President Biden to Meet With Brittney Griner’s Wife at the White House

by Sean Griffin

President Biden to meet with Brittney Griner’s wife at the White House, according to a report by Yahoo! News. The President will meet with Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife, and Paul Whelan’s sister Elizabeth Whelan.

The subject of the meeting will reportedly be to “discuss [Biden’s] continuing commitment to bringing their family members home safely.”

Griner was locked up in February 2022 by Russian authorities. Russian officials discovered cannabis oil in her luggage at the airport. Reportedly, they found less than a gram of hash oil cartridges. Her trial began on July 1st, and she pled guilty to the charges. She received nine years at her sentencing on August 4th. She also paid a fine of $16,500.

Since her imprisonment by Russian authorities, U.S. officials have tried to get the country to release Griner back to the United States, matters complicated by Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.

In recent weeks, the United States has been looking to organize a prisoner swap to bring Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan back into the states. Russia, in return, would receive Viktor Bout — also known as the “Merchant of Death.” Bout is a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving time in America.

NBA Stars Have Attempted to Facilitate Release of Griner

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry recently revealed in a Rolling Stone profile that he offered to help facilitate the release and return of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russia.

Moreover, weeks ago, Dennis Rodman revealed he planned to cancel his trip to Russia over government concerns.

The Hall of Famer had revealed his plans to NBC News. Rodman said that he received permission to help bring Griner home. However, the U.S. State Department currently has an advisory in place which urges Americans not to travel to Russia. The United States continues to consider Griner “wrongfully detained.”

Rodman reportedly backs out of the plans after the government urged him to cancel the trip. Griner was sentenced to nine years in Russian prison earlier this month. Rodman wanted to help bring Griner back to U.S. soil. He claims to know Russian President Vladimir Putin “too well.”

Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre talked about the potential of using the same playbook for Griner that they used for Trevor Reed.

“We made a significant offer a couple of months ago through the same channels we use for Trevor Reed,” Jean-Pierre said Thursday. “We have followed up on that offer repeatedly and will continue to pursue every avenue to bring them home safely.”

Reed, a 30-year-old U.S. Marine veteran, was released in a prisoner swap with Russia in April.

It remains to be seen whether the administration will be able to successfully negotiate a prisoner swap in exchange for Griner.