President Biden made brief comments on Friday expressing optimism about securing the release of Brittney Griner the day a Russian judge sentenced the lesbian basketball player to nine years in a penal colony. “I’m hopeful.

We’re working very hard,” Biden said in response to a shouted question from a reporter following a bill signing at the White House.

Griner has been detained in Russia since February on charges of entering the country with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil and was later arrested on drug charges.