Second Adam Schiff Staffer Linked to Burisma-Backed Think Tank, ‘Close Friends’ with Alleged ‘Whistleblower’

Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images
Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

Yet another staffer for Rep. Adam Schiff served as a fellow for the Atlantic Council, a think tank that is funded by and works in partnership with Burisma, the natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Sean Misko has been described as “close friends” with Eric Ciaramella, whom Real Clear Investigations suggests is the likely so-called whistleblower.  Misko reportedly joined Schiff’s staff at the House Intelligence Committee in August – the same month the so-called whistleblower’s complaint was filed after first reportedly interfacing with a staffer for Schiff’s office.

Misko in 2015 was a yearlong “Millennium Fellow” at the Burisma-funded Atlantic Council, which has been under the microscope for its ties to other individuals associated with the Trump impeachment inquiry.

Misko’s former position marks the second Schiff staffer who worked or currently works with the Atlantic Council.

Thomas Eager, a staffer on Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, is currently a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Congressional Fellowship, a bipartisan program that says it “educates congressional staff on current events in the Eurasia region.”

Burisma in January 2017 signed a “cooperative agreement” with the Council to specifically sponsor the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, where Eager serves as a fellow.

As Breitbart News reported, itinerary for a trip to Ukraine in August organized by the Atlantic Council reveals that Eager held a meeting during the trip with Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, now a key witness for Democrats pursuing impeachment.

Breitbart News reported that Taylor himself has evidenced a close relationship with the Atlantic Council think tank, writing Ukraine policy pieces with the organization’s director and analysis articles published by the Council.

Eager’s August trip to Ukraine was billed as a bipartisan “Ukraine Study Trip” in which ten Congressional staffers participated.

A closer look at the itinerary for the August 24 to August 31 trip shows that the delegation’s first meeting upon arrival in Ukraine was with Taylor.

Spokespeople for Schiff’s office did not reply to multiple Breitbart News requests  for comment about Eager’s meeting with Taylor.

The dates of the pre-planned trip are instructive. Eager’s visit to Ukraine sponsored by the Burisma-funded Atlantic Council began 12 days after the so-called “whistleblower” officially filed his August 12 complaint.

Schiff and his office have offered seemingly conflicting statements on the timeline of the contact between the so-called whistleblower and the California Congressman’s office.

Speaking on September 17, Schiff told MSNBC, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”

Schiff’s spokesperson, Patrick Boland, was quoted on October 2 saying, “At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance.” Boland said Schiff’s committee received the complaint the night before it publicly released the document.

On Oct 2, however, the New York Times reported that Schiff received some of the contents of the complaint through an unnamed House Intelligence Committee aide initially contacted by the so-called “whistleblower,” described as a CIA officer.

The Times reported the aide “shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff.”  The referenced officer refers to the so-called “whistleblower.”

The newspaper also reported:

By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained

Schiff conceded that he was not clear enough about his contact with the so-called “whistleblower.”

“I should have been much more clear,” Schiff said.

Misko and Ciaramella 

Meanwhile, besides serving as a fellow at the Atlantic Council in 2015, Misko is also listed as providing a small donation of up to $999 to the think tank in 2016.

Other major donors that year include regular Atlantic Council donors Burisma, Google, and billionaire activist George Soros’s Open Society network.

Another donor that year was Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and also reportedly helped draft the Google-tied CrowdStrike firm to aid with the DNC’s allegedly hacked server.  Google’s parent company led a funding drive to provide seed capital to CrowdStrike.

On behalf of the DNC and Clinton’s campaign, Perkins Coie also paid the controversial Fusion GPS firm to produce the infamous, largely-discredited anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

Prior to working for Schiff, Misko was director for the Gulf States at the National Security Council from 2015 until mid-2018. Before that, Misko worked in the Obama-era State Department under Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan.

The Washington Examiner previously described Misko as evidencing a “bro-like” friendship with alleged whistleblower Ciaramella, calling the duo “close friends.”

The newspaper reported the two “had similarly antagonistic attitudes toward the Trump administration and were witnessed by a former National Security Council official, like Ciaramella, a nonpolitical appointee, to frequently be around one another.”

“My understanding was that they were friendly with one another,” said the former NSC official, who was described as senior to Ciaramella. “They would walk around the halls. Get lunch together and stuff like that.” He described them as “very much cut from the same cloth,” and their friendship as “bro-like.”

The Washington Examiner report continued:

The former official described Ciaramella as “very hostile” toward him when they first met, and he asked the CIA officer about the type of competitive strategies he had put in place to compete with the Russians. “And he looked at me like, ‘What are you talking about? We don’t do that stuff here. We don’t take on our adversaries here. We invite think tanks here to talk about issues.’”

According to the former official, Trump’s first national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, who was fired by Trump after 24 days, wanted to “actually take the fight to our enemies and have real strategies, and it was such a contrast because whatever the hell the Obama NSC was doing, they were not taking on our adversaries.”

He said, “There was this weird cultural hostility to me asking him, ‘You know, are you guys doing your job here?’ He had a lot of arrogance about him,” adding that Ciaramella behaved like he had protection at the NSC, so he could be insubordinate to a more senior official.

Likely ‘whistleblower’

A RealClearInvestigations report by investigative journalist and author Paul Sperry named Ciaramella as best fitting the description of the so-called whistleblower.

Officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings say Ciaramella’s name has been raised in private in impeachment depositions and during at least one House open hearing that was not part of the formal impeachment proceedings.

Federal documents show Ciaramella also worked closely with Joe Biden and worked under Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser. He also worked with former CIA Director John Brennan, an anti-Trump advocate who has faced controversy for his role in fueling the questionable Russia collusion investigation.  Rice participated in Russia collusion probe meetings and reportedly unmasked senior members of Trump’s presidential campaign.

Sperry cites former White House officials saying Ciaramella worked for Biden on Ukrainian policy issues in 2015 and 2016, encompassing the time period for which Biden has been facing possible conflict questions for leading Ukraine policy in light of Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma.

Mark Zaid and Andrew Bakaj, the activist attorneys representing the so-called whistleblower, refused to confirm on deny that their secretive client is indeed Ciaramella.

“We neither confirm nor deny the identity of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower,” the lawyers told the Washington Examiner in response to an inquiry about Ciaramella.

Zaid and Bakaj added, “Our client is legally entitled to anonymity. Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger. Any physical harm the individual and/or their family suffers as a result of disclosure means that the individuals and publications reporting such names will be personally liable for that harm. Such behavior is at the pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.”

Soros funding and ‘whistleblower’ complaint

Besides Burisma funding, the Atlantic Council is also financed by Soros’s Open Society Foundations, Google, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc., and the U.S. State Department.

Google, Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Rockefeller Fund, and an agency of the State Department each also finance a self-described investigative journalism organization repeatedly referenced as a source of information in the so-called whistleblower’s complaint alleging Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 presidential race.

The charges in the July 22 report referenced in the so-called whistleblower’s document and released by the Google and Soros-funded organization, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), seem to be the public precursors for a lot of the so-called whistleblower’s own claims, as Breitbart News documented.

One key section of the so-called whistleblower’s document claims that “multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelensky advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov.”

This was allegedly to follow up on Trump’s call with Zelensky in order to discuss the “cases” mentioned in that call, according to the so-called whistleblower’s narrative. The complainer was clearly referencing Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate the Biden corruption allegations.

Even though the statement was written in first person – “multiple U.S. officials told me” – it contains a footnote referencing a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

That footnote reads:

In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019 and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelensky adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.

The so-called whistleblower’s account goes on to rely upon that same OCCRP report on three more occasions. It does so to:

  • Write that Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko “also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters.”
  • Document that Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani “had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani.”
  • Bolster the charge that, “I also learned from a U.S. official that ‘associates’ of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team.” The so-called whistleblower then relates in another footnote, “I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.”

The OCCRP report repeatedly referenced is actually a “joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and BuzzFeed News, based on interviews and court and business records in the United States and Ukraine.”

BuzzFeed infamously also first published the full anti-Trump dossier alleging unsubstantiated collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. The dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and was produced by the Fusion GPS opposition dirt outfit.

The OCCRP and BuzzFeed “joint investigation” resulted in both OCCRP and BuzzFeed publishing similar lengthy pieces on July 22 claiming that Giuliani was attempting to use connections to have Ukraine investigate Trump’s political rivals.

The so-called whistleblower’s document, however, only mentions the largely unknown OCCRP and does not reference BuzzFeed, which has faced scrutiny over its reporting on the Russia collusion claims.

Additional research by Joshua Klein

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

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