Eric Ciaramella — the CIA analyst believed by many to be the anonymous whistleblower who launched the impeachment inquiry — and a current staff member for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff reportedly spoke openly of “taking out” President Donald Trump just two weeks into his administration.
RealClearInvestigations reported Wednesday that Ciaramella and Sean Misko were holdovers from the Obama administration serving on Trump’s National Security Council when the alleged incident took place at an “all-hands” meeting for hundreds of staffers called by then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in February 2017.
“‘They were popping off about how they were going to remove Trump from office. No joke,’ said one ex-colleague, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters,” RealClearInvestigations reported.
“A military staffer detailed to the NSC, who was seated directly in front of Ciaramella and Misko during the meeting, confirmed hearing them talk about toppling Trump during their private conversation, which the source said lasted about one minute. The crowd was preparing to get up to leave the room at the time,” the report continued.
The military detailee related how the two men “were huffing and puffing throughout the briefing any time Flynn said something they didn’t like about ‘America First.’”
“After Flynn briefed [the staff] about what ‘America first’ foreign policy means, Ciaramella turned to Misko and commented, ‘We need to take him out,’” the staffer said. “And Misko replied, ‘Yeah, we need to do everything we can to take out the president.’”
Ciaramella also reportedly told Misko, “We can’t let him enact this foreign policy.”
The military member said he immediately reported what he heard to his superiors.
A second source who was sitting with the military staffer at the NSC meeting told RealClearInvestigations, “We just thought they were wacky … Little did we know.”
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas have called for Ciaramella to testify regarding the whistleblower complaint, though he has not officially been identified as the whistleblower. The analyst returned to the CIA in mid-2017.
The complaint alleged that in a July 25 phone call, Trump made an overt quid pro quo demand of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden regarding their dealings in Ukraine in order to receive U.S. military aid.
When Trump released the transcript, the whistleblower allegation turned out to be false.
Misko left the NSC last summer to go work for Schiff on the Intelligence Committee.
“Sources say [Misko] offered ‘guidance’ to the whistleblower, who has been officially identified only as an intelligence officer in a complaint against Trump filed under whistleblower laws. Misko then helped run the impeachment inquiry based on that complaint as a top investigator for congressional Democrats,” RealClearInvestigations reported.
The Washington Post gave Schiff four Pinocchios (its worst rating) in October after the lawmaker repeatedly claimed neither he nor his staff had contact with the whistleblower.
“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to,” Schiff told MSNBC on Sept. 17.
Appearing on Fox News on Tuesday, GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas argued that Schiff, not Trump, is engaging in a cover-up regarding the whistleblower’s misconduct.
Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney, serves on both the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees and was named to Trump’s impeachment defense team this week.
“The coverup happened when Adam Schiff — who everyone knows was not truthful about his contact with whistleblower — what they don’t know is that the whistleblower was not truthful under oath about his contacts with Congressman Schiff, and there is a transcript that reflects that,” Ratcliffe said.
“It’s the inspector general’s transcript,” the lawmaker continued. “It’s the only one out of 18 transcripts that hasn’t been released by Congressman Schiff.”
In other words, the whistleblower knowingly provided a false statement to the inspector general, which is a crime.
RealClearInvestigations reported that the IG, Michael Atkinson, “facilitated the processing of his complaint, despite numerous red flags raised by career Justice Department lawyers who reviewed it.”
Republicans are right to demand that if there are to be witnesses, the whistleblower and Atkinson need to be near the top of the list.
From the look of things, the whole impeachment push, part two, is yet another example of the “deep state” run amuck.
This time around, instead of the FBI and the DOJ running the show, it’s Schiff and some former disgruntled NSC staffers.
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