Republican Representative Doug Collins is calling out Rep. Adam Schiff and challenging him to appear before the House Judiciary Committee and testify about his relationship with the whistleblower.
Collins stood in front of reporters and told Schiff that if he wants to be a “special counsel” then now’s his chance.
“If you want to be Ken Starr, then be Ken Starr,” said Collins. “Come to the Judiciary Committee. Be the first witness and take every question asked of you. Starting with your own involvement with the whistleblower.”
The challenge was met with applause from GOP colleagues.
“Folks, this ain’t over. Get ready,” continued Collins. “The cloud that is dropping will be dropping on their heads, because process matters and substance will always win out in the end.”
“This president has nothing to worry about on substance,” he concluded.
Earlier today, my colleague Elizabeth Vaughan discussed that the identity of the whistleblower may be 33-year-old CIA analyst, Eric Ciaramella.
Vaughan notes that, per Real Clear Investigations, Ciaramella fits the bill for the whistleblower:
Former White House officials said Ciaramella worked on Ukrainian policy issues for Biden in 2015 and 2016, when the vice president was President Obama’s “point man” for Ukraine. A Yale graduate, Ciaramella is said to speak Russian and Ukrainian, as well as Arabic. He had been assigned to the NSC by Brennan…He was held over into the Trump administration, and headed the Ukraine desk at the NSC, eventually transitioning into the West Wing, until June 2017.
“He was moved over to the front office” to temporarily fill a vacancy, said a former White House official, where he “saw everything, read everything.”…The official added that it soon became clear among NSC staff that Ciaramella opposed the new Republican president’s foreign policies. “My recollection of Eric is that he was very smart and very passionate, particularly about Ukraine and Russia. That was his thing – Ukraine,” he said. “He didn’t exactly hide his passion with respect to what he thought was the right thing to do with Ukraine and Russia, and his views were at odds with the president’s policies.”
As it turns out, Ciaramella seems to have had it out for Trump and would fit the bill. Approaching Schiff with information to give fuel to an impeachment process before 2020 doesn’t seem that far out of the realm of likelihood.
If that’s the case, then the Judiciary Committee will have an interesting line of questioning for Schiff, and how he came into contact with Ciaramella.
That is, if Schiff accepts Collins’ challenge.