Virginia Governor reacts to Russia prisoner swap that freed Brittney Griner

RICHMOND, Va.Brittney Griner is back on U.S. soil, but many are asking “What about Whelan?”

The plane carrying the basketball star arrived in Texas early this morning.

While her return from Russia is being celebrated, the deal that secured her freedom is under intense scrutiny.

She was released as part of a prisoner swap for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.

The trade - also being criticized for not including the release of Paul Whelan - an American businessman and former Marine who has spent the last four years in prison.

“It was either Brittney or no one. That was the option that we were given,” Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Press Secretary said.

“I’m always excited to see an American come home. The Biden administration made a swap with the leading arms dealer in the world. And yet we still have Mr. Whelan in Russia. I’m disappointed in that. I am. I’m disappointed in that,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said.

The White House is promising they’ll continue to fight for his release.

About the Authors:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

You can watch Lindsey during Virginia Today every weekend or as a reporter during the week!