Brittany Griner ‘in good spirits’ after being freed from Russia: Official

President Joe Biden announced Griner’s return with her wife Cherrelle, who said, "today my family is whole."
4:54 | 12/08/22

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Transcript for Brittany Griner ‘in good spirits’ after being freed from Russia: Official
>> I KNOW. GIVE HER SOME TIME. I HOPE. OUR THANKS TO CECILIA VEGA FOR THAT REPORT. I WANT TO BRING IN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT KAREN TRAVERS NOW, ALONG WITH ABC NEWS, NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENSE ANALYST MIKE MULROY FOR MORE ON THIS. KAREN, A SENIOR BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL IS SAYING NO SURPRISE HERE, THAT GREINER'S ALL SMILES AND AN EXTREMELY UPBEAT MOOD. WHAT CAN YOU TELL ABOUT WHAT SHE'S COMING FROM AND HOW SEVERELY HER OUTLOOK HAS CHANGED FROM A MONTH AGO WHEN SHE WAS SENTENCED TO TO SPEND YEARS IN A RUSSIAN PENAL COLONY? YEAH, I MEAN, WE HEARD FROM THE PRESIDENT THERE SAYING THAT SHE IS SAFE. SHE IS ON HER WAY HOME AND SENIOR OFFICIALS SAY SHE IS ALL SMILES AND THAT SHE'S DOING WELL. ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, SHE'S ON HER WAY BACK AFTER LANDING IN THE UAE, WHERE THE PRESIDENT DID HAVE THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO HER BY PHONE TODAY. BUT IT WAS NOTABLE, DIANE, THAT THE PRESIDENT DID SAY THAT DESPITE ALL OF THAT, SHE HAS GONE THROUGH SOME SIGNIFICANT TRAUMA IN THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS. SHE'S LOST A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF TIME IN HER LIFE. AND IT'S GOING TO TAKE HER SOME TIME TO HEAL AND GET BACK THAT TIME WITH HER FAMILY AND HER LOVED ONES AND FRIENDS. BUT SHE WILL HAVE THAT HAPPY REUNION WITH HER FAMILY IN JUST A COUPLE OF HOURS. AND WE HEARD HER WIFE THERE SAYING BEFORE A COUNTRY TODAY, MY FAMILY IS WHOLE. AND THERE'S A STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT BIDEN WRITING ON TWITTER THAT HE SPOKE TO BRITTNEY GRINER, THAT SHE'S SAFE, SHE'S ON A PLANE, SHE'S ON HER WAY HOME. >> MAKE BRITTNI WAS ARRESTED IN FEBRUARY AND THESE NEGOTIATIONS STARTED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. >> SO WHY NOW? SO I THINK IT WAS A COMBINATION WE'RE SEEING IN OTHER COUNTRIES ANNOUNCED THAT THEY PLAYED A ROLE IN THIS DURING THEIR ENGAGEMENTS WITH THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF RUSSIAN LEADERSHIP, INCLUDING PRESIDENT PUTIN. I THINK IT WAS FINALLY A DECISION WHERE WE WENT WITH THE ABILITY TO GET BRITTNEY GRINER HOME WITHOUT INSISTING THAT WE ONLY BE A PART BECAUSE IT SIMPLY WASN'T GOING TO HAPPEN. I'M SURE THE U.S. DID EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO TO TRY TO GET HIM AS PART OF THIS DEAL. BUT THE RUSSIANS JUST WERE NOT GOING FOR THAT. SO I THINK THEY MADE THE RIGHT DECISION, BRINGING HOME READY BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THE OPPORTUNITY WAS. >> BUT YOU CAN SEE THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS GOING ON WITH RUSSIA RIGHT NOW IN UKRAINE. THEY'RE LOSING STRATEGICALLY, THEY'RE LOSING OPERATIONALLY. THERE'S A LOT OF PRESSURE ON PRESIDENT PUTIN. PERHAPS HE HOPES THAT THIS WOULD GET SOME SANCTION RELIEF OR SOME SOME FORM OF POSITIVE NEWS FOR HIM, BOTH WITH HIS PEOPLE AND IN NEGOTIATIONS THAT HE MIGHT WANT TO HAVE. AND WE'RE GETTING A STATEMENT NOW FROM THE WNBA COMMISSIONER CALLING THIS A COLLECTIVE WAVE OF JOY AND RELIEF, SAYING THAT BRITTNEY GRINER, BGU, AS THEY CALL HER, HAS SHOWN EXTRAORDINARY COURAGE AND DIGNITY IN THE FACE OF ENORMOUS DIVERSITY. THEY'RE EXPRESSING THEIR GRATITUDE TO PRESIDENT BIDEN AND OTHERS INVOLVED IN THIS DEAL AND EXPRESSING ALSO THEIR HOPE THAT PAUL WHALEN AND EVERY WRONGFULLY DETAINED AMERICAN WILL BE RETURNED HOME SAFELY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. KAREN, WHAT GOES INTO THAT ASPECT OF THIS NOW? PRESIDENT BIDEN MADE CLEAR THAT THIS WASN'T A CHOICE BETWEEN BRITTNEY GRINER OR PAUL WHALEN. THEY FACED VERY DIFFERENT ACCUSATIONS. BRITTNEY GRINER HAD A SMALL AMOUNT OF FISH OIL IN HER LUGGAGE IN A MOSCOW AIRPORT. PAUL WIELAND IS ACCUSED OF SPYING, SOMETHING THE U.S. DENIES AND SAYS ARE BOGUS, BUT STILL VERY DIFFERENT. CHARGES. SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW FOR PAUL WHALEN? AND HE SAID THE PRESIDENT SAID THAT RUSSIA IS TREATING PAUL WHEELINGS CASE VERY DIFFERENTLY THAN THEY'RE TREATING BRITTNEY GRINER CASE, WHICH MAKES NEGOTIATIONS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT. THE PRESIDENT SAID TODAY THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GIVE UP ON TRYING TO SECURE PAUL WIELAND'S RELEASE, THAT HIS ADMINISTRATION WILL CONTINUE TO TRY AND NEGOTIATE WITH RUSSIA IN GOOD FAITH TO BRING PAUL WHEELIN HOME. BUT THAT, OF COURSE, IS GOING TO BE COMPLICATED. AND PAUL WIELAND'S FAMILY EXPRESSING THEIR SADNESS OR DISAPPOINTMENT OR FRUSTRATION. FRANKLY, THAT RELAND WAS NOT A PART OF THIS AGREEMENT TODAY WITH RUSSIA, THAT IT WAS A ONE FOR ONE DEAL, BRITTNEY GRINER AND VICTOR BOOT AS PART OF THAT PRISONER EXCHANGE. YOU KNOW, DAN, THIS SUMMER, THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WENT TO THAT UNUSUAL LENGTH TO ANNOUNCE THAT THEY HAD MADE A SUBSTANTIAL OFFER ON THE TABLE FOR THE RELEASE OF BRITTNEY GRINER AND PAUL WHEELIN. HOW DO THESE NEGOTIATIONS TAKE PLACE BEHIND THE SCENES? SO IT WAS NOTABLE THAT THEY SAID THEY HAD MADE THIS OFFER TO RUSSIA AND IT WAS CLEAR IN THE SUBSEQUENT WEEKS AND MONTHS THAT RUSSIA WAS NOT ENGAGING WITH THE ADMINISTRATION. WE HEARD THAT FROM SENIOR OFFICIALS IN THE BRIEFING ROOM THAT RUSSIA WAS NOT RESPONDING. THEY'D ESSENTIALLY HIT A STALEMATE. THE DAY AFTER THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS, THE PRESIDENT HAD A PRESS CONFERENCE HERE AT THE WHITE HOUSE AND I ASKED HIM IF THERE WAS AN UPDATE ON GREINER'S CONDITION AFTER SHE HAD BEEN SENT TO A PENAL COLONY AND WHETHER THAT MAY BE CHANGE THE PHASE OF NEGOTIATIONS WITH RUSSIA. AND, DAN, THE PRESIDENT'S THAT HE FELT THAT BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES HAD GOTTEN PAST THE ELECTIONS, THAT MAYBE THEN THERE WAS HOPE THAT VLADIMIR PUTIN AND RUSSIA WOULD NEGOTIATE MORE SE

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