Biden tells Griner’s wife he’s trying to get WNBA star home


(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke Wednesday with Cherelle Griner, the wife of detained WNBA player Brittney Griner.

According to the White House, the president called to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney Griner’s release as soon as possible.

Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for four months and is currently on trial, accused of possessing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.

In a release from the White House, the president offered his support to the family, saying Brittney Griner is “wrongfully detained … under intolerable circumstances.”

The conversation followed Brittney Griner’s personal appeal to the president in a handwritten letter from the basketball player the White House received on Monday. In the letter, Griner acknowledged her fears that she would spend forever in detention.

“The President called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world,” the White House said in a statement. “He also read her a draft of the letter the President is sending to Brittney Griner today.”

Biden committed to making sure they receive “all possible assistance” while the administration pursues steps to win Brittney Griner’s release, the White House said.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Air Force One today said Griner remains very much on the mind of the president.

“He receives daily updates about the status of her negotiations,” she said. “And the U.S. government continues to work aggressively, using every available means, to bring her home along with other wrongfully detained Americans.”

There continue to be talks of a prisoner swap for Griner, but the White House has declined to release any information on who could potentially be part of a deal. One name that continues to be thrown around is Viktor Bout, nicknamed “The Merchant of Death.”

Bout is a Russian arms dealer currently in prison, facing a 25-year sentence for allegedly plotting to sell weapons with the intention of killing Americans.

Griner’s trial is scheduled to resume Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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