Tom Cotton Says We Gave Away the Farm in Brittney Griner Trade, Predicts ‘Merchant of Death’ Will Bring Mayhem

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) roasted the U.S.-Russia prisoner swap that resulted in basketball player Brittney Griner’s release, predicting that the move will result in deaths in rogue nations and more American arrests overseas. The reason: the U.S. traded notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as the “merchant of death,” for Griner.

Brittney, known as much for her basketball play as her opposition to the national anthem being played before games, had been sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for a pot conviction.

Cotton decried the trade on the Breitbart News Daily radio program Thursday:

Asked by Alex Marlow if people would die as a result of Viktor Bout being released from prison, Sen. Cotton answered in the affirmative.

“I think they will because, again, Viktor Bout is known as the merchant of death for a reason,” Sen. Cotton said. “It’s not like he’s going to retire to the Black Sea and peacefully live out his golden years in a quiet retirement. Vladimir Putin wanted him out for a reason.”

Bout earned his infamy by selling arms to the world’s worse regimes, as RedState’s Brandon Morse reports:

During his decades-long career, Bout is believed to have armed the Taliban and the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor’s regime in Liberia, Unita in Angola, various Congolese factions and Abu Sayyaf, a militant Islamic group in the Philippines.

A nice bunch of folks. Cotton continued:

Viktor Bout has the blood of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocents around the world on his hands. Don’t get me wrong, Brittney Griner was wrongly detained and used as a negotiating chip with the Biden administration and we should have been engaged in efforts to try to secure her release.

But to exchange her, who – to be fair – did violate the laws of a foreign country to which she was traveling, in return for one of the world’s most notorious arms dealers is folly to the greatest degree.

Cotton is also worried for Americans traveling overseas in the future because now countries know that they can detain someone and use them as a bargaining chip with gullible Joe Biden [emphasis mine):

I also think that more Americans will be detained, in some cases unjustly detained, in the future because they realize that Joe Biden – at least as long as he is president – will give away the farm in return for any American citizen…

What does Joe Biden think is going to happen now? Every time someone wants to get their arms traffickers or their drug dealers out of American prison, all they have to do is arrest an American on some trivial charge and sentence them to nine years and Joe Biden is going to come running with the keys to the prison to release people who are justifiably in prison.

Making the trade even worse, the Biden Administration failed to gain the release of long-time American detainee and U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year sentence on unsubstantiated spying charges. His family was reported to be “devastated” by the news.

Cotton is one hundred percent right to lambaste Biden for the terrible deal. It not only makes the world more dangerous by allowing this murderous thug to run into the arms of Vladimir Putin, but it signals to our other enemies that they can play us for fools. Biden got suckered in this ill-advised prisoner swap, and other countries’ leaders have taken note.

Former President Trump agrees:


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