Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee: ‘I’m Trying to Go to Russia…to Speak on Behalf of African-Americans’


US Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) basketball player Brittney Griner sits inside a defendants’ cage after pleading guilty to drug charges in a Russian court on August 4, 2022. This week, a Russian judge rejected her plea for leniency. (Photo by EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

( – “Joe Biden is a phenomenal expert in foreign affairs,” Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Texas Democrat, told CNN on Wednesday. Jackson Lee said she agrees with Biden’s support for Ukraine, and she said she views Russian President Vladimir Putin as a barbarian.

Jackson Lee also said she hopes to go to Russia on behalf of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who’s been in a Russian prison since February, when Griner was caught at a Moscow airport with a small amount of cannabis oil in her luggage.

“Let me say that I don’t view Putin as an honest broker,” the congresswoman said.

“I sent out a message yesterday that he’s barbaric, he is playing politics, but I want Brittney Griner home. Her family needs her home along with the other hostages, Paul Whelan. And anything that the president can do to generate an opportunity for that innocent young woman to be brought home and not be used as a political pawn and not be in a cage in devastating conditions in Russia, I am for.

“But I want us to make the point, and I want the world to make the point, that they can no longer tolerate Putin’s misbehavior and his taunting of using a nuclear weapon and his taunting and using human beings as a pawn.

“So, for me, Erica, I’m trying to go to Russia, because I believe it is important to have someone who is able, if you will, to speak on behalf of African-Americans and black women if what he is doing is destructive. So, yes, I support the president. His hostage team has been stupendous.

“But (her) family, wife and family, they are just distraught. And I don’t think this young lady should be tortured any further. So, whatever the president can do, I support him and I want to continue to work to ensure that this young lady comes home, this renowned Olympian, charitable young woman who is loved by her team, loved by her community, loved by Houston and loved by the nation.

“We need to bring her home and bring Paul Whelan home.”

As reported, a Russian court on Tuesday rejected Brittney Griner’s apology and appeal for leniency on drug charges. She’s now expected to continue serving a nine-year prison sentence in Russia. The Biden administration is trying to arrange her release, even as it wages a proxy war with Russia. Russia invaded Ukraine a week after Griner’s arrest in Moscow.

“We are in constant contact with Russian authorities to get Brittney and others out,” President Biden told reporters on Tuesday. “And so far, we’ve not been meeting with much positive response. But we’re not stopping.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Tuesday, “Our bottom line is that Russia needs to negotiate in good faith.”

Also on Tuesday, October 25, Jackson Lee tweeted:

“The rejection of Brittney Griner’s appeal of her nine-year prison sentence was a disastrous punitive mean spirited act by the puppet court of Vladimir Putin. The United States has to stop being nice, because Putin is playing politics and wants to undermine Democrats through the midterm elections.

“He’s a desperate man doing desperate things, and our silence and ability to willingness to negotiate is being taken for granted being perceived as Putin having the upper hand. It’s time for the world to get tough with Vladimir Putin. 

“It’s time for Brittney Griner to be released immediately. It’s time for all of us to look Putin in the eye and say that his barbaric behavior is not acceptable to the world. Enough is enough!!”

Las Vegas News Magazine

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