Impeachment Witness and Schiff Staffer Meeting in Ukraine Organized by Burisma-Funded Think Tank

A staffer for House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) attended a meeting in Ukraine last August with the acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine that was organized by a Burisma-funded think tank linked to the Steele dossier, investigative journalist Aaron Klein reported at Breitbart on Thursday.

The Atlantic Council is a Washington D.C.-based think tank that works in partnership with, and is partially financed by Burisma Holdings, the notoriously corrupt global energy firm connected to Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

The lucrative partnership is worth as much as $250,000 a year and has paid for “lavish conferences in Monaco,” Consortium News reported.

The Ukraine-centric think tank is also funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, Google, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc., and the U.S. State Department, according to Breitbart.

Google, Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Rockefeller Fund, and an agency of the State Department each also finance a self-described investigative journalism organization repeatedly referenced as a source of information in the so-called “whistleblower’s” complaint alleging Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 presidential race.

Both acting Ambassador Bill Taylor and Schiff’s staffer, Thomas Eager, reportedly have a close relationship with the Atlantic Council,  Breitbart reported.

Taylor has been tapped by Democrats to provide a closed-door deposition to House investigators next week as part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In the past, he has written numerous analysis pieces published on the Atlantic Council’s website and has served as a featured speaker for the organization’s events, Breitbart reported.

He also served for nine years as senior advisor to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, which has co-hosted scores of events with the Atlantic Council.

As Breitbart News reported, Thomas Eager, a staffer on Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, took a trip to Ukraine in August billed as a bipartisan “Ukraine Study Trip” in which ten Congressional staffers participated.

Eager is also currently a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Congressional Fellowship, a bipartisan program that says it “educates congressional staff on current events in the Eurasia region.” The pre-planned Ukraine trip was part of the fellowship program.

Burisma in January 2017 signed a “cooperative agreement” with the Council to specifically sponsor the organization’s Eurasia Center, the same center that sponsored Eager’s Ukraine trip.

A closer look at the itinerary for the August 24 to August 31 trip shows that the delegation’s first meeting upon arrival in Ukraine was with Taylor.

Eager’s trip to Ukraine was sponsored by the Burisma-funded Atlantic Council and began twelve days after the so-called “whistleblower” officially filed his August 12 complaint, according to Breitbart.

Taylor, who replaced ousted Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch last June, is being deposed by House Democrats to explain text messages that show him expressing concern about Trump’s requests for an investigation into potential corruption surrounding the Bidens and Burisma.

Joe Biden, who hopes to unseat President Trump in 2020, once famously boasted on camera that when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Viktor Shokin, the Ukrainian prosecutor at the center of the Ukraine controversy.

The Atlantic Council is one of the entities that pushed a narrative last month suggesting that the entire international community—not Biden—was behind the firing of Shokin.

“Everyone in the Western community wanted Shokin sacked,” Anders Aslund, an Atlantic Council senior fellow told the Wall Street Journal, last month. “The whole G-7, the IMF, the EBRD, everybody was united that Shokin must go, the spokesman for this was Joe Biden.”

However, the testimony of George Kent, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, directly contradicts the “international community” narrative, the Federalist’s Sean Davis reported on Wednesday, based on tips from congressional sources.

“Kent told lawmakers on Tuesday that the Obama administration spearheaded the efforts to have Shokin removed from his position as the top federal prosecutor in Ukraine,” Davis reported. “Kent said the international community — namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Western nations within the European Union — were deferential to U.S. directives on the matter.”

When Taylor was dispatched to Ukraine last June, the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC)—which is also linked to the Atlantic Council— authored a piece in the Kyiv Post welcoming him. Taylor is no stranger to the USUBC, having served as a senior adviser there for the last nine years.

Another senior adviser to USUBC is David J. Kramer, a long-time adviser to late Senator John McCain, who served at the McCain Institute for International Leadership as senior director for human rights and democracy. Kramer, it should be remembered, played a major role in disseminating the anti-Trump dossier, which the Atlantic Council allegedly helped cobble together. Kramer commented on Taylor’s new ambassador position in the USUBC piece.  “He’s a great choice for now,” he said.

On June 26, just nine days after arriving in Ukraine as ambassador, the USUBC already hosted Taylor for a roundtable discussion about his new position.

Vadym Pozharskyi, adviser to the board of directors at Burisma Holdings, was also previously hosted as a USUBC featured speaker.

Geysha Gonzalez, the Atlantic Council officer listed on the Congressional disclosure form for Eager’s trip to Ukraine, is also one of eleven members of the rapid response team for the Ukrainian Election Task Force, which says it is working to expose “foreign interference in Ukraine’s democracy.” Kramer is also a member of this team.

Kramer revealed in testimony that he held a meeting about the anti-Trump dossier with a reporter from BuzzFeed News, who he says snapped photos of the controversial document without Kramer’s permission when he left the room to go to the bathroom. That meeting was held at the McCain Institute office in Washington, Kramer stated.

BuzzFeed infamously published the Christopher Steele dossier on January 10, 2017, setting off a firestorm of news media coverage about the document.

Schiff and his office have offered seemingly conflicting statements on the timeline of the California Congressman’s initial contact with the so-called “whistleblower.”

Speaking on September 17, Schiff told MSNBC, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”
Schiff’s spokesperson, Patrick Boland, was quoted on October 2 saying, “At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance.” Boland said Schiff’s committee received the complaint the night before it publicly released the document.

On Oct 2, however, the New York Times reported that Schiff received some of the contents of the complaint through an unnamed House Intelligence Committee aide initially contacted by the so-called “whistleblower,” described as a CIA officer.

The Times reported the aide “shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff.”  The referenced officer refers to the so-called “whistleblower.”

The newspaper also reported:

By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained

Speaking to CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Schiff conceded that he was not clear enough about his contact with the so-called “whistleblower.”

“I should have been much more clear,” Schiff said.

Schiff signed a post-travel disclosure form documenting the visit to Ukraine and it was filed, as required, with the House Committee on Ethics.

The form signed by Schiff says that Eager’s trip to Ukraine was paid for by the “Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.”

The form bearing Schiff’s signature (above) describes the visit thusly:

Series of meetings and visits with gov’t officials, party officials, civil society and private sector reps in Ukraine to learn about ongoing political and military issues, including conflict in the East.

The costs for Eager’s visit listed on the form are $2202.91 for transportation, $985.50 for lodging, and $630.15 for meal expenses.

Speaking to Breitbart News, Gonzalez confirmed that Eager started his one-year fellowship with the organization in January and that Eager is still a fellow.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) released a report in July that appears to be the precursor for a lot of the so-called “whistleblower’s” own claims, Breitbart News has documented.

The so-called “whistleblower” claimed that “multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelensky advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov.”

Giuliani was supposedly following up on Trump’s call with Zelensky, according to the anti-Trump complainant’s narrative, in an attempt to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Biden corruption allegations.

Even though the statement was written in first person –  “multiple U.S. officials told me” – it contains a footnote referencing a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

That footnote reads:

In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019 and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelensky adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.

The complainant’s account went on to rely upon that same OCCRP report in three other ways, according to Breitbart.

  • Write that Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko “also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters.”
  • Document that Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani “had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani.”
  • Bolster the charge that, “I also learned from a U.S. official that ‘associates’ of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team.” The so-called “whistleblower” then relates in another footnote, “I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.”

The OCCRP report repeatedly referenced by the whistleblower turns out to be a “joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and BuzzFeed News, based on interviews and court and business records in the United States and Ukraine.”

BuzzFeed was also on the ground floor of the Russia hoax, infamously publishing the “salacious and unverified” anti-Trump dossier alleging collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia in January of 2017.  The dossier, we later learned, was the product of a DNC/Clinton Campaign opposition-research effort to defeat Trump.

The OCCRP and BuzzFeed both published similar lengthy pieces on July 22 claiming that Giuliani was attempting to use his connections to pressure Ukraine into investigating Trump’s political rivals.

The “whistleblower’s” complaint, however, only mentions the largely unknown OCCRP, Breitbart notes, and ignores BuzzFeed, which has faced major criticism over its reporting on the Russia hoax.

About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor.

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