CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, alleged to be the whistleblower whose complaint launched an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's actions toward Ukraine, was friends with a current member of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's staff while they were both working in the White House during the Obama administration, according to the Washington Examiner.
A former National Security Council official told the Examiner that Ciaramella was close friends with Sean Misko, who was the director for the Gulf States at the National Security Council from 2015 to 2018. Ciaramella was on the National Security Council as Ukraine director from 2016 until 2017.
"My understanding was that they were friendly with one another," the former official told the Examiner, also saying the two were "cut from the same cloth" and had a "bro-like" friendship. "They would walk around the halls. Get lunch together and stuff like that," the source said.
Potential connections between the whistleblower and Schiff or his staff are significant in the context of Schiff's inconsistent stances regarding the whistleblower.
Schiff maintains that he doesn't know who the whistleblower is. But his credibility on the matter is in question because he initially claimed "we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower" before the complaint, before later clarifying the important detail that the whistleblower met with his staff.
Schiff also went on record numerous times saying the whistleblower should and would testify in the impeachment inquiry, before abruptly pivoting to a stance in which he does not even allow questions to be asked of witnesses that could point in the direction of the whistleblower's identity.
The whistleblower complaint has framed the narrative surrounding President Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky. The complaint alleged Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election," which is the interpretation accepted by Democrats about the call, although the transcript of the call does not make such an interpretation quite as clear.