Say it ain’t so!
Eric Ciaramella, the alleged Ukraine whistleblower, was a guest of Vice President Joe Biden at a glitzy 2016 lunch in October 2016 to honor the prime minister of Italy.
Biden co-hosted the banquet with former Secretary of State John Kerry for then-Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Ciaramella, who is of Italian heritage, was among the U.S. officials who accepted an invitation. This week, the Washington Examiner reported that Ciaramella is now a deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia on the National Intelligence Council, reporting to the director of national intelligence.
Ciaramella, a career CIA analyst, was Ukraine director on the National Security Council during the end of the Obama administration and remained there during the early months of the Trump administration, when he was briefly acting senior director for European and Russian affairs. He is now accused of being the official who filed a complaint about a July 25 phone call in which President Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into a conspiracy theory regarding CrowdStrike and investigate Biden, a Democratic candidate for president in 2020, in relation to his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine.
The complaint sparked concerns about potential abuse of power and led to impeachment proceedings in the Democrat-controlled House in which witnesses have said they believe Trump held out on meeting with Zelensky and congressionally-approved military aid in exchange for political favors.
Ciaramella, 33, is listed among dozens of other people who were invited to the October 2016 event hosted by Biden under the category “WH EOVP,” or the White House Executive Office of the Vice President, in an unclassified State Department document released through the Freedom of Information Act. An “A” appears next to his name, indicating he accepted the invitation.
On Oct. 6, the Washington Examiner reported the whistleblower worked with Biden during the Obama administration and is a career CIA analyst with deep expertise in Ukraine policy.
Out of over 400 possible guests for the State Department event, 115 people were listed as having accepted invitations, although key Trump-Russia investigation figures such as former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch all declined their invitations, according to the guest list. Other notable figures such as then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former House Speaker Paul Ryan, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, John and Tony Podesta, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice received invitations too.
Besides inviting Ciaramella, Biden’s office, as opposed to the State Department or another entity, sent invitations to more than thirty other people, including Obama press secretary Josh Earnest, Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Obama Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco, Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes, and Obama national security adviser Susan Rice.
RealClearInvestigations named Ciaramella as the whistleblower last week. The report cites U.S. officials who said the invite to Ciaramella, “a relatively low-level GS-13 federal employee, was unusual and signaled he was politically connected inside the Obama White House.”