During yesterday’s press briefing, Team Brandon National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was asked about the Brittney Griner situation by a reporter, forcing him to respond in a way that was embarrassing for the Biden regime.
As a reminder, Griner was recently shipped to a Russian forced labor penal colony after she lost her appeal in Russian court. Turns out, they actually punish those caught committing crimes rather than just slapping them on the wrist and letting them out to commit the same crimes all over again.
In any case, Sullivan was asked about the matter during the Thursday briefing, with a reporter asking:
Jake, thanks so much for doing the briefing. I want to ask you about Brittney Griner and then President Putin more broadly. But she’s been moved to a penal colony and apparently hasn’t been seen for six days. What can you tell us about her condition? When is the last time that U.S. officials had any kind of update on her condition?
And what is your level of optimism that now that we are past the midterms, President Putin will be more potentially serious about negotiating her release?
Sullivan’s response was perhaps as good as could be expected, but still embarrassing in that it showed the utter powerlessness of the Biden Administration to deal with the situation. That could be seen in Sullivan’s language: while he went on and on about his view that Griner should be released and the administration wants her released, he didn’t really emphasize what tactics and tools the Biden Team has in its toolkit to spring her from the Russian jail. In his words:
So I have to protect the confidentiality of our dealings with her family and some of our consular dealings with Russian officials. But I will tell you, on a daily basis, our embassy in Moscow is focused on ensuring that Brit- — they are on top of Brittney Griner’s condition, location, and how the Russian government is treating her.
She is being held unjustly. She should be released immediately. We have made that clear to our Russian counterparts. And we have put forward a series of proposals over the last several months for how we could resolve her case, as well as the case of Paul Whelan, to bring them both home. So far, the Russians have not shown a willingness to engage in — in that back-and-forth to produce a result.
As President Biden said yesterday, we are hopeful that we can renew that dialogue and find a way to get these cases resolved and to get both Brittney and Paul home.
I can’t handicap it. I can’t give you any predictions. All I can tell you is President Biden is personally engaged on this. I am personally engaged on this. We are dealing with the Russians at very senior levels, and our diplomats on the ground are working overtime to ensure that they are staying in close touch with their Russian counterparts on her case.
So they’ve “made it clear” and the Russians don’t care. Such weakness should be embarrassing to Brandon.