Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) criticized the Biden administration’s U.S.-Russia prisoner exchange that led to basketball star Brittney Griner's release. Cotton also predicted that the swap would lead to an increase in deaths in rogue nations and additional arrests of Americans abroad. The reason? The U.S. traded notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as the “merchant of death,” for Griner.
Brittney, well known for her basketball performance and her opposition to the U.S. national anthem being sung prior to games, had received a sentence of nine years in a Russian prison for a pot conviction.
Cotton argued against the exchange during the Breitbart News Daily radio program on Thursday: “Asked by Alex Marlow if people would die as a result of Viktor Bout being released from prison, Sen. Cotton answered in the affirmative. ‘I think they will because, again, Viktor Bout is known as the merchant of death for a reason,’ Sen. Cotton said. ‘It’s not like he’s going to retire to the Black Sea and peacefully live out his golden years in a quiet retirement. Vladimir Putin wanted him out for a reason.’”
Bout gained his fame by selling arms to some of the most oppressive regimes in the world, as the RedState‘s Brandon Morse reported: “During his decades-long career, Bout is believed to have armed the Taliban and the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor’s regime in Liberia, Unita in Angola, various Congolese factions and Abu Sayyaf, a militant Islamic group in the Philippines.”
A great group of people. Cotton continued: “Viktor Bout has the blood of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocents around the world on his hands. Don’t get me wrong, Brittney Griner was wrongly detained and used as a negotiating chip with the Biden administration and we should have been engaged in efforts to try to secure her release. But to exchange her, who – to be fair – did violate the laws of a foreign country to which she was traveling, in return for one of the world’s most notorious arms dealers is folly to the greatest degree.”
Cotton is also concerned about Americans who will be traveling abroad in the future, since countries are aware that they could hold someone in detention and make use of them as a bargaining chip with the gullible Joe Biden. He explained, “I also think that more Americans will be detained, in some cases unjustly detained, in the future because they realize that Joe Biden – at least as long as he is president – will give away the farm in return for any American citizen.… What does Joe Biden think is going to happen now? Every time someone wants to get their arms traffickers or their drug dealers out of American prison, all they have to do is arrest an American on some trivial charge and sentence them to nine years and Joe Biden is going to come running with the keys to the prison to release people who are justifiably in prison.”
Making the trade even more harmful, the Biden administration was unable to secure the release of the long-time American prisoner U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is currently serving a 16-year sentence in Russia on unsubstantiated spying charges. His family is said to have been “devastated” by the news.
Cotton is 100 percent right to slam Biden for his shady deal. It will not just make the world more dangerous by placing this murderous thug in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hands, but it will also signal to our adversaries that our leaders are capable of being fools. Biden was duped by the ill-conceived prisoner swap, and the leaders of other nations have taken notice.
Former President Donald Trump is in agreement:”What kind of a deal is it to swap Brittney Griner, a basketball player who openly hates our Country, for the man known as ‘The Merchant of Death,’ who is one of the biggest arms dealers anywhere in the World, and responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and horrific injuries. Why wasn’t former Marine Paul Whelan included in this totally one-sided transaction? He would have been let out for the asking. What a ‘stupid’ and unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA!”