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Trump: I refused to release Paul Whelan

By Lee Cleveland - December 12, 2022

What will the Trumper/MAGA types say about this?

Former President Trump on Sunday said he refused to release former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who’s been a prisoner in Moscow since 2018, in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

“I turned down a deal with Russia for a one-on-one swap of the so-called Merchant of Death for Paul Whelan. I wouldn’t have made the deal for a hundred people in exchange for someone that has killed untold numbers of people with his arms deals,” Trump said on Truth Social.

Of course, the narrative on the right, following Russia’s release of the WNBA’s Brittney Griner last week suggests President Biden has no interest in bringing Whelan home, even though the Russian government has clearly stated they weren’t ready to negotiate Whelan’s release this time around.

Trump’s fault?
Perhaps it’s Trump and not Biden who is to blame for Whelan’s long detainment as the former president admitted he had the chance to bring Whelan home years ago.

Looking back
The U.S. should have negotiated for Whelan’s successful release in 2018/19 and 1) subsequently warned American citizens looking to travel to Russia that they might be wrongly detained, and 2) ensured those Americans were aware the U.S. government wouldn’t necessarily make their release a priority should they take that chance and subsequently be the victimized by a bogus detainment.

Back to Trump
The former president also insisted he “would have gotten Paul out,” even though he just said he didn’t lift a finger in 2+ years to do so.

The man is silly, indeed.

Fiona Hill, Trump’s former White House national security official, hinted Sunday that negotiating for Whelan’s release while Trump was in office was far from a priority.

Fiona Hill, Deputy Assistant to President Trump (2017–2019)

“At the particular time, I also have to say here that President Trump wasn’t especially interested in engaging in that swap for also Paul Whelan.”

He was not particularly interested in Paul’s case in the way that one would have thought he would be,” Hill said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” with Margaret Brennan.

And the prisoner’s brother, David Whelan, supported statements made by Trump and Hill, insisting there was no real interest in getting his brother released during the previous president’s administration.

“My brother pleaded from his prison for President Trump to tweet about him during President Trump’s term in office, and President Trump didn’t,” David Whelan said on  “Cavuto Live Saturday. “And now to talk about Paul at all, it’s really offensive.” (FOX News)

“I think that what President Biden did was to take care of an American who was in peril and bring home the American that he could bring home. So it’s disappointing that a former president would have that sort of perspective,” Whelan added. (FOX News)

“I don’t suggest he [Trump] cares now any more than he did then (zero),” the prisoner’s brother echoed.” (TheHill)


Tags: Brittney Griner, Donald Trump, MAGA