The wife of Brittney Griner will meet with President Joe Biden on Friday, the White House announced. Griner, who admitted admission to narcotics charges, is currently being held in a prison in Russia. Few facts have surfaced regarding the prospective prisoner exchange since the White House announced it in July. For daily email delivery of the newest tech news and scoops, subscribe to our newsletter. The White House announced Thursday that President Joe Biden will meet with Brittney Griner’s wife on Friday as the WNBA player approaches the seventh month of her detention in Russia. The president will show his “continuing commitment” to securing Griner’s release after weeks with few updates to the public on the situation.
The scheduled meeting will mark Biden’s first face-to-face encounter with Cherelle Griner, the athlete’s wife, since Brittney Griner was detained in February after authorities allegedly found hashish oil-infused vape cartridges in her luggage at the Moscow airport.
Griner admitted admission to accusations of drug smuggling in July, and in early August, he was given a nine-year prison term in a Russian jail. Insider was informed at the time by legal experts that Griner’s guilty plea was a calculated attempt to hasten the process of her repatriation.
In May, the State Department reclassified her incarceration as “wrongful” and forwarded her case to the Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.
Griner’s wife, friends, and teammates have become more outspoken in their efforts to secure her release and have urged the White House to step up their efforts to bring her home.
The administration said in July that it had proposed exchanging Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is currently serving a 25-year term in the US, along with Paul Whelan, a former Marine who has also been unjustly imprisoned in Russia for close to four years.
However, recent reports indicate that a settlement may still be some distance off after a White House source said in August that Russia was attempting to abrogate the planned prisoner exchange. Since its pronouncements in July, the Biden administration hasn’t released any formal updates.
The White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said on Thursday that “we have consistently followed up on that offer and will continue to pursue every avenue to bring them home safely.”
Regardless of whether the White House has made progress in Griner’s release on the black market, the public impression of the matter doesn’t bode well for the US.
The Russians “have already won,” according to Dani Gilbert, a Fellow in US Foreign Policy and International Security at Dartmouth.
Experts told the publication that because Russia first had control over important material pertaining to Griner’s case, it was able to dominate the narrative and make the US appear weak.
“They have made the US government seem bad. Due to a political prisoner, they have placed the White House in a challenging situation, and they are leveraging cultural tension “The New Yorker was informed by Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post writer who was unjustly imprisoned in Iran for more than 500 days. “Russia loves it, and the fallout is here in America.”
This week, Jean-Pierre revealed that Biden will also have a separate meeting with Whelan’s sister.