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Gen. Jack Keane Sounds Off Against Biden's Proposed Prisoner Swap with Russia

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A general who advised former President Donald Trump is questioning a potential prisoner exchange between the Biden administration and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Retired General Jack Keane questioned an offer to exchange a Russian convicted arms trafficker for basketball player Brittney Griner and Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan.

Griner has been detained in Russia since February for allegedly bringing marijuana into the country, just after the country’s invasion of Ukraine and a deterioration of relations with the west.

The timing of the WNBA player’s arrest raised questions of political bias. Griner has indicated that the marijuana was prescribed for medical purposes, according to NPR.

Whelan was arrested in the country in 2018 and received a 16-year prison sentence on charges of espionage in 2020.

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The former Marine was the security director for an international automotive parts manufacturer at the time.

The Russian justice system has been criticized for its lack of independence.

Only 0.25 percent of defendants were acquitted in Russian criminal proceedings as of 2019, according to the Independent.

If Russia accepts Biden’s offer of a prisoner exchange, they’d get back Viktor Bout, a Russian citizen who former Attorney General Eric Holder called one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers.

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Bout was convicted on federal conspiracy charges stemming from a weapons deal with a federal agent claiming to represent a Colombian drug smuggling and paramilitary organization in 2011.

Keane criticized the offer on a Thursday Fox News segment.

Keane questioned the parity between Griner, Whelan and Bout, suggesting that arms trafficker’s involvement in criminal activity far outstripped anything that the two Americans are responsible for.

“We’ve done swaps before. But this is disturbing…for who this person is. This is a Russian arms dealer [who was] arrested for attempting to kill Americans, who is assisting terrorists around the world,” Keane said on Fox News.

Keane compared the deal to previous exchanges between the Soviet Union and the United States, arguing those exchanges involved spies of both countries.

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“That is the problem. I’ve got great empathy for the families, and certainly they’re hoping that something comes of this. “

“But this is the wrong choice, the administration has made. The Department of Justice was opposed to this initially and they were browbeat by Secretary Blinken and the President of the United States to agree.”

The retired general advised Trump in an unofficial capacity, according to Politico.

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