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President Joe Biden has read the letter that WNBA star Brittney Griner wrote him from Russia, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed on Tuesday.
It’s unclear how Biden reacted, however, and Griner’s wife, Cherelle, said she has still not heard from the president.
"The president did read the letter," Jean-Pierre said. "I was there when he read the letter ... This is an issue that is a priority for this president."
Griner sent a handwritten letter to Biden on Monday asking for her release from Russia, where she’s been detained since February 17.
“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,” Griner wrote, in part.
“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran. It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”
Griner is currently in the midst of a trial in Russia after officials claim they found vape cartridges with hashish oil in them in her luggage at a Moscow airport earlier this year. The United States has classified her as a wrongfully detained citizen.
Calls for Griner’s release have grown significantly in recent weeks, especially after the U.S. state department botched a scheduled phone call between Cherelle and Griner.
Cherelle has since been in contact with Griner.
“She’s like, ‘I’m okay, babe. I’m hardened. I’m not me right now. When I come home, it’s going to take a minute to get back to myself, but I’m holding on,'” Cherelle said on Al Sharpton’s 'Keepin’ It Real.'
“‘I won’t break until I come home. I won’t let them break me. I know they are trying to, but I’m going to do my best to just hold on until I can come home.'”
Griner’s trial is set to resume on Thursday. She is facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Though Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that they are “going to use every tool we possibly can to” bring Griner home, Cherelle said she still has not spoken with Biden about her wife — which she said Tuesday was “very disheartening.”
"Initially I was told, you know, we are going to try to reserve, we're going to try to handle this behind scenes and let's not raise her value and you know stay quiet. You know, I did that and respectfully, we're over 140 days at this point. That does not work," Cherelle said Tuesday, via CBS. "So I will not be quiet anymore. I will find that balance of, you know, 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. So my wife is struggling, and we have to help her."