Donald Trump And Viktor Bout Seem To Have A Few Things In Common Despite The Former Pres' Protests

An abundance of individuals and groups are still agitated over every aspect of the Brittney Griner-Viktor Bout prisoner exchange. One DEA agent who oversaw the administration's past investigation of Viktor Bout told ABC News that the exchange was "really upsetting to me."  

Derek Maltz was the special agent in charge of the DEA's operations division that took down Bout in a sting operation in Thailand. As such, Maltz no doubt knows more than most about the unsavory actions undertaken for decades by the "Merchant of Death" as Bout is called. Maltz told ABC News that he had no issue with Brittney Griner gaining her freedom though he said the exchange would make things less safe for Americans traveling internationally.

Griner was arrested one week before Russia invaded Ukraine and later charged and sentenced to nine years in prison for possessing less than a gram of cannabis oil in her suitcase.

And Then There Is The Former President

Donald Trump has continued to lash out not only at the exchange itself but also at the very character of Brittney Griner. In doing so, Trump has reiterated that he did not, would not, could never have relinquished the likes of Viktor Bout, not even for former US Marine Paul Whelan, though Bout and Trump, as it turns out, seem to share similar world views.

In an interview with Russia'a Maria Butina, Bout - who promptly joined Russia's ultra nationalist Liberal Democratic Party - gushed about the invasion of Ukraine and wondered why Russia hadn't done it sooner and that he'd join up to fight if he could. 

Butina herself served a short prison stint in the U.S. for acting as a foreign agent for Russia. At the time, 2018, prosecutors argued that Butina was forging links with National Rifle Association (NRA) officials and other influential Republicans between 2015-2017 with the goal of creating communication back channels that could pay off if Republicans won the White House. 

Indeed, during his time in the White House, Trump's cuddly relationship with Vladimir Putin was outstanding for its bizarre nature. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 2019 report detailed Trump's purported collusion with Russia.

Butina then asked Bout if he thought there would be a revolution in America, to which he responded “Unfortunately, I don’t believe there will be a revolution.”

He pointed to the treatment of the January 6 insurrection participants, saying US authorities were imprisoning 1200–1300 people “without anything at all. And for what? They didn’t kill anyone. They just beat some people up, didn’t even start a fire.” Sound familiar? 

Trump said something similar on the topic: “...the real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the Presidential Election, not on January 6th—which was a day of protesting the Fake Election results.”

Bout complained to Butina about what he called reverse racism in America. “It’s very difficult to be a normal white person who wants a family and children, who wants love.”

Trump normally left it up to his white nationalist followers to complain about that issue, though his own racism was often difficult to conceal. 

What Now For Bout And His Friends In High Places?

There are those who are convinced that Bout will reemerge and do what he does best: help Russia buy and sell weapons while skirting international sanctions. Clearly he's got Ukraine in his crosshairs. 

“The Merchant of Death is back in action, with more hatred against America and with greater motivation to fuel conflicts and support Russia in its outrageous and disastrous war with Ukraine,” said Maltz as quoted by Politico. 

And Trump? One wonders if he still thinks Putin's invasion of Ukraine was "genius" and "savvy"? 

Photo: Gage Skidmore and Drug Enforcement Administration on Wikimedia Commons

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