Video emerged Thursday afternoon of Brittney Griner being swapped on a runway for convicted Russian terrorist Viktor Bout after Democrat President Joe Biden agreed to the trade.
The video showed Griner, who is wearing a red jacket, walking across the tarmac with three men while Bout walked toward her with a man standing next to him.
Bout shook the hands of a couple of people in the video before an obvious cut appeared in the film. The footage then resumes just moments later showing Griner walking away from Bout.
Russian news agency TASS publishes footage of the Brittney Griner/Viktor Bout exchange. pic.twitter.com/QmOItTEQ3O
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) December 8, 2022
Critics online instantly noted the cut and that it appeared as though Griner was posturing herself to shake Bout’s hand right when the footage was cut.
Bout was convicted on terrorism charges back in 2011 for trying to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of missiles to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for the purpose of shooting down U.S. Military helicopters.
“There’s a jump cut here at :13 as everyone is shaking hands and hugging and right before it looks like Griner maybe going in to shake hands with Bout?” political commentator Stephen L. Miller tweeted. “Probably not great optics there to have your star prisoner swap shaking hands with the most notorious arms dealer on the planet.”
There's a jump cut here at :13 as everyone is shaking hands and hugging and right before it looks like Griner maybe going in to shake hands with Bout? https://t.co/UGNPPbG37w
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) December 8, 2022
Newsmax host Rob Schmitt agreed, writing: “You can tell Griner went in for a handshake with Viktor Bout and it was completely edited out.”
“Watch her body language just before the edit,” he added.
You can tell Griner went in for a handshake with Viktor Bout and it was completely edited out. Watch her body language just before the edit. https://t.co/pNHar7lEjA
— Rob Schmitt (@SchmittNYC) December 8, 2022
The prisoner swap generated widespread backlash, including among Democrats, who noted that Bout was a very dangerous man and that by agreeing to the swap, President Joe Biden was effectively incentivizing rogue regimes to detain Americans overseas.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, slammed Biden, saying, “This should be a moment of deep reflection for the United States government to recognize we have a serious problem with hostage-taking of Americans.”
“The Russians and other regimes that take American citizens hostage cannot pretend that there is equivalence between the Brittney Griners of the world and people like Viktor Bout, the so-called ‘Merchant of Death,’” Menendez continued. “Nothing could be further from the truth, and we cannot ignore that releasing Bout back into the world is a deeply disturbing decision.”
“We must stop inviting dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans overseas as bargaining chips, and we must try to do better at encouraging American citizens against traveling to places like Russia where they are primary targets for this type of unlawful detention,” he continued.