Brittney Griner To Attend White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner

EXCLUSIVE: Brittney Griner will attend tonight’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, which draws a list of sports and entertainment celebrities, media figures and politicos.

The WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist, whose arrest and detention in Russia last year led to a high stakes State Department diplomatic effort to secure her release, will be a guest of CBS News, per the network. She will attend along with her wife, Cherelle.

In her speech, Tamara Keith, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, plans to speak about the current detention of another figure in Russia: The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich, who has been held since last month. Members of his family are expected at the event. Griner spoke to reporters earlier this week about his arrest. “No one should be in those conditions, hands down,” she said, per The New York Times.

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Others expected to attend the WHCA: Benjamin Hall, the Fox News correspondent who was severely injured while covering the early weeks of the war in Ukraine last year. He will conduct an exclusive interview with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, to air on Special Report with Bret Baier that evening. This will be Hall’s first major assignment for the network since he was injured.

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger also is expected to be among the CEOs attending, as a guest of ABC News, per sources.

In the cavernous ballroom of the Washington Hilton, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will sit on the head table along with Vice President Kamala Harris. Biden will perform a bit of standup material — expect jokes about the exit of Tucker Carlson from Fox News and perhaps Disney’s battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — while Comedy Central’s Roy Wood Jr. will be the featured entertainer.

CBS News, which was first to report on Griner’s release in December as part of a U.S.-Russia prisoner swap, also has FBI Director Chris Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on its guest list, along with Paramount Global chair Shari Redstone and CBS President and CEO George Cheeks. CBS News and Paramount brands BET, Comedy Central and Pluto TV are hosting an after-party at the residence of French Ambassador Laurent Bili. Like other news organizations, the network also has a pre-cocktail reception at the Hilton.

The lineup of WHCA events and expected guests is here.

The weekend got off to a big start on Friday evening, with administration figures, lawmakers and journalists fanning out to an array of events across D.C. despite the daylong rainstorm.

Axios and Live Nation held one of the bigger events, a fete at the National Building Museum that featured a performance by Lainey Wilson.

Among those at UTA’s annual bash at Fiola Mare was client Don Lemon, following his exit from CNN earlier this week. Also spotted: CNN’s Chris Licht, anchor Jim Acosta, White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt, Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones and Liev Schreiber.

CAA had an event earlier in the evening at The Henri, with attendees including Emhoff, CNN’s Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer, and NBC News’ Peter Alexander. Also spotted: Former Metropolitan Police Officer and CNN contributor Michael Fanone.

More to come.

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