Whelan]While in office,’s case’
Trump’s critics are asking why Brittney Greiner was released in a prisoner swap deal with Russia while Paul Whelan is still in jail. Current and former National Security Council officials insist that such negotiations can’t be so simple.
Griner was released from Russian detainmentAfter spending 10 month in custody, Thursday saw her released. She was charged with the large scale transportation of drugs. Russian officials found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
Whelan’s freedom has been the subject of ongoing negotiations between Biden and Russian officials. He was not included in the prisoner exchange. After being convicted of espionage charges, the former Marine was taken to Russia and has been held there since 2018.
The Biden administration promised Whelan “we’re coming to get you” and urged him to “keep the faith”After Whelan’s expression he was “disappointed” that not enough had been done to secure his freedom.
Trump: “The America-hating basketball player who is playing for the ‘Merchant of Death’ is a one-sided catastrophe and a big win for Russia.” postedTruth Social. “If I made that deal, the Dems would chant RUSSIA! RUSSIA! RUSSIA!”
Other Republicans also have criticized the dealWith Rep. Mike WaltzFlorida called the swap “shameful” while questioning why a veteran is being released over a “celebrity”. Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan adding “President Biden has left Paul Whelan behind.”
“SO @POTUS just traded a foe who smuggles guns and assists in shooting Americans for an American who shoots basketballs and smuggles drugs, all while a former Marine, Paul Whelan, rots inside a Russian prison.” tweetedRep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. “Let that sink in.”
John Kirby, National Security Council Communications Chief, said that trading Whelan was not an option offered by the Russians.
Kirby stated, “They treat Paul differently due to these sham spyage charges.” Russians have placed him in this special category.
Face the Nation: Fiona HillThe former president and senior director for European affairs and Russian affairs at the National Security Council (2017 to 2019) said that Whelan’s possible release was “raised many-times by the Russians” while she was working for Trump, but that the deal never happened.
Hill stated, “I also have the responsibility to state here that President Trump wasn’t particularly interested in engaging in that trade for Paul Whelan.” “He wasn’t particularly interested in Paul Whelan’s case in a way that one would have expected him to.”
Hill said that Whelan was “set up” for espionage charges and that negotiations were handled differently to “very minor infractions,” as was the case with Griner and former Marine Trevor Reed. released in April in a swap for convicted drug smugglerKonstantin Yaroshenko.
She said that Reed, Griner, Whelan and Griner were all involved in “political games” while doing things she described as “completely ordinary”.
Hill stated that governments are doing this for trading purposes but also to mess with our politics. “And we’re falling every single time for this — the more that we fight with each other, the more that we play into their hands. We also run the risk of other Americans being taken because it’s a way to influence our domestic politics.
Insider asked for comment from Trump and Hill representatives, but they did not respond immediately.
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