The New York Times on Wednesday published what would have been a major story on White House National Security Council (NSC) aide Kash Patel—if only it had been true.
The story, which relies on leaks from Democrats conducting the “impeachment inquiry” into President Donald Trump of testimony by one witness who had no firsthand knowledge of the allegations she was making, claims Patel had provided President Trump with documents on Ukraine and met with the president about them.
Citing as its sources “people briefed on the matter,” the Times’ Julian Barnes, Adam Goldman, and Nicholas Fandos wrote that Patel was referred to by President Trump as “one of his top Ukraine policy specialists” and that President Trump “wanted to discuss related documents with him.” The Times reporters claimed that Patel’s NSC and White House colleagues “grew alarmed” over all this.
Later in the Times piece, it became clear where exactly this allegation came from—Fiona Hill, a former Trump administration Russia hand, whom the Democrats have been relying on for testimony in the impeachment inquiry. Hill testified earlier this month in the secret room in the basement of the Capitol building from which Democrats have been running their private impeachment proceedings.
Barnes, Goldman, and Fandos wrote:
Fiona Hill, the National Security Council’s former senior director for Eurasian and Russian affairs, testified to House investigators last week that she believed Mr. Patel was improperly becoming involved in Ukraine policy and was sending information to Mr. Trump, some of the people said. Ms. Hill grew alarmed earlier this year when an aide from the White House executive secretary’s office told her that Mr. Trump wanted to talk to Mr. Patel and identified him as the National Security Council’s ‘Ukraine director,’ a position held by one of Ms. Hill’s deputies. The aide said Mr. Trump wanted to meet with Mr. Patel about documents he had received on Ukraine. Ms. Hill responded by asking who Mr. Patel was. While the aide from the executive secretary’s office did not state explicitly that Mr. Patel sent the Ukraine documents to Mr. Trump, Ms. Hill understood that to be the implication, according to a person familiar with her testimony.
As the Times notes, if true, this would mean there were multiple backchannels for Trump on Ukraine matters—the other being through his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Giuliani’s associates—and it would make it appear as though Trump was up to something by circumventing established channels for such policy, even though the president as the nation’s chief executive officer is well within his rights to do that.
But the problem with the Times story, and its sources that appear to be leaks from Democrats of Hill’s testimony, is that the entire premise is untrue, sources familiar with Patel’s meetings with the president told Breitbart News. Since the Times published its story, Breitbart News has spoken with a dozen sources including current White House officials, then-current-now-former White House officials, congressional officials familiar with the investigation and the meetings Patel had with President Trump, and others in the know about what actually happened and discovered that Patel’s meetings with President Trump had “absolutely nothing,” in the words of one source, to do with Ukraine whatsoever.
One now-former White House official confirmed that President Trump did in fact meet with Patel on a number of occasions, though it’s unclear if these were one-on-one meetings or there were others present.
A source close to House GOP leadership told Breitbart News that Patel’s meetings with the president were focused on domestic national security matters, and that Ukraine did not come up at all.
That source said of the Times story:
This story is complete nonsense. The meeting was arranged at the suggestion of multiple GOP congressmen and senators to discuss domestic national security issues that Kash has specific knowledge and unique expertise in. This meeting had absolutely nothing to do with Ukraine.
A second well-placed source familiar with Patel’s interactions with the president told Breitbart News that the Times story that relies on Hill’s testimony—leaked by Democrats—is “100 percent false.”
“The New York Times story is 100 percent false,” this source familiar with Patel’s interactions with Trump told Breitbart News. “Kash did not discuss Ukraine with Trump in any meeting, nor did he discuss any Ukraine-related documents with him. The Democrats involved in the impeachment interviews were obviously tipped off that Fiona Hill would invent some story like this if asked about Kash, and that’s why they brought up his name to her, then they leaked the exchange to their lackeys at the Times.”
Hill, Breitbart News has learned, was asked a number questions about Patel by the Democrats during her testimony, and a source in the room said her “responses appeared scripted,” suggesting that there was some coordination between Hill or her lawyers and the Democrats on Capitol Hill before her appearance.
Then, as has happened with so much more that has gone on in the secretive U.S. Capitol basement room in which House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is running the impeachment proceedings away from public view, this information was leaked to the Times and weaponized against the president and his administration—the actual truth and facts be damned.
This episode paints a broader and darker picture of what exactly Schiff and his team are doing in the secretive room and raises bigger questions about why Schiff is not holding these hearings in public.
The system Democrats have set up basically goes as such: They bring witnesses in for testimony and depositions and transcribed interviews for hours on end to a private room known as a Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF)–behind closed doors and away from the press and public.
They allow no lawyers for the administration inside to challenge anything, present facts in defense of the president, or hear what’s happening down there. Then, Schiff and his team control the information gathered and collected down there—not allowing the minority sufficient access to it.
After that, Schiff, his team, and other Democrats leak the most damaging information to the media—usually out of context, and without the full story—in order to create a public narrative that the president is in serious trouble.
Then it takes a couple days at least for Republicans to get the full truth out about each of these instances to turn around the narrative and expose each “fact” the Democrats are putting forward as flawed. This latest example saw the Times story on Hill’s testimony as the official public record on this matter, until now, for about a full day.
Technically speaking, Hill did make these claims that the Times reported in her testimony—but the veracity of them was never checked by the Democrats who gathered said testimony then leaked it to the New York Times for publication.
The Times also did not check their veracit, even though the first source who spoke to Breitbart News, the one close to House GOP leadership who confirmed Hill’s claims were false, noted that Hill’s inaccurate claims were reproduced uncritically by the Times based upon Democrat leaks. And the Times, this source said, as an institution was aware of the fact that Hill’s claims were false because a separate White House correspondent at the Times was aware of Patel’s meetings with the president at the time of said meetings well before Hill’s testimony happened and well before Democrats even launched an impeachment inquiry—and that this Times reporter was aware that the content had nothing to do with Ukraine.
“What’s particularly shameful is that at least one New York Times White House reporter was told about this meeting in advance off the record, and knew what this meeting was about—and that it was not about Ukraine—but they printed this fake story anyway,” the source close to House GOP leadership told Breitbart News.
Part of the reason the media and the Democrats wanted to smear Patel and attempt to tie him into the impeachment madness, the second source who was familiar with Patel’s conversations with the president said, is because Patel was critical of exposing the failures of the narrative surrounding the previous attempts by the so-called “deep state” to entangle Trump in a scandal on the Russia narrative.
“The story is a lazy hit piece based entirely on rumors and purported second-hand and third-hand information,” that source told Breitbart News. “Both the Times and the Democrats have a vendetta against Kash because he helped blow up their three-year investment in the Russia hoax.”
In fact, this is evident by the fact that the Times story actually opens with a recounting of Patel’s history as an aide on the House Intelligence Committee when Republicans were in the majority and his role in exposing what has become known as “Spygate.”
Barnes, Goldman, and Fandos wrote to open their article, before they even got into the substance of the new but false allegations that Hill leveled against Patel over meetings with the president:
When Kashyap Patel was an aide to the House Intelligence Committee in the first years of the Trump administration, he played a key role in helping Republicans try to undermine the Russia investigation, writing a memo that accused law enforcement officials of abusing their power. The memo, which consumed Washington for weeks, was widely dismissed as a biased argument of cherry-picked facts. But it galvanized President Trump’s allies and made Mr. Patel a hero among them. After Republicans ceded control of Congress this year, he landed on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council staff.
Later in the story, the Times reporters further explain Patel’s role in exposing the Russia scandal as a hoax designed to harm the president.
“Mr. Patel was previously best known as a lead author of the politically charged memo released early last year accusing the F.B.I. and Justice Department leaders of abusing their power in the early stages of the Russia investigation,” Barnes, Goldman, and Fandos wrote. “Mr. Patel worked at the time as an investigator for the House Intelligence Committee under Representative Devin Nunes of California, who ran the panel when Republicans had control of the chamber. Mr. Patel’s efforts to discredit the Russia investigation made him a minor celebrity in conservative circles but a divisive figure on Capitol Hill.”