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White House Has Blunt Message For Brittney Griner Trade Critics

Brittney Griner walks into court in Russia.

US' Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on August 4, 2022. - Lawyers for US basketball star Brittney Griner, who is standing trial in Russia on drug charges, said on July 26, 2022 they hoped she would receive a "lenient" sentence. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Earlier this week, the United States and Russia agreed to a prisoner swap that will bring Brittney Griner home.

The WNBA superstar has been in a Russian prison since February, following her arrest for having cannabis oil. In return for Griner, the United States released arms dealer Viktor Bout back to Russia.

Naturally, there were some issues with the decision - especially when recent "trade" talks had included fellow American Paul Whelan, just to see him not be included in the swap.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed those concerns on Thursday.

Here's what she said, via Fox News:

"The president felt a moral obligation to bring Brittney home. There was an opportunity to do that, and it was either Brittney or no one at all, and we are not going to apologize for that.

...Here were our choices. Our choices were Brittney or no one at all--Bringing home one American or no American at all.

Jean-Pierre made it clear the United States is still doing everything it can to being Whelan home.

"We are still working to secure Paul Whalen. At this time, we were not able to make that happen, but that does not stop us. That will not stop us in making sure that Paul returns back home safely to his family," Jean-Pierre said.

Hopefully Whelan will be brought home in the near future.