Biden meets Griner, Whelan families at White House | Politics News

Households are pushing US to safe launch of WNBA star Brittney Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan, held in Russia.

US President Joe Biden has met with the households of basketball star Brittney Griner and former marine Paul Whelan, amid ongoing efforts in Washington to safe two Americans’ launch from detention in Russia.

Biden sat down within the Oval Workplace on Friday with Cherelle Griner, the spouse of Griner, and Elizabeth Whelan, the ex-marine’s sister.

The conferences started shortly earlier than 5pm (21:00 GMT), the White Home mentioned.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White Home press secretary, mentioned earlier this week that Biden hoped the face-to-face talks will present the households “that they continue to be entrance of thoughts” for the USA administration.

“Whereas I might like to say that the aim of this assembly is to tell the households that the Russians have accepted our supply and we’re bringing their loved-ones dwelling, that isn’t what we’re seeing in these negotiations right now,” Jean-Pierre instructed reporters.

Griner, a Ladies’s Nationwide Basketball Affiliation (WNBA) and two-time Olympic gold medallist, was sentenced to 9 years in jail final month over drug expenses.

She was arrested in February, days earlier than Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and her case has moved by way of the Russian courtroom system amid frayed relations between Moscow and Washington over the battle.

Whelan, a Marine veteran, was sentenced to 16 years in jail in 2020 on espionage expenses.

The US State Division has known as the detention of each US residents unjustified.

Earlier on Friday, a White Home Nationwide Safety Council spokesperson mentioned negotiations with Moscow to safe the 2 Individuals’ launch are ongoing.

“The president felt it was necessary to proceed the dialogue with the relations … We’ve got stayed in contact with them all through; we now have saved them knowledgeable all through,” John Kirby instructed reporters.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned in July that Washington made a “substantial proposal” to Moscow to free Griner and Whelan.

A number of US media shops reported round that point that the Biden administration provided a prisoner change involving a Russian arms seller detained within the US.

On Friday, Kirby instructed reporters that Russia has not responded to that supply, “however that doesn’t imply that we’re not nonetheless in negotiations or we’re not nonetheless attempting”.

Moscow mentioned final month that it was “prepared” to debate a prisoner swap cope with Washington.

In the meantime, Griner’s family, teammates and supporters have been calling on the US authorities to place its full weight behind the case to push for her launch.

Griner was accused of bringing vape canisters containing hashish oil into Russia, the place she was set to play for a basketball workforce in Yekaterinburg.

Regardless of the deteriorating ties between Washington and Moscow, Russia in April freed Trevor Reed, a former US marine. In change, the US launched Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was serving a 20-year sentence within the US over drug expenses.

Biden vows to end social media immunity over ‘spreading hate’ | Racism News

The White Home has repeatedly known as for revoking Part 230, a legislation that shields on-line firms from legal responsibility over content material posted by customers.

US President Joe Biden has known as on People to talk out towards racism, saying he would ask Congress to do extra to carry social media firms accountable for spreading hate.

“White supremacists is not going to have the final phrase,” Biden mentioned on Thursday on the United We Stand Summit of native leaders, specialists and survivors.

Biden mentioned the USA had lengthy skilled a “via line of hate” towards minority teams, one which had been given “an excessive amount of oxygen” by politics and the media lately.

The occasion additionally recognised communities that suffered hate-based assaults, together with mass shootings at a homosexual nightclub in Orlando in 2016 and at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store earlier this yr, by which 10 Black individuals have been gunned down by an avowed racist.

Hate crimes within the US hit a 12-year excessive in 2020, the final accessible knowledge, the FBI mentioned final yr.

‘Silence is complicity’

Members gave Biden a standing ovation when he mentioned he needed Congress to “maintain social media firms accountable for spreading hate”.

“I’m calling on Congress to do away with particular immunity for social media firms and impose a lot stronger transparency necessities on all of them,” Biden mentioned.

The White Home has repeatedly known as for revoking Part 230, a legislation that shields on-line firms from legal responsibility over content material posted by customers, and has additionally supported ramping up anti-trust and transparency enforcement on know-how firms.

The White Home occasion comes simply weeks after Biden warned in a speech in Philadelphia that “extremist” Republicans are a risk to democracy.

Biden addressed criticism that the speech was divisive on Thursday.

“Silence is complicity, we will’t stay silent,” Biden mentioned. “There are those who say we carry this up, we divide the nation. Bringing it up we silence it.”

A number of huge know-how firms additionally joined in. YouTube mentioned it was increasing its efforts to fight “violent extremism” by eradicating content material glorifying violent acts for the aim of inspiring others to commit hurt, fundraise, or recruit.

Microsoft mentioned it was increasing using synthetic intelligence and machine studying instruments to detect credible threats of violence, and use gaming to construct empathy.