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Tipsheet

Van Jones Defends Griner: 'You Can’t Allow a Black Female Icon to Be Treated Like Garbage’

AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

CNN contributor Van Jones defended the Biden administration exchanging an international arms dealer, nicknamed the "Merchant of Death," for WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner, who had been arrested and convicted for attempting to illegally bring hashish oil into Russia.

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Griner was sent to serve time in a penal colony after she was convicted in a Russian court. Jones said the United States should not for such an "icon" to be treated that way.

"This is huge. First of all, that’s a decade-defining image when you saw her wife sitting there, Kamala Harris was there, president is there, such a human image and yet it just shows this president got it done. He cared enough about this individual person to get her home," Jones said.

"It was shocking. I think for young Americans to see an icon like that snatched, locked up, treated like garbage and just nine years, ten years for bringing some cannabis oil," he continued. "So these are decade-defining images. I guarantee you there will be young people 10, 20, 30 years from now who will remember this moment because she is an icon. It’s really, really extraordinary. And people are talking about this other guy, he’s so terrible. There’s a lot of terrible people in the world, a lot of terrible in Russia. You can’t allow a black female icon to be treated like garbage and the U.S. to do nothing about it."

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The name the United States gave back to Russia is Viktor Bout, whose weapons he trafficked to combatants in Africa were used in conflicts in places such as Angola, Cameroon, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. Bout was also attempting to target Americans before being caught and convicted. Politico reports the Department of Defense is now concerned Bout will return to his old ways now that he will be a free man.

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