Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) and other Republican senators asked lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff (D-CA) during the Senate impeachment trial Thursday why his committee hired Sean Misko, a former National Security Council staffer who was reportedly close to the alleged whistleblower, a day after the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Chief Justice John Roberts said, reading the question submitted by Johnson and others:
Recent reporting described two NSC staff holdovers from the Obama administration attending an all-hands meeting of NSC staff held about two weeks into the Trump administration and talking loudly enough to be overheard, saying, ‘We need to do everything we can to take out the president.
On July 26, 2019, the House Intelligence Committee hired one of those individuals, Sean Misko. The report further describes relationships between Misko, Lt. Col. Vindman, and an individual alleged as the whistleblower. Why did your committee hire Sean Misko the day after the phone call between President Trump and Zelensky, and what role has he played throughout your committee’s investigation?
Schiff refused to answer any part of the question, claiming it was an attempt to smear his staff and out the whistleblower — whose identity he also claims he does not know.
Schiff did say:
First of all, there have been a lot of attacks on my staff, and as I said when this issue came up earlier, I’m appalled at some of the smearing of some of the professional people that work for the intelligence committee.
Now this question refers to allegations in a newspaper article which are circulating smears on my staff and ask me to respond to those smears and I will not dignify those smears on my staff by giving them any credence whatsoever. Nor will I share any information that I believe could or could not lead to the identification of the whistleblower.
He said it was “disgraceful” that the article was being used to “smear” his staff. He again claimed he did not know who the “whistleblower” was, and added, “It should be every one of us.”
Question asked about former NSC staff Sean Misko saying to the alleged Whistleblower “We need to do everything we can to take out the President” at an NSC meeting.
“Why did your committee hire Sean Misko the day after the phone call between President Trump and Zelensky?” pic.twitter.com/46F3N6FcwH
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 30, 2020
Johnson’s question referred to a recent RealClearInvestigations report in which Misko and the alleged whistleblower, CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, were overheard expressing anger over Trump’s new “America First” foreign policy.
According to the report, two former co-workers said they overheard Ciaramella and Misko, close friends and Democrats, discussing how to “take out,” or remove, the new president from office within days of Trump’s inauguration.