Arizona congressman reacts to release of Brittney Griner from Russia

“Today’s a beautiful day for Brittney Griner, for Charrelle, for the Phoenix community, ” said Arizona Rep. Greg Stanton about Griner’s return home.
4:11 | 12/08/22

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Transcript for Arizona congressman reacts to release of Brittney Griner from Russia
OF WEEKS LATER WITH BRITTNEY GRINER COMING. ALL RIGHT, KAREN MC, THANK YOU BOTH. AND ARIZONA CONGRESSMAN GREG STANTON IS ONE OF MANY LAWMAKERS WHO WORKED TO BRING BRITTNEY GRINER HOME. HE JOINS ME LIVE NOW FOR MORE ON THIS. CONGRESSMAN, THANKS FOR BEING ON. WHEN DID YOU LEARN THAT THIS EXCHANGE WAS GOING TO HAPPEN AND WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION? >> WELL, I LEARNED EARLY THIS MORNING WHEN I RECEIVED A MESSAGE FROM MY TEAM, BUT I DID HAVE A CHANCE TO TRAVEL WITH THE PRESIDENT ON AIR FORCE ONE EARLIER THIS WEEK WHEN HE VISITED PHOENIX FOR A MAJOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ANNOUNCEMENT. I DID HAVE A CHANCE TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT BRITTNEY GRINER AND THANK HIM FOR HIS ADVOCACY AND PUSH HIM A LITTLE TO CONTINUE THAT. HE DID INDICATE AT THAT TIME THAT HE THOUGHT THERE MAY BE SOME PRETTY GOOD NEWS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. AND I'M REALLY JUST IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR BRITTNEY GRINER, FOR SHERYL, FOR THE PHOENIX COMMUNITY AND ALL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. ANY TIME WE CAN BRING ONE OF OUR FELLOW AMERICANS HOME WHO HAS BEEN WRONGFULLY DETAINED, A GREAT DAY FOR OUR COUNTRY. >> SO WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HOW THIS AGREEMENT CAME TOGETHER? >> WELL, I'VE HAD MANY CLASSIFIED BRIEFINGS ON IT, AND I CAN'T TALK ABOUT WHAT WHAT GOES ON IN THE CLASSIFIED BRIEFINGS. ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS THAT WE DID PASS A BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS, SPECIFICALLY DEMANDING THE RELEASE OF BRITTNEY GRINER AND SHOWING THAT SHE HAD THE PRESIDENT'S BACK. >> WE KNEW THAT THE PRESIDENT WAS GOING TO HAVE A TOUGH DECISION TO MAKE A TOUGH DECISION ABOUT TO DO WHATEVER IT NEEDED TO BE DONE TO BRING HOME OUR FELLOW AMERICANS. AND I'M SURE THERE'LL BE CRITICS OF THE DECISION THAT WAS MADE. BUT AS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS AND AS AN AMERICAN, ANY TIME WE HAVE AMERICAN WRONGFULLY DETAINED, WE NEED TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR OUR PRESIDENT TO BRING OUR FELLOW AMERICAN HOME. AND OBVIOUSLY, THE GRACIOUSNESS THAT PAUL WHALEN'S FAMILY HAS SHOWN INDICATING THOUGH THEY'RE HEARTBROKEN THAT PAUL IS NOT BEING BROUGHT HOME, BUT THEY DO SUPPORT THIS DECISION. >> I JUST THINK IT IS A GREAT MOMENT FOR THIS COUNTRY. AND PRESIDENT BIDEN HAS PROMISED THAT HE IS STILL WORKING ON BRINGING PAUL WHEELIN HOME. >> WOULD THAT ENTAIL ANOTHER PRISONER SWAP OR ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS TO REACH A DEAL THERE? >> I THINK THEY SHOULD HAVE ALL OPTIONS ON THE TABLE IN ORDER TO BRING OUR FELLOW AMERICAN HOME. AND JUST LIKE I WAS THE LEAD CONGRESSMAN ON THE ISSUE OF PUTTING TOGETHER A RESOLUTION, A BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT, A BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THIS PRESIDENT AND DOING WHAT IT TAKES TO BRING BRITTNEY GRINER HOME, WE NEED TO DO THE EXACT SAME THING FOR PAUL WHALEN AND OTHER AMERICANS THAT ARE WRONGFULLY DETAINED AROUND THIS AROUND THIS GLOBE. THIS IS NOT AN EASY BUSINESS. IT'S DIFFICULT. IT'S TOUGH. YOU HAVE TO MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS. YOU'RE SUBJECT TO MUCH CRITICISM, BUT IT'S IN SERVICE OF OUR FELLOW AMERICANS. AND IF I OR ANYONE ELSE WATCHING THIS WITH WRONGFULLY DETAINED, WE WOULD WANT THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS TO DO THE EXACT SAME THING FOR US. >> AND PAUL WIELAND'S FAMILY, FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, DID COME OUT EARLY WITH A STATEMENT SAYING THAT AS DISAPPOINTING AS IT IS, THEY DID KNOW THAT THE WHITE HOUSE DID GIVE THEM A HEADS UP THAT PAUL WHALEN WAS NOT ON THE TABLE IN TERMS OF BEING PART OF THIS PRISONER EXCHANGE. BUT OF COURSE, THEY WANT TO SEE THEIR FAMILY MEMBER COME HOME, TOO. SO WHAT'S YOUR MESSAGE TO PAUL WIELAND'S FAMILY TODAY? >> LOOK, THERE ARE TWO REAL HEROES IN THIS TERRIBLE SITUATION. FIRST, CHERYL GRINER, WHO I'VE GOTTEN TO KNOW AND IS JUST A PERSON OF GRACE AND COURAGE AND STRENGTH TO SUPPORT BRITTNEY AND TO BE HER ADVOCATE IN HERE, HERE IN AMERICA, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE NEVER FORGOT, BRITTANY, THAT THERE WAS AN ACTIVE EFFORT TO RAISE AWARENESS AMONG THE POLITICAL LEADERS. BUT THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE, OUR COUNTRY AT LARGE. SHE IS A HERO AS WELL AS PAUL WHALEN'S FAMILY. AGAIN, THE GRACENOTE THAT THEY HIT TODAY AGAIN. OF COURSE, THEY'RE DISAPPOINTED THAT THEIR LOVED ONE WASN'T TO COME HOME, BUT TO SAY THEY SUPPORT THIS AGREEMENT. THEY SUPPORT BRINGING HOME BRITTNEY GRINER. AMAZING LEVEL OF STRENGTH AND COURAGE ON BEHALF OF PAUL WAVELAND'S FAMILY. AND AS A FELLOW AMERICAN, I'M JUST BLOWN AWAY BY THE STRENGTH OF THAT FAMILY AND WE OWE THEM A DEBT OF GRATITUDE. >>

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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