Russian state television celebrated the country’s “position of power” following Brittney Griner-Merchant of Death trade in an eye poking interview.
Russian operative Maria Butina, who was convicted of covertly serving as a Russian agent while in the United States, appeared on Russian television to brag about the decision to trade Griner for Viktor Bout, a supervillain-esque character known as the “Merchant of Death.”
Julia Davis, a columnist for the far left Daily Beast, noted that Butina seemed to make the remarks about trading Griner to boast that Paul Whelan, a Canadian-born United States Marine who also holds British and Irish citizenship, remains in a Russian work camp.
Butina described the United States’ trade as “an offer that can’t be refused” and boasted about Russia’s “position of power,” reported Davis.
Convicted Russian operative Maria Butina appeared on Russian TV to assert that it was Russia's decision that Brittney Griner was exchanged for Viktor Bout (as opposed to Paul Whelan), describing it as "an offer that can't be refused" & boasting about Russia's "position of power." pic.twitter.com/MndPiCGP8N
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) December 9, 2022
Meanwhile, another clip surfaced showing Bout speak to his mother over the phone.
Russian state TV showing Victor Bout talking to his mother over the phone and laughing and having a good time after being released in exchange for Brittney Griner. They're laughing at us. pic.twitter.com/NYCj9yqzwY
— Louis Marinelli (@LouisJMarinelli) December 8, 2022
Though the Biden administration claims that getting Whelan back was never an option, it is nevertheless being further repudiated by conservatives and even some of its pro-war allies for its Griner trade.
Fox News Host Tucker Carlson elevated conservative attacks on the decision, asserting that the Biden White House chose the basketball player of the Marine because Griner is a black “lesbian” who “despises America.”
“There was only room for one in the lifeboat and the Marine got left behind,” said Carlson in a fiery segment. “Well, why did they make that choice? Well, you should know that Whelan is a Trump voter, and he made the mistake of saying so on social media.”
“He’s paying the price for that now,” Carlson noted. “Brittney Griner is not.”
“She’s got very different politics,” said Carlson, later noting that Griner refused to stand for the National Anthem and previously claimed the United States was rife with police brutality and racism.
“That’s the kind of position that gets you rewarded by Joe Biden. ‘Hate America? Perfect,” said Carlson. “We’ll free the guy who sold weapons to drug cartels to get you out early.’”