“American basketball star Brittney Griner headed home Thursday night, freed from Russian prison in exchange for the U.S. releasing notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout… But the U.S. failed to win freedom for another American, Paul Whelan, jailed in Russia for nearly four years…
“Biden’s authorization to release Bout, the Russian felon once nicknamed ‘the Merchant of Death,’ underscored the heightened urgency that his administration faced to get Griner home, particularly after the recent resolution of her criminal case on drug charges and her subsequent transfer to a penal colony.” AP News
Here’s our prior coverage of Griner. The Flip Side
The left supports the trade, arguing that it was the only moral choice.
A libertarian's take
“While Griner got a happy ending after months of separation and possible abuse in Russian detention, it's worth keeping in mind just how many nonviolent drug offenders are serving similar sentences in U.S. prisons with little hope of early release. While there are no people currently imprisoned in the U.S. for simple cannabis possession—as Griner was in Russia—many are imprisoned on other marijuana-related charges, such as distribution… Griner's imprisonment was an outrage, but so too is the imprisonment of all nonviolent drug offenders.”
Emma Camp, Reason