Russian Agent Compares Griner Deal to ‘Godfather’: ‘Offer You Can’t Refuse’

Convicted Russian agent Maria Butina in contrast the deal that freed previously imprisoned WNBA basketball participant Brittney Griner to the movie The Godfather whereas touting Russia’s “position of power” within the negotiations.

“I actually believe that we have certain arguments reminiscent of the film The Godfather, an offer you can’t refuse,” Butina mentioned on Russian state tv, in accordance with an English translation of her feedback supplied by The Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis on Friday.

“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” is a well-known line from the 1972 movie that notably facilities on organized crime.

Griner was arrested in Russia in February for allegedly possessing hashish oil in her baggage when she arrived at a Moscow airport. The Phoenix Mercury participant had traveled to the nation to compete in a professional league there through the WNBA low season. She was sentenced to 9 years in jail in August, however was freed on Thursday after the United States agreed to change her for a infamous Russian arms seller, Viktor Bout, who’s also called the “Merchant of Death.”

While many have celebrated Griner’s return, some have criticized the truth that it allowed Bout to stroll free and didn’t additionally result in the discharge of different Americans detained in Russia, comparable to former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.

The convicted Russian agent mentioned that Russia set the situations for the Griner-Bout swap throughout her Russian state tv look. Butina pleaded responsible in late 2018 to conspiring to behave as an unregistered overseas agent throughout the U.S. She was accused of attempting to ascertain ties between Russia and former President Donald Trump’s administration, in addition to attempting to infiltrate conservative teams just like the National Rifle Association (NRA), NPR reported in 2019.

Butina was sentenced to 18 months in jail in April 2019, however had credit score for time already served. She was launched from jail six months later and was deported again to Russia.

Maria Butina speaks about Brittney Griner
Above, RT presenter Maria Butina provides a speech in Moscow on March 5, 2020. In the inset, WNBA basketball participant Brittney Griner inside a defendants’ cage throughout a listening to in Khimki exterior Moscow on August 4. Butina in contrast the deal that freed the previously imprisoned Griner to the movie “The Godfather” whereas touting Russia’s “position of power” within the negotiations.
Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty; Evgenia Novozhenina/AFP/Getty

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Russian state-controlled media group RT, additionally weighed in on the Griner deal on Russian state tv.

“The first problem is that [Whelan] is white. His second problem is he is a man, his third problem is he is a heterosexual, that is something that cannot be forgiven today,” Simonyan mentioned.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended the deal throughout a press briefing on Thursday. She repeatedly pressured that President Joe Biden didn’t make his choice to swap Bout for Griner calmly, however believed it was in the end the best factor to do.

Jean-Pierre additionally mentioned a number of occasions through the briefing that the selection at hand wasn’t which American in Russia to convey dwelling; it was to both convey Griner dwelling or no one in any respect.

She mentioned that the U.S. stays dedicated to liberating Whelan, who’s “being treated differently” than Griner, and different Americans who stay detained in different nations around the globe.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for remark.

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