Donald Trump stated on Sunday that he turned down a prisoner swap deal with Russia that would have involved the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout being traded for a former United States Marine named Paul Whelan, who has been imprisoned in Russia for the past four years. Trump claimed that the deal was presented to him.
Whelan, who is 52 years old and was charged with espionage in Russia, is currently serving a sentence of 16 years there. He disputes the charges. Since 2018, according to the United States of America, he has been held in a Russian prison without his will.
The explosive allegation was made during his appearance on Truth Social on Sunday night, and he continued to condemn the deal that led to the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner from custody in Russia the previous week. Initially, he expressed his disapproval of the agreement quickly after it was made public. Specifically, he criticized President Joe Biden and the administration for their role in negotiating the release of Griner, whom he characterized as someone who “hates our country.”
Trump confirms he turned down a Bout-Whelan prisoner swap. Oddly, he says “I would have gotten Paul out” but didn’t for two years of his administration. pic.twitter.com/jeN0YuEJ6H
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 12, 2022
However, according to the former president of the United States, he declined the offer to free Bout, who was a former officer in the Soviet air force, and stated that he would have eventually rescued Whelan. Bout was a Soviet air force veteran. Trump is quoted as saying, “I wouldn’t have done the deal for a hundred people in exchange for someone who has killed untold numbers of people with his armaments trade.”
Whelan’s brother, David, took issue with Trump’s renewed interest in his brother’s case, tweeting on Friday: “Former President Trump appears to have mentioned my brother Paul Whelan’s wrongful detention more in the last 24 hours than he did in the 2 years of his presidency in which Paul was held hostage by Russia.” Whelan was held hostage by Russia for the first two years of Trump’s presidency (zero). I don’t have any reason to believe that he cares any more today than he did before (zero),”
After Whelan’s arrest in 2018, a former Russia specialist at the National Security Council named Fiona Hill confirmed that Russia asked the Trump administration to trade Bout and another Russian national, a drug smuggler named Konstantin Yaroshenko, for Whelan. Hill made her confirmation during an appearance on Face The Nation on Sunday. Hill stated that Russia has “several times” brought up the subject.
According to Hill, the Russians “put them on the table” and made it “very clear that they had every intention of trying to swap Americans who had been wrongfully detained for individuals who were in the custody of the United States who were there for pretty good reasons.” The Russians “put them on the table” and made it “very clear that they had every intention of trying to swap Americans that had been wrongfully detained for individuals who were in the
“The Russian government is playing a political game with all of this,” you could say. Hill asserted that President Trump “wasn’t very interested in engaging in that swap” at the time, which was the reason the trade was rejected.
Yaroshenko was eventually traded for Trevor Reed, a former member of the United States Marine Corps, in April of this year. Whelan expressed his dissatisfaction to CNN the previous week, saying that he was “greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the fourth anniversary of my arrest is coming up.
” Whelan expressed his happiness for Griner and her release, but he said that he was “greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release.” I was taken into custody for a crime that did not take place. “I don’t know why I’m still sitting here,” he added. “I don’t understand why.”
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