KEY POINTS

  • Swapping Viktor Bout for Brittney Griner 'does not seem like a very good trade': Trump
  • Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for carrying cannabis oil in her luggage 
  • Bout is accused of selling weaponry to Al Qaeda and the Taliban

Former President Donald Trump has slammed the Biden administration’s plan to exchange a Russian arms dealer for the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner, calling the American basketball star a “potentially spoiled person.”

Speaking on the Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show on Friday, Trump said swapping Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for the freedom of Griner and detained former U.S. Marine Paul Wheeler “does not seem like a very good trade.”

“She knew you don’t go in there loaded up with drugs, and she admitted it. 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?” Trump said. “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.”

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has been detained in Russia since February when authorities in Moscow found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. Cannabis is considered illegal in Russia.

Griner, who pleaded guilty earlier this month, said she had a prescription for medical marijuana to help with the pain. The American basketball star argued that an interpreter failed to translate most of what authorities were telling her while she was detained at the Sheremetyevo International Airport. She also noted that authorities at the airport had her sign documents without an explanation about what the papers were for.

“Translations were not very good. I remember one time seeing a stack of papers that he was supposed to transfer to me, and he looked at me for a brief moment, and his exact words were basically, ‘You’re guilty,’” Griner said in a testimony.

Bout, who is known as the “Merchant of Death,” is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for conspiracy to kill Americans, conspiracy to deliver anti-aircraft missiles and aiding a terrorist organization. He is accused of selling weapons to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, among other things, according to the New York Times.

Bout was arrested in 2008 in a sting operation where he was preparing to provide informants for the Drug Enforcement Administration posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia with $20 million worth of weaponry. The U.S. classifies the group as a narco-terrorist organization.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner sits in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, July 27, 2022.  Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner sits in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, July 27, 2022. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS Reuters / POOL
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