Sen. Hawley on Griner release: “(Biden) should have done this a lot sooner”

Sen. Hawley discusses President Biden's negotiation to free WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russian custody.
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 8:21 AM CST
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WASHINGTON, DC. (KY3) - Now that American WNBA star Brittney Griner is back on American soil, not all are happy with President Biden’s deal to free her from Russian Custody. In a one-for-one deal with Russia, Griner was freed in exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout, also known as the “Merchant of Death.”

Missouri U.S. Senator Josh Hawley said, although he is happy Griner is coming home, he wonders whether President Biden will do the same for former Marine and U.S. Security Specialist Paul Whelan, who was not included in the deal and therefore still in Russian custody.

“I think it’s great that we have an American coming home, I hope that we’ll see more Americans coming home and I hope he’s gonna drive a hard bargain here and not just give away the store because he doesn’t know how to negotiate,” said Sen. Hawley. “The truth is, that he should have been working on this earlier, he should have gotten a lot of this done sooner but I’m concerned about the pattern of this guy going around to dictators, around the world and begging them, whether it’s for oil or whether it’s for release of prisoners, and not getting much in exchange.”

Many are hoping this deal could signal a thawing in relations between the U.S. and Russia.

“I don’t know about that,” said Sen. Hawley. “I mean, we’ll see, time will tell but I wouldn’t read too much into it. I’m not particularly hopeful.”

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