John Bolton says Trump rejected Victor Booth-for-Paul Whelan prisoner swap

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump has scrapped efforts to replace ex-Russian marine Paul Whelan with arms dealer Victor Booth, former national security adviser John Bolton said Thursday, as Trump tore into his successor for agreeing to send him home in exchange for Utto. The return of WNBA star Brittney Griner.

Bolton told CBS when Whelan was arrested in December 2018 on trumped-up espionage charges that he had been in the White House for 17 months.

“The opportunity for Whelan to fight was still there at the time,” Bolton, 74, said, “and it didn’t happen for very good reasons to deal with Victor Booth.”

Whelan was sentenced in June 2020 to 16 years in prison. U.S. officials said Thursday that the Biden administration had tried to secure the release of Whelan and Griner, but Moscow backed off, insisting that Griner be exchanged with Booth one-on-one.

“Obviously, there’s a very understandable human emotion in releasing Griner, but it’s a very bad mistake on the part of the Biden administration,” Bolton told CBS about the decision to replace Booth, who was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans in 2011. an armed Colombian terrorist group – in exchange for a basketball player who was imprisoned for bringing less than a gram of cannabis oil to Russia.

Victor Booth was convicted in 2011 of conspiring to kill Americans by supplying weapons to a terrorist group.

“This is not a deal. This is not a replacement. This is surrender,” Bolton added. “Terrorists and rogue states around the world are taking notice, and it’s putting other Americans at risk in the future, who may be captured and used as bargaining chips by people with no morals or conscience like ours.

“There are cases of changing spies. Obviously, there is a legal exchange of prisoners of war,” he continued. “But it’s not even a guess. What Brittney Griner did was kind of — pretty stupid, in my opinion — but what she did compared to Victor Booth shows how desperate the administration made this deal. And I’m very concerned about the impact it will have and the potential it will provoke many other Americans around the world.

Brittney Griner is seen in Women's Colony #2.
Britney Griner in Women’s Colony #2. Now he has been released from prison.
Fsb/TASS via ZUMA Press

Trump, 76, questioned Biden’s decision to be “one of the biggest arms dealers in the world” in a Truth Social post on Thursday, saying Bout was “responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and horrific injuries.”

“Why wasn’t ex-Marine Paul Whelan included in this completely one-sided deal? He would have been released for questioning,” said the former president. “What a ‘stupid’ and unpatriotic disgrace to the United States!!!”

Bolton called the deal “a huge victory for Moscow over Washington.”

John Bolton speaks to reporters after speaking at a panel organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran - US Representative (NCRI-US) at the Willard InterContinental Hotel on August 17, 2022 in Washington, DC.
According to John Bolton, the exchange of prisoners is “a big victory for Moscow”.
Getty Images

“It’s a message to terrorists, rogue states and other nefarious individuals who are thinking of kidnapping or detaining Americans that we’re willing to trade almost anything to get Americans back,” he said. “There are other ways to deal with hostage-takers through sanctions and other things, not swaps like this.”


Related Articles

Latest Posts