People on both sides of the political aisle were let down by President Biden handing over notorious terrorist Viktor Bout in exchange for Brittney Griner. Count Democrat Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, among those who are angry with President Biden.
“This should be a moment of deep reflection for the United States government to recognize we have a serious problem with hostage-taking of Americans,” Menendez said in a released statement. “The Russians and other regimes that take American citizens hostage cannot pretend that there is equivalence between the Brittney Griners of the world and people like Viktor Bout, the so-called ‘Merchant of Death.’ Nothing could be further from the truth, and we cannot ignore that releasing Bout back into the world is a deeply disturbing decision.”
“We must stop inviting dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans overseas as bargaining chips, and we must try to do better at encouraging American citizens against traveling to places like Russia where they are primary targets for this type of unlawful detention,” he continued.
The statement by Melendez also pointed out U.S. Marine veteran Paul Whelan was not rescued by the Biden administration.
“My heart also goes out to the families of other American citizens in Russian prisons and labor camps, including Paul Whelan,” the statement finished. “They have my renewed commitment and determination to use the power of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to secure Mr. Whelan’s safe return and to continue fighting for the release of all Russian political prisoners, like Vladimir Kara Murza, and all other unjustly detained Americans.”
Statement from New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on the release of Brittney Griner. pic.twitter.com/OP2Rsv4VTf
— Shlomo Schorr (@OneJerseySchorr) December 8, 2022
Whelan ripped the Biden administration in a CNN interview after learning Griner was the one who was going to be freed.
“My heart also goes out to the families of other American citizens in Russian prisons and labor camps, including Paul Whelan,” the statement concluded. “They have my renewed commitment and determination to use the power of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to secure Mr. Whelan’s safe return and to continue fighting for the release of all Russian political prisoners, like Vladimir Kara Murza, and all other unjustly detained Americans.”
Paul Whelan tells CNN: “I am greatly disappointed more hasn't been done to secure my release, especially as the four year anniversary of my arrest is coming up. I was arrested for a crime that never occurred. I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”https://t.co/6KMof1iQLl
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 8, 2022
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