The Biden Administration agreed to trade arms dealer Viktor Bout affectionately known as "The Merchant of Death" for former WNBA star Brittney Griner because of her intersectional qualifications.
Russian media released the following video of the exchange:
But did you notice the jump cut just as Griner leans toward Bout? It looked like she was about to shake the arms dealer's hand.
Now people are wondering if that's what happened and why the Russians edited it out.
The general sentiment in the replies is that it was all a setup to get Bout out of an American prison, and that Griner was in on it.
If I were to speculate, I would say Griner had no idea who Bout was and was just exuberant about the exchange. If she did shake Bout's hand, I have no idea why the Russians edited it out.
What I do know is that even Democrat leadership agrees that this trade was boneheaded.
Bob Menendez (D-NJ) head of the foreign Relations Committee said,
This should be a moment of deep reflection for the United States government to recognize we have a serious problem with hostage-taking of Americans. The Russians and other regimes that take American citizens hostage cannot pretend that there is equivalence between the Brittney Griners of the world and people like Viktor Bout, the so-called ‘Merchant of Death.' Nothing could be further from the truth, and we cannot ignore that releasing Bout back into the world is a deeply disturbing decision.
National Security Adviser John Bolton said,
And here's a clip from a 60 Minutes segment as a reminder of who we just set free:
Now that the Biden Administration has signaled a willingness to trade low-level prisoners like Griner for the worst sorts of terrorists like Bout, Americans will be targets all around the world.