Just two weeks into Donald J. Trump’s presidency, Eric Ciaramella—the CIA operative widely believed to be the anti-Trump “whistleblower”— was overheard discussing with another White House staffer the need to remove the president from office, Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations reported on Wednesday.
Ciaramella was at the time on loan to the White House as a top Ukrainian analyst in the National Security Council (NSC). He had previously served as an adviser on Ukraine to then-Vice President Biden.
“Just days after he was sworn in they were already talking about trying to get rid of him,” a White House colleague who overheard their conversation told RCI. “They weren’t just bent on subverting his agenda,” the former official added. “They were plotting to actually have him removed from office.”
According to RCI’s sources, Ciaramella made the anti-Trump remarks to Sean Misko, another Obama administration holdover who was working at the NSC as an analyst in the Trump White House. Previously, he had assisted Biden’s top national security aide Jake Sullivan. It is no wonder then, that the two leapt to attention when they heard that Trump’s wanted to have the Bidens’ corruption in Ukraine investigated.
Misko went on to join House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s staff where he reportedly offered “guidance” to the “whistleblower” (widely believed to be Ciaramella) about how to handle the complaint (which sparked the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry). After coordinating with the so-called whistleblower (Ciaramella), Misko became a top investigator in the Dems’ impeachment inquiry.
The complaint alleges that Trump demanded Ukraine’s newly elected president investigate Joe Biden and his son “to help the president’s 2020 reelection bid.” The telephone transcript shows that Trump was concerned about Ukraine’s 2016 election meddling and the Biden corruption and asked for an investigation. The claim that the request was intended “to help the president’s 2020 reelection bid” is completely unfounded.
Ciaramella and Misko, who are apparently good friends, were overheard talking about the need to “take out” Trump right after a staff-wide NSC meeting called by then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn that took place in the south auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex. The meeting was attended by hundreds of NSC employees, according to sources.
The two were apparently triggered by Flynn’s talk about Trump’s new “America First” foreign policy, which was antithetical to President Obama’s approach to international affairs. And according to sources, they spoke openly about their opposition to the president and the need to “take him out.”
“They were popping off about how they were going to remove Trump from office. No joke,” an ex-colleague told Sperry.
A military staffer detailed to the NSC, who was seated directly in front of Ciaramella and Misko during the meeting, confirmed hearing them talk about toppling Trump during their private conversation, which the source said lasted about one minute. The crowd was preparing to get up to leave the room at the time.
“After Flynn briefed [the staff] about what ‘America first’ foreign policy means, Ciaramella turned to Misko and commented, ‘We need to take him out,’ ” the staffer recalled. “And Misko replied, ‘Yeah, we need to do everything we can to take out the president.’ “
Added the military detailee, who spoke on condition of anonymity: “By ‘taking him out,’ they meant removing him from office by any means necessary. They were triggered by Trump’s and Flynn’s vision for the world. This was the first ‘all hands’ [staff meeting] where they got to see Trump’s national security team, and they were huffing and puffing throughout the briefing any time Flynn said something they didn’t like about ‘America First.’ ”
He said he also overheard Ciaramella telling Misko, referring to Trump, ‘We can’t let him enact this foreign policy.’ “
Alarmed by what he had witnessed, the military staffer immediately reported their troubling behavior to his superiors, according to RCP.
“It was so shocking that they were so blatant and outspoken about their opinion,” he recalled. “They weren’t shouting it, but they didn’t seem to feel the need to hide it.”
At the time, the other co-workers were not terribly concerned about the incident. “We just thought they were wacky,” the first source said. “Little did we know.”
Clearly, the co-workers should have taken it a little more seriously because both Ciaramella and Misko went on to allegedly leak negative information about Trump to the media.
Then, Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky this past summer provided them with a pretext to “take him out.”
Ukraine-born Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an anti-Trump ally of the pair in the National Security Council, was able to listen in on Trump’s July 25 conversation. Vindman, who held Ciaramella’s old position at the NSC as director for Ukraine, promptly leaked what he’d heard to Ciaramella by phone that afternoon, according to the sources.
Vindman reportedly described Trump’s call as “crazy,” and speculated he had “committed a criminal act.”
NSC co-workers said that Vindman, like Ciaramella, openly expressed his disdain for Trump whose foreign policy was often at odds with the recommendations of “the interagency” — a network of agency working groups comprised of intelligence bureaucrats, experts and diplomats who regularly meet to craft and coordinate policy positions inside the federal government.
As American Greatness exclusively reported last November, Army Lt. Col. Jim Hickman had to reprimand Vindman several years ago when they were both stationed in Germany after Vindman badmouthed and ridiculed America in front of Russian soldiers.
Hickman said that Vindman, then a major, “was apologetic of American culture, laughed about Americans not being educated or worldly and really talked up Obama and globalism to the point of [It being] uncomfortable.”
He told American Greatness that he decided to come forward during the Democrats’ Impeachment Inquiry because Vindman had “disobeyed a direct order from the Commander-in-Chief, his boss,” made his testimony “about his foreign policy opinions versus facts,” and “wore his Army service uniform to make a political statement” against the president.
“Vindman was a partisan Democrat at least as far back as 2012,” Hickman, now retired, asserted. “Do not let the uniform fool you. He is a political activist in uniform.”
Another Obama alum who is thought to be part of the impeachment plot against Trump is Abby Grace, who worked closely with Ciaramella at the NSC, both before and after Trump was elected.
During the Obama administration, Grace was an assistant to Obama national security aide Ben Rhodes.
Last February, Schiff recruited this other White House friend of the whistleblower to work as an impeachment investigator. Grace is listed alongside Sean Misko as senior staffers in the House Intelligence Committee’s “The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report” published last month.
Make no mistake. Although Democrats have tried mightily to convince America that their (fourth) impeachment effort developed spontaneously out of the patriotism of a career civil servant, the truth is, anti-Trump operatives in the president’s own NSC were already plotting to remove the president from office two weeks into his term. All they needed was a pretext to get the ball rolling. The Ukraine phone call in July 2019 provided the pretext they and their Democratic allies in the House had been waiting for.
As a former White House official told Sperry: “They had a political vendetta against him from Day One.”