Eric Ciaramella may or may not be the whistleblower. We have to say that to avoid a lawsuit from his lawyers even if we’re 99% certain he is. Nevertheless, the chances of him every coming out or taking direct questions from Republican lawmakers are essentially zilch, so today’s report that he’s willing to accept written questions is likely the best the GOP is going to get.
Instead of fretting over it or crying foul, the GOP must take full advantage of the opportunity, limited as it may be. We cannot expect legitimate answers to the questions as they will be mulled over by a team of specialists, many of whom may or may not work for Adam Schiff. Therefore, these will not be answers so much as they’ll be political calculations.
I’m not hopeful the Republicans who submit the questions will handle it strategically. It’s not that they’re dumb, but they tend to look at things along a two-dimensional plane of legalities versus speculation instead of viewing this as an opportunity to expose the whistleblower for what he (allegedly) is.
The questions must be opportunities to either demonstrate the whistleblower is a liar or cast doubt on his motives if he tells the truth. Every question must be a trap. Republican lawmakers must understand this opportunity is more about controlling the narrative for the sake of public opinion and not do what they would habitually do, namely delving into details that will only confuse the public even if answered properly.
Here are questions Republicans should submit for answers from Eric Ciaramella, the alleged whistleblower in the Ukraine scandal who prompted the impeachment inquiry.
Have you ever been accused of leaking information from the White House?
Ciaramella was removed from White House duty in 2017 due to leaks and rumors, including the infamous “Putin fired Comey” narrative that was quickly debunked. It’s a Catch-22 question (as they all should be). If he admits to it, his credibility as a whistleblower takes a huge blow. If he lies, he’s a liar.
Did you reveal to Representative Adam Schiff your relationship to presidential candidate Joe Biden?
This is, of course, a double-edged sword as there are many ways to lie about it. He could say he didn’t tell Schiff or his staff, in which case he will look like he was withholding important information about his own credibility. If he says he did reveal his extensive relationship with Biden, it will prompt questions directed at Schiff about why he didn’t disclose this or view the complaint with due skepticism.
Did you participate in activities to oppose Donald Trump’s election in 2016?
We’d be fishing here in hopes future documentation proves he did participate in Spygate. As of now, there are only rumors and circumstantial evidence, which is why it’s likely he will not admit to it. Or, he could tell the truth and try to downplay it, at which point they will try to establish that opposition to a candidate does not prohibit whistleblowing. They would be correct. However, it would play well for the narrative that he’s been trying to take down President Trump since before he was even elected.
Have you ever spoken with Alexandra Chalupa?
Most Americans will ask, “Who?” And that’s the point. Alexandra Chalupa has been at the heart of Spygate, yet her name is only briefly mentioned by a handful of conservative media outlets. Glenn Beck did an in-depth chalkboard on the Ukrainian agent for the Democrats and we know Ciaramella was in contact with her. If he answers “No,” he’s a liar. If he answers “Yes,” it will draw the spotlight to the greater anti-Trump narrative that has been in play for over three years.
Was Ukrainian aid traded for an investigation into Burisma?
If he says it was, then he’s a fool because we already know the Burisma investigation was never reopened even though aid was given to the Ukrainians. He will answer the question by establishing that quid pro quo was implied. He may even say that aid was likely released because word reached the White House that there was a whistleblower. But that argument is easily countered. This will help Republicans open up the narrative that if quid pro quo was in play, the quid was delivered even the the quo never materialized.
Republicans MUST be strategic in their questioning. They need to throw out their standard playbook and ask questions that corner Eric Ciaramella. This is an opportunity to completely upend the entire impeachment premise. Don’t blow it.
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