The Brittney Griner Trade Just Got Much Worse, With a Saudi Angle

AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
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On Thursday morning, news broke that Brittney Griner was headed home. The embattled WNBA star who once asked her league to stop playing the national anthem had been imprisoned for months in Russia, after being caught with hash oil.


A blockbuster trade was made to secure her release. Or at least, it was a blockbuster for one side. Russia received notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout. The United States got Griner and no one else.

But while the deal was lopsided, it was arguably necessary. The Biden administration swears that imprisoned former US Marine Paul Whelen wasn’t being offered by Russia, and anytime you are dealing with a dictatorial state, getting fleeced seems to be the name of the game. We saw that during the Obama years when the former president released five hardcore terrorists to secure the release of Bowe Bergdahl, who had deserted his unit and gotten captured.

In the case of the Biden administration, though, it doesn’t appear they are being totally honest about what transpired. I know, you are shocked they might hide details of the situation to try to save face. That’s completely not on-brand for them.

Sarcasm aside, a few weeks prior to the Griner deal, there was a curious announcement by Biden. Namely, he let it be known that Saudi Arabia was not legally liable for the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi. That set hair aflame in the news media, which had long seen subservience to the Saudis as a Republican problem. Further, the admission by Biden seemed oddly timed, not pursuant to anything currently happening.

Now, we know why. The Saudis were mediating the negotiation to get Griner back.


So not only did the United States have to give up a guy named “the merchant of death,” but they also had to bend the knee and make a large concession to the Saudis to get the deal done. All the while, Biden and his handlers have been trying to keep the full extent under wraps.

Try to imagine that Donald Trump made this trade. How do you think the reception to it would have been? Heck, just making that concession to the Saudis would have probably led to impeachment hearings. But Biden gave that up, and a murderous arms dealer who will ultimately go on to kill more people, for a WNBA star that couldn’t do without weed for a week.

Again, it’s perfectly reasonable to argue the deal was bad but necessary. Griner’s sentence was ridiculous and the Russians were obviously using her as bait. But man, did Biden once again show how awful he is at foreign policy. That he’s being untruthful about the entire ordeal is just icing on the cake.


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