President Biden, joined by Vice President Harris, spoke today with Cherelle Griner, the wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner who is being wrongfully detained in Russia due to allegations of illegal drugs.
Griner was arrested in Russia just days before the beginning of the Ukraine war. Russian officials claim Griner had hashish oil, which is illegal in Russia, in vape cartridges in her luggage. She was in Russia to play for a team there, something many WNBA athletes do during their off-season. Her trial began Friday.
President Biden and Vice President Harris spoke earlier today with Cherelle Griner, the wife of Brittney Griner. pic.twitter.com/sVbLlRwhEQ
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 6, 2022
Via White House press release:
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. He also read her a draft of the letter the President is sending to Brittney today.
The President offered his support to Cherelle and Brittney’s family, and he committed to ensuring they are provided with all possible assistance while his administration pursues every avenue to bring Brittney home.
Today’s call follows calls that National Security Advisor Sullivan and Secretary of State Blinken have had with Cherelle in recent weeks and this past weekend.
The President directed his national security team to remain in regular contact with Cherelle and Brittney’s family, and with other families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad, to keep them updated on efforts to secure the release of their loved ones as quickly as possible.
Brittney sent a letter to Biden, which arrived Monday, saying:
“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore.”
“As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever.”
Brittney Griner faces up to 10 years in prison if she is convicted.
President Biden and VP Harris spoke with the wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner. The call came after Griner sent a handwritten letter to the president pleading for his help to get her released from jail in Russia. https://t.co/0jdiFIZayM pic.twitter.com/bwks7DNN28
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 6, 2022