How Did the Alleged Ukraine Call Whistleblower End Up in the Mueller Report?
Eric Ciamarella, the CIA analyst identified as the likely whistleblower behind the Democrats' partisan impeachment inquiry, was cited in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on nonexistent collusion between Donald Trump and Russia. In fact, the Mueller report cites Ciaramella's May 2017 email summaries of a meeting between Trump and Russian officials — summaries leaked to a New York Times reporter. After citing Ciaramella's emails, the report quotes the Times story.
The Democrats launched their impeachment inquiry based in part on the report of an anonymous whistleblower who warned about a July 25, 2019, phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine. Democrats emphasized the whistleblower even after Trump released a transcript of the call.
While Trump and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have called for the unmasking of the whistleblower, Democrats have insisted that anonymity is vital for his protection. Some details have leaked, however: the whistleblower is reportedly a former and current CIA analyst with connections to former Vice President Joe Biden. RealClearInvestigations' Paul Sperry did some sleuthing and claimed to have identified the whistleblower as Ciaramella. Ciaramella was Biden's guest at a State Department banquet in October 2016.
The whistleblower also met with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) before filing his report. His lawyer, Mark Zaid, celebrated a "coup" against Trump and predicted his impeachment in 2017.
As The Washington Examiner's Jerry Dunleavy reported, Ciaramella appears in a footnote on Page 71 of Mueller's 448-page report. Mueller cited two emails from Ciaramella to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly and other administration officials describing the details of a meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Trump met with them the day after he fired FBI Director James Comey.
"The meeting had been planned on May 2, 2017, during a telephone call between the President and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the meeting date was confirmed on May 5, 2017, the same day the President dictated ideas for the Comey termination letter to [Trump aide] Stephen Miller," the Mueller report reads, citing Ciaramella's emails in a footnote.
The Mueller report went on to quote from a New York Times article published on May 19, 2017. That article cited an "American official" who leaked to reporters a "document summarizing the meeting."
"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," the article quoted Trump as saying. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off … I’m not under investigation."
Then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein justified Comey's firing by criticizing his handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails, but Trump later suggested he had fired Comey due to the Trump-Russia investigation. After Comey's firing, he leaked information from some of his memos to the media in order to prompt the appointment of a special counsel.
The Mueller report noted that "the White House did not dispute the account" of the meeting with Russian officials, but released a statement defending Trump's firing of Comey.
"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia," then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at the time. "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations."
If Ciaramella is the whistleblower behind the partisan impeachment inquiry, it stands to reason he may have leaked his emails to the media.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.