President Trump on Thursday retweeted a Trump campaign tweet that contained a link to an article that named the alleged Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “whistleblower,” whose complaint catalyzed House Democrats’ drive towards impeachment.
The tweet, by @TrumpWarRoom, was in response to the “whistleblower’s” lawyer Mark Zaid, who said senators should “protect #whistleblowers, not attack them.”
The Trump campaign account responded, “The CIA ‘whistleblower’ is not a real whistleblower!” and posted a link to a Washington Examiner article, which named the alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff hired a former National Security Council aide who worked with alleged Ukraine whistleblower Eric Ciaramella at the NSC during the Obama and Trump administrations the day after the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
— FOLLOW Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) December 26, 2019
Ciaramella is a 33-year-old CIA analyst who works on Ukraine and Russia. He previously served at the National Security Council during the Obama administration, when former Vice President Joe Biden was the point person for Ukraine.
Lawyers for the “whistleblower” have refused to confirm or deny that it is Ciaramella.
The New York Times and Washington Post first reported that the “whistleblower” is a relatively junior CIA analyst. CNN reported that he was a Democrat.
During the public impeachment inquiry hearings, Democrat lawmakers refused to let any witnesses identify who they spoke with about Ukraine in the intelligence community, citing potential reprisals if he is identified.
A recent Washington Post article said the “whistleblower” continues to work on issues related to Russia and Ukraine, but when “threats against him spike — often seemingly spurred by presidential tweets” he is driven to and from work by armed security officers.
Sources have told Breitbart News that Ciaramella continues to attend NSC meetings.
Some Republican senators have said they want the whistleblower to testify in any upcoming impeachment trial.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) had first said the “whistleblower” would testify during the impeachment inquiry, but then withdrew that offer, citing potential retaliation. The Times reported that the “whistleblower” came to Schiff’s committee before filing his complaint, and that a Schiff aide instructed the “whistleblower” to seek legal representation and to file the complaint with the intelligence community inspector general.
House Republicans have called for Schiff to testify in lieu of the “whistleblower.”
The “whistleblower’s” complaint on August 12, 2019, appeared to jump start a Democrat effort to impeach Trump. The whistleblower claimed that Trump, during a July 25 phone call, tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Biden, a political rival.
Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company named Burisma, reportedly receiving as much as $83,000 a month, while his father was the point person on Ukraine. Ukrainian prosecutors had opened an investigation into Burisma’s CEO, but the investigation was later shelved. Biden’s allies have denied that Biden’s calling for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor general had anything to do with the investigation and his son’s work.
The White House released the transcript of the July 25 phone call in September, and the president has called the phone call “perfect.” During the call, Trump asked Zelensky to help Attorney General William Barr in the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into the origins of the Russia collusion hoax, as well as about an ongoing investigation into Burisma.