The Olympic gold medalist was arrested at Moscow Airport on February 17, after she was found to be in possession of two vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, which is a banned substance in Russia.
She had been sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony.
Griner is reported to have been released in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
CBS News broke the story about the prisoner swap at about 5 AM PT/8 AM ET. Margaret Brennan, chief foreign affairs correspondent and moderator of Face the Nation , wrote on Twitter, that CBS News "learned last Thursday that the Griner-for-Bout swap was underway but agreed to a White House request not to report it because officials expressed grave concern about the fragility of the emerging deal & the safety of the Americans."
President Joe Biden posted a Tweet showing him in the presence of Griner's wife Cherelle Griner, with a message saying they had spoken to the athlete and that she was safe and on her way home.
The pair then held a brief news conference at the White House.
Cherelle Griner thanked U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and political advisor Jake Sullivan for their efforts in getting her wife freed.
Griner's release has stoked controversy, however, due to the fact that another U.S. citizen, corporate security exec Paul Whelan remains in jail in Russia, where he is serving a 16-year term on spying changes.
Cherelle Griner alluded to the case at the news conference.
"Today, my family is whole but as you all are aware, there are so many other families who are not whole and so BJ is not here to say this, but I will flatly speak on her behalf and say that BG and I will remain committed to the work of getting every American home including Paul, whose family is in our hearts today as we celebrate BJ coming home," she said.
"We do understand that there are still people out there who are enduring what I endured for the last nine months, of missing tremendously their loved one." She also thanked the Wasserman Agency, Griner's agent, among others.
Biden said, "After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along. This is a day we've worked toward for a long time. We never stopped pushing for her release."
Biden said that they will keep negotiating for the release of Whelan, who has been held since December, 2018.
In his remarks, Biden said that "for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul's case differently than Brittney's. And while we have not yet succeeded in securing Paul's release, we are not giving up. We will never give up."
In a phone interview with CNN from the penal colony where he is being held, Whelan said that he was happy that Griner was released but "greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four year anniversary of my arrest is coming up."
There also was some criticism over the swap of Griner for Bout. John Bolton, the former national security adviser under Donald Trump, said that the swap was "a very bad mistake" by the Biden administration, given that Bout was convicted in 2011 of terrorism charges. "This is not a deal. This is not a swap. This is a surrender," he told CBS News.
Ted Johnson contributed to this report.
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