"From a Turkish prison to the White House in 24 hours, that's not bad", Trump quipped Saturday. In the Oval Office, there were a number of senators and the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and also John Bolton who is the Advisor of National Security.
Brunson faced up to 35 years in jail. "I ask that you give him perseverance and endurance and courage to stand for truth", Brunson petitioned God on bended knee, his left hand on Trump's shoulder.
Brunson, who was at the center of a Turkish-U.S. diplomatic dispute that even had sparked outcry from American evangelical groups, was released to house arrest after nearly two years in jail. Not only he thanked Trump, but he also thanked the members of Congress who had worked for his release. A Turkish court on Friday convicted Brunson of only the terrorism charges, and the government then freed the evangelical pastor to return home.
But Brunson's release doesn't resolve disagreements over US support for Kurdish fighters in Syria, as well as a plan by Turkey to buy Russian surface-to-air missiles.
Trump tells Brunson "we've been negotiating long and hard" for his release and that "we do not pay ransom in this country".
Brunson had flown to Germany on Friday for a medical checkup at a US military hospital, and now awaiting him in the U.S.is expected White House meeting later Saturday with President Donald trump.
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"I ask that you give him wisdom in how to lead this country into righteousness".
After it was clear that Andrew would not be released, Norinne and the family went through "a lot of uncertainty", because "I wanted to stay with him [Andrew] but did not know if I could remain in the country".
"Fill him with your wisdom and strength and perseverance", Brunson asked. I ask that you to protect him from slander from enemies, from those who would undermine. May he be a great blessing to our country. "And we bless him". The U.S. had repeatedly called for Brunson's release and, this year, sanctioned two Turkish officials and doubled tariffs on steel and aluminum imports citing in part Brunson's plight.
They were "shocked, because we had spent twenty-three years working very openly, talking people about Jesus, helping refugees, things like these".
Trump maintained the two cases were not linked, saying Brunson's release amid the Khashoggi investigation was "strict coincidence".
"At the beginning I was held in solitary confinement for a number of days, and that was very hard", Brunson told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "And I think that even though whatever reason the Turkish government was holding us for, I believe that God was involved in this for us because I think of millions of people who prayed for Turkey during that time".