On Wednesday, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Cherelle Griner, the wife of the W.N.B.A. star Brittney Griner, according to a statement released by the White House. Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia on drug charges since February.
During the call, Biden read a draft of a letter he planned to send to Brittney Griner.
“The president offered his support to Cherelle and Brittney’s family, and he committed to ensuring they are provided with all possible assistance while his administration pursues every avenue to bring Brittney home,” the statement read.
Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17, accused by the Russian authorities of having a vape cartridge with hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. Her trial began on Friday. On Monday, Brittney Griner sent a letter to Biden pleading for his help.
The U.S. government has classified Griner as “wrongfully detained” and is working to secure her release regardless of the outcome of the trial.
Wednesday’s statement from the White House described Brittney Griner as “wrongfully detained in Russia under intolerable circumstances.”
It also said Biden had instructed his national security team to keep “regular contact” with Cherelle Griner and Brittney Griner’s family. Cherelle Griner has publicly expressed frustration with Biden and his administration’s efforts to secure her wife’s release.