How deep and questionable were the contacts between Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the alleged whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella?
We got another piece of the puzzle today, with what has to be the “coincidence” of all time.
Ciaramella, the CIA officer who was on the NSC during the Obama administration and worked on Ukrainian issues with Joe Biden. He was Biden’s guest at a State Department banquet in October 2016.
Ciaramella continued in that NSC position during the Trump administration. He had a good buddy who he worked with on the NSC, Sean Misko. An official spoke to the Washington Examiner and described the two as “bros” who had similarly antagonistic feelings toward the Trump administration.
Prior to working with the NSC, Misko “worked in the Obama administration as a member of the secretary of state’s policy planning staff for deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan, who became Hillary Clinton’s senior foreign policy adviser during her 2016 presidential campaign.” That perhaps explains the antagonistic feeling toward the Trump administration.
While we knew that Misko subsequently went to work for Schiff, prior records had suggested that he started in August. But according to the Washington Examiner, new records indicate his official date of hire was July 26, the day after the Trump-Zelensky phone call. Gee, one has to wonder about the nature of the timing and how that came about, because that’s blinking red flags all over the place.
He isn’t the first NSC Obama-holdover who Schiff hired. Abigail Grace worked for the NSC under Trump until 2018. She was hired by Schiff in February.
Both Misko and Grace are now working on the impeachment proceedings for Schiff. The new report released by Schiff lists Misko as part of the “impeachment inquiry investigative staff” and Grace as part of “oversight staff.”
The whistleblower filed his complaint on August 12.
From Washington Examiner:
Schiff initially denied he knew about the complaint before it was filed in mid-August.
“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to,” Schiff said on Sept. 17. However, the statement was false, and an aide from his staff had spoken to the whistleblower before the whistleblower complaint was submitted.
The identity of the Schiff aide who spoke to the whistleblower has not been made public, and it has not been confirmed until now that Misko was on Schiff’s staff at the time.
By Oct. 5, it was reported the whistleblower had never indicated to the inspector general he contacted Schiff’s office before filing the complaint against the president.
The whistleblower’s excuses for not talking about the contacts with Schiff’s staff were weak at best, as we previously reported. The form specifically asked for anyone contacted about the complaint and had a section to fill in if you contacted Congress in any capacity. He failed to fill that in. He’s now claiming he didn’t think they discussed anything of “substance” and suggested the wording was unclear. As you can see, it wasn’t.
Can we say all of this stinks to high heaven? Not to mention, Schiff has continued with the fiction that he doesn’t even know who the whistleblower is, despite personally receiving a letter from the whistleblower and having to ‘protect his identity’ in transcripts and proceedings. Schiff was basically caught in the lie when he stopped Lt. Col. Vindman from saying anything more about who he had talked about the July 25th call with, obviously indicating both he and Schiff knew who the whistleblower was.
Republicans are aching to put Schiff under cross-examination to question all of this.
The House Judiciary Committee is expected to proceed with its first hearing on Wednesday, and Georgia Republican Rep. Doug Collins, a senior member of the committee, wants to call Schiff as a witness to testify about what he knows about the whistleblower and the interactions his staff had with the whistleblower prior to filing the complaint.
During an interview on Fox News on Sunday, Collins said, “It’s easy to hide behind a gavel and Intelligence Committee behind closed-door hearings, but it’s going to be another thing to actually get up and have to answer questions about what his staff knew, how he knew, what he knew about the whistleblower report, his interactions he’s had with Ukraine, the other things that he’s had over time in this process.”