Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green on Thursday called for President Biden to be impeached over the prisoner swap that led to the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner from a Russian colony.
“Another Reason to Impeach Biden” A Georgian deputy wrote about it in a tweet. “The President of the United States traded Russian terrorist arms dealer Victor Booth, left a US Marine in a Russian prison, and brought home a professional basketball player.
“Now how many people will Victor Booth kill? [because] Did Biden free him? – he added.
Griner was released Thursday in a deal brokered by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
He spent 10 months in Russian custody after being caught carrying a cannabis vape canister at a Moscow airport.
As part of the prisoner exchange, the Biden administration released Victor Bout, an international arms dealer and former Soviet military officer nicknamed “The Merchant of Death,” who was serving a 25-year sentence in the United States.
Booth was convicted in 2011 of providing material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy to kill Americans, money laundering and wire fraud.
Green’s dismay at Booth’s release echoes criticism from other top Republicans and some Democrats, who have condemned the prisoner swap and the president’s decision to prioritize the release of Greener, 80, over other Americans in Russian custody, such as detained ex-Marine Paul Whelan. In 2018, he was charged with espionage by the Russian government.
Former President Donald Trump called the Griner-Bout exchange “stupid” and a “patriotic disgrace to the United States” in a social media post Thursday.
“What a deal to trade Brittney Griner, a basketball player who openly hates our country, for a man known as ‘The Merchant of Death’, one of the world’s biggest arms dealers. 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. What a ‘stupid’ and unpatriotic disgrace to the USA!!!” The 76-year-old former president wrote in Truth Social.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also blasted Biden’s decision to replace Booth with Griner, writing in a statement: “We cannot ignore the fact that Booth’s return to the world is a deeply troubling decision.”
The president said Thursday that it was impossible to bring Whalen home.
“This was not about choosing which American to bring home,” Biden said at a press conference. “Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittany’s for completely illegal reasons … We will continue to negotiate in good faith for Paul’s release.”