President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris tried Wednesday to “reassure” Cherelle Griner that the administration is working on getting her wife, WNBA star Brittney Griner, released from a Russian jail — a day after Cherelle said it was “very disheartening” that she hadn’t heard from the White House about efforts to free the hoopster.

Biden “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 White House said in a readout of the conversation.

Noting that Brittney Griner is being held “under intolerable circumstances,” the president also read Cherelle Griner a draft of a letter he intends to send to Brittney.

“This has been top of mind for the president, and he receives daily updates about the status of her negotiations to secure Brittney’s release,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to a Biden event in Ohio on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden
President Biden tried to reassure Cherelle Griner that his administration was doing everything it could to get her wife, Brittney Griner, released from Russian prison.

“And the US government continues to work aggressively, using every available means to bring her home, along with other wrongly detained Americans like Paul Whelan,” she added.

Whelan, a former US Marine, has been detained in Russia since he was arrested at a Moscow hotel in 2018 on espionage charges.

Cherelle Griner expressed her frustration Tuesday over the lack of progress in freeing her wife, who has been held since her February arrest at a Moscow airport for allegedly transporting two cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage.

Cherelle Griner
Cherelle Griner said the administration wasn’t “doing anything” to help free her wife from Russian prison.

In an interview on “CBS Mornings,” Cherelle said she would no longer remain quiet about the White House’s inability to free Brittney. 

“I will find that balance of … harm versus help in pushing our government to do everything that’s possible because being quiet, they’re not moving, they’re not doing anything,” she told host Gayle King.

Cherelle Griner spoke out after Brittney, 31, penned a July 4 letter to the president pleading with him to help get her out of Russia, saying, “I’m terrified I might be here forever.”

“Please do all you can to bring us home,” Griner wrote in a handwritten message delivered to the White House.

“I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you,” the seven-time WNBA all-star said. “As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever.”

Brittney Griner
In a letter, WNBA star Brittney Griner said she’s afraid she might be in a Russian prison “forever.”

The White House initially responded to Cherelle’s criticism by noting that national security adviser Jake Sullivan had spoken with her twice in the previous 10 days, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken had also been in contact.

Brittney Griner appeared in court outside Moscow last Friday for the beginning of her drug possession trial that could result in her spending 10 years in a Russian prison. 

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