The former president — who’s currently under investigation by the House Oversight Committee for helping to instigate an insurrection — guested on a podcast (The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show) where he argued that Griner should get no help from the U.S. government while on trial in a hostile foreign country. Currently, a plan is being formed for a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia to ensure both Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who has been detained on charges of espionage, come home. In exchange, the U.S. is considering releasing notorious arms trafficker Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death” back to his home country. Trump was adamant that the trade wasn’t an equal one.
“She knew you don’t go in there loaded up with drugs, and she admitted it,” Trump said (via Rolling Stone). “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 gonna be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person goes into Russia loaded up with drugs.”
Now, Trump’s ignorance is showing a bit here because Griner wasn’t “loaded up with drugs.” She was detained in Moscow after authorities found a couple of vape cartridges with cannabis oil on her person. She also reportedly had a doctor’s note recommending she use the drug for pain. Griner submitted to drug testing upon her arrest and those tests found no illegal substances in her system, but Russia’s strict stance on marijuana use means she’s facing up to 10 years in prison anyway. Griner is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community and imprisoned in a country that has, historically, been a dangerous place for Queer people.
Despite all that, Trump — who once tried to defend human rights abuses by his buddy Vladimir Putin during the initial invasion of Ukraine — believes Griner and Whelan aren’t worth trading for.
She got caught,” Trump continued. “And now we’re supposed to get her out — and she makes, you know, a lot of money, I guess. We’re supposed to get her out for an absolute killer and one of the biggest arms dealers in the world.”
It’s a weird stance from the guy who had no problem pardoning a bunch of his friends when they were convicted of criminal behavior.
(Via Rolling Stone)