Bolton declares ‘American surrender’ – RT World News

Former national security adviser slams White House over Viktor Bout-Brittney Griner swap

Former US national security adviser John Bolton slammed the high-level prisoner swap with Russia on Thursday, saying it was a sign of emboldening weakness “terrorists and rogue states”.

“The Bout-for-Griner prisoner swap isn’t a swap, it’s an American surrender. That’s not what American strength looks like. Terrorists and rogue states are smiling,” Bolton said the Twitter.

Russian national Viktor Bout, sentenced in the United States to 25 years for arms trafficking, was exchanged for basketball star Brittney Griner, who was sentenced in August to nine years in a Russian penal colony for drug trafficking. The trade took place in the United Arab Emirates.

The United States and Russia both pardoned them ahead of the swap, which was brokered by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, according to the joint statement issued Thursday by the two Gulf states.

Although Bolton did not elaborate on why he viewed the swap as a “abandonment“, most of the criticism directed at President Joe Biden centered on the fact that he chose the WNBA’s Griner over Paul Whelan, a retired U.S. Marine convicted of espionage in 2020 and sentenced to 16 years.

US considering charges against Whelan “completely illegitimate” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday afternoon, but said the choice ended up being “to bring Brittney home or nobody.” Biden will “never stop working” to secure Whelan’s release, she added.

Asked about the role of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the exchange, Jean-Pierre said “there was no mediation” and that only Russia and the United States were at the table.

“On a personal note, Brittney is more than an athlete, more than an Olympian, she is an important role model, an inspiration to millions of Americans, especially LGBTQI+ Americans and women of color,” added Jean-Pierre, who herself made headlines as the first black lesbian to speak on behalf of the White House.

Bolton is a longtime foreign policy hawk, who served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser between April 2018 and September 2019. After being fired, presumably for ruining nuclear talks with North Korea, he became a vocal critic of Trump. Although he has never held elected office, Bolton said last week that he would be open to running for the Republican nomination in 2024 if other GOP candidates do not. “repudiate” the 45th president.


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