U.S. Offer to Swap Russian Arms Dealer for Griner Highlights Uncomfortable Choices

For their families as well, the choice looks different than for geopolitical figures worried about the precedent. “It’s a hard call, and fortunately I’m not the president of the United States,” David Whelan, Paul’s brother, told Fox News on Thursday. “But if the president makes that difficult decision, I would absolutely support Paul’s release if that’s the outcome.”

In recent years, the U.S. government has sought to create a more systematic approach to such situations. President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2015 creating a special presidential envoy at the State Department dedicated to bringing home wrongfully detained American citizens.

President Donald J. Trump signed legislation in late 2020 shortly before leaving office codifying the special envoy and directing the State Department to evaluate every case of an American detained overseas to determine if they are being held illegitimately and refer those who are to the hostage affairs office.

Just this month, Mr. Biden signed an executive order building on the 2020 law to provide support for families of Americans wrongfully detained or held hostage overseas and to authorize financial and travel sanctions on those who are deemed responsible.

But Jared Genser, a longtime human rights lawyer who represents Americans held by foreign governments and has advocated some of the changes, said the reforms have not gone far enough. He has sent a proposal to Mr. Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, urging a multinational agreement to facilitate joint responses to hostage taking, so that if a citizen of one signatory nation were wrongfully detained, many nations would take common action against the perpetrator. He also outlined the idea in a Wall Street Journal guest essay.

“In essence, since ’79, we are over and over and over again trying the same failed approach to recover our hostages,” Mr. Genser said in an interview. “We do this on a case-by-case basis, country by country, with blinders on as we do these negotiations. If a case gets a lot of public profile, it gets more resources and attention. But if you can’t get higher profile, you get no or little help at all.”

It was time, he said, to try to “end hostage taking once and for all.”

Adam Goldman contributed reporting.

White House Says It Does Not Keep Visitor Logs at Biden’s Delaware Home

WASHINGTON — White House officials said on Monday that there are no visitor logs that keep track of who comes and goes from President Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington, Del., where six classified documents were discovered in recent days. A top House Republican demanded on Sunday that the White House turn over visitor logs for […]

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A Florida School Received a Threat. Did a Red Flag Law Prevent a Shooting?

The requests were granted. But the results of the search were not what the detective expected. Memories of Parkland Nationally, more than 20,000 petitions for extreme risk protection orders were filed from 1999 to 2021, according to data collected by Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group. A vast majority of those petitions — more […]

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A Colossal Off-Year Election in Wisconsin

Lauren Justice for The New York Times Conservatives have controlled the court since 2008. Though the court upheld Wisconsin’s 2020 election results, last year it ruled drop boxes illegal, allowed a purge of the voter rolls to take place and installed redistricting maps drawn by Republican legislators despite the objections of Gov. Tony Evers, a […]

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