“I mean, there are just countless people I have to thank. I won’t be able to cover them all. But another big thank you to the US news media for reporting this,” Reed said. Jake Tapper in a recently released clip from the upcoming DailyExpertNews Special Report: “Finally Home: The Trevor Reed Interview,” which airs Sunday night.
Reed said in the clip, which aired Sunday on DailyExpertNews’s “Reliable Sources,” that his release last month “would never have happened” had the US press not covered and made the public aware of his imprisonment.
“In (the) US, news media played a vital role in achieving all of that. So, DailyExpertNews, ABC, Fox News — everyone who covered that — I want to thank them for that,” he continued. “And I want to say, keep up the good work and keep up the good work with other hostages. … That’s something our government needs to function unfortunately.”
Reed, a former US Marine, was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2020 after being accused during an altercation last year of endangering the “life and health” of Russian police officers. He and his family have denied the charges against him.
As part of a prisoner swap with the US for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian smuggler convicted of conspiracy to import cocaine, Reed was released from Russia in April. The US commuted Yaroshenko’s sentence.
During much of Reed’s detention, his parents, Joey and Paula Reed, appeared before the press, advocating for their son’s return.
Behind the scenes, officials from both inside and outside the US government had been trying to get Reed out for years. Last month’s swap, a government official told DailyExpertNews, was the culmination of “months and months of hard and painstaking work in the U.S. government” that took place against the backdrop of rising tensions between Washington and Moscow — dramatically exacerbated by the brutal war of Russia in Ukraine.
It was the combination of factors surrounding Reed’s case — including his deteriorating health in prison, his family’s consistent activism that led to a meeting with President Joe Biden, and the situation in Ukraine — that prompted Biden to accept the exchange for Yaroshenko to approve. a source told DailyExpertNews last month.
In another documentary released earlier Sunday on DailyExpertNews’s “State of the Union,” Reed said he doesn’t believe US participation in prisoner swaps to bring Americans home should be controversial.
While some critics say the US’s participation in the swaps could encourage foreign governments to take Americans hostage or hold prisoners under false charges as a form of leverage, Reed told DailyExpertNews’s Tapper he doesn’t believe their argument.
“You have to understand that countries like North Korea — now Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Venezuela of course — those kinds of countries are going to take Americans hostage anyway,” Reed said. “And even if they don’t receive any kind of exchange for those prisoners, they will anyway, just out of sheer malice, just to show the United States that, ‘We took your citizens.'”
Reed told Tapper in the clip that he believes these countries “will continue to do so as long as US citizens travel there”.
Reed argued that what sets the US apart from other countries is its willingness to bring Americans home when they are taken hostage or wrongfully imprisoned abroad.
“The United States went out and made the ethical decision to exchange prisoners to get their innocent Americans out of that country, even while trading them in for someone more known and valuable in the United States,” said Reed, later adding that “the Russians, the Chinese, the Venezuelans, Iran, Syria, North Korea — none of them in their entire history has ever made an exchange for a prisoner who is just an average of their citizens. They never would.” do. And that’s what sets the United States apart.”
A senior government official told DailyExpertNews last month that they don’t necessarily see Reed’s successful repatriation as momentum for Whelan and Griner’s cases, but said the US government will continue to push for their release and the channel will open for potential swaps. to stay.
According to a senior State Department official, the top US diplomat has relayed that Griner’s release is a top priority for the Department and has its full attention.
Reed recalls his mindset in prison, the horrific conditions of the Russian mental institution
Reed told Tapper that he believed he had been sent to the psychiatric facility as punishment for his continued pressure to appeal his conviction.
He described the facility: “There was blood all over the wall there — where inmates had committed suicide, or killed other inmates, or tried to do so.”
“The toilet is just a hole in the floor. And there’s, you know, rubbish everywhere, all over the floor, on the walls. There are also people walking around that look like zombies,” he continued.
Reed said he hadn’t slept for a few days for fear of what the people in his cell would do to him.
In another clip released Friday, Reed said he denied himself any hope of getting out of Russian prison.
“And a lot of people won’t like what I’m going to say about this, but I saw their hopes as a weakness,” he said. “So I didn’t want to have that hope of, like, I, you know, being released somehow and then taking that away from me.”
“I wouldn’t let myself hope,” he later noted.
DailyExpertNews’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.