The View Co-Hosts Have Concerns Following Brittney Griner's Prison Release

On December 8, President Joe Biden announced that WNBA player Brittney Griner was released from Russian imprisonment following a swap for Viktor Bout, per CBS News. Although her release was celebrated by her family and many Americans, others were concerned about what the trade could mean. In February 2022, Griner was taken into custody in Moscow for carrying vape cartridges containing a small amount of hashish oil, which is illegal in Russia. Bout, known as the "Merchant of Death," was carrying out his 25-year sentence in the United States for selling arms internationally.

The former Soviet officer was arrested in Thailand in 2008 in a sting operation run by U.S. drug enforcement agents, per CNN. He was charged with conspiring to kill Americans and provide arms to terrorists. "Viktor Bout has been international arms trafficking enemy number one for many years, arming some of the most violent conflicts around the globe," attorney Preet Bharara stated in 2012 when Bout was sentenced. 

Now that he has returned to Russia, many are voicing their concerns about the notorious weapons dealer's freedom.

The View co-hosts believe Viktor Bout may be an asset to Putin

Following Viktor Bout's release, hosts of "The View" shared their concerns. Joy Behar wondered why Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, was so eager to have Bout freed. "The question I was thinking was, 'Why would Putin do that?' First of all, the guy they traded her for, he was really a bad guy. But he's very much in cahoots with Putin. The guy was in prison here for many years and said nothing, so that also tells the Russians the motherland is safe from snitches and big mouths."

Co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin thought Griner's freedom should be celebrated. However, she said, "It's not an equal swap." Griffin continued, "He's called the 'Merchant of Death' because he's basically been somebody who goes around the world and collects weaponry and brings it back to Russia." She went on to say that she believes Bout will be an asset in Russia's war against Ukraine. "I fear this is somebody who is going to someday have the blood of Ukrainians and Americans on his hand."

Sara Haines chimed in, "When Joy said the part about 'Why would Putin do this?' I think it tells you more about why they retained her ... and people not just athletes have to be aware that they don't need much of a reason." She added that Griner's arrest "immediately gave them a pawn to trade." Amid concern about what Bout's freedom could mean, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby assured the public (via Politico), "We're going to make sure that we can defend this country against any and all threats."