The more we learn about the impeachment inquiry and the alleged whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella, who got the ball rolling, the more it appears that he was actually prompted to become a whistleblower. This delves into the realm of speculation, but it’s based on clear evidence that continues to emerge. Chances seem strong that he went to Schiff’s team with the intention of giving them information Congress could use, but was instructed to go through a process laid out for him instead.
First, let’s get one thing out of the way. I’m not insinuating that he didn’t take his story to Representative Adam Schiff’s team first. That information seems to jibe with everything we know about Ciaramella and his penchant for wanting to spread dirt about the President, a penchant that got him booted from the National Security Council. But I do not believe he intended to file a whistleblower report and was prompted to do so after some deliberation by Schiff and possibly others. Why? Because he went to Schiff’s office with information, not a report, and was “counseled” to take the information to the DNI. But the report itself was clearly produced by a team of lawyers.
Here’s how I think it went down. Ciaramella called on his former cohorts who are now working on Schiff’s staff. He told them he had a big story about the President and wanted to figure out what to do with it. Should they leak it to the press? No, the press will muddle the story and won’t have the access to get to the heart of the issue. Should Schiff just give the information to Jerry Nadler, Chair of House Oversight, to start an investigation? No, Nadler was already leading the charge in attacks on the President with limited success, and more importantly for Schiff, why should Nadler get all the glory?
He likely formulated his plan and went to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with a single plea, “Put me in, coach.” This was Schiff’s opportunity to shine on the national stage, to set his Wikipedia page in stone as the guy responsible for taking down the President. Schiff is narcissistic and bent on solidifying his legacy. This was his moment and he was going to run with it. All he needed was Pelosi’s cooperation. She gave him her blessing with the caveat that he needed to make a rock solid case BEFORE she was willing to sign off on it publicly, which meant speaking to potential witnesses up front before the story even broke. Confirm you have people to testify against the President, she likely told him, and make sure you have at least a couple of bombshells mixed in.
Schiff proceeded to convince Ciaramella that he needed to turn it all into a whistleblower complaint so it would magically reach the House Intelligence Committee, not Oversight. This is why it was so important for him to lie repeatedly about not knowing who the whistleblower was and pretend like his team knew nothing about it until it was on Schiff’s desk. It all needed to be organic. It needed to appear as if he was just minding his own business doing the day-to-day affairs of a Congressman and Committee Chair when a disturbing whistleblower report popped up on his desk. This was all about optics. Instead of an impeachment inquiry being pushed forth by the machinations of House Democrats, this gave Schiff the opportunity to say he was just following up with a complaint that came from within the executive branch itself.
But the real cherry on top, and the only thing the President actually has to worry about, was John Bolton’s exit from the White House. Immediately after his departure, it’s almost certain Schiff’s team reached out to him to lay out what they’d accumulated already and to secure his assistance. Whether Bolton offered it to them or not is still unknown, but the Democrats’ belief they may be able to get him or his staff to participate if they made a strong enough case is why Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry two weeks after Bolton resigned. If he had offered direct help, they would have pounced. The fact that they waited tells us they gave it a run and decided to pull the trigger. We’ll see if he participates as a result.
Everything that has transpired in the impeachment inquiry points to a strong likelihood Adam Schiff spun Eric Ciaramella’s tattling into an opportunity to aggrandize Adam Schiff. His narcissism is showing, and it’s an ugly look for American politics.
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