Photo of Obama shaking hands with Eric Ciaramella emerges

Photo of Obama shaking hands with Eric Ciaramella emerges

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A newly surfaced photo of the alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella shows him shaking hands with former President Obama in the White House.

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The photo was obtained by the Washington Examiner and taken one year after Ciaramella left the Trump administration. It was found on a website for the wedding of one of Ciaramella's close friends, Mat Calabro. The two knew each other from high school, have traveled through Central and Eastern Europe together in 2005, and Ciaramella was Calabro's best man at the wedding.

Fueling partisanship: The photo has reportedly been making the rounds among the president's allies who view it as proof that the whistleblower, whose complaint sparked an impeachment inquiry, is biased against the president.

“This picture raises serious questions about how this sham impeachment process started. It’s no surprise that Schiff has now changed his story about letting the falsely labeled whistleblower testify," said a senior Trump official.

"This photo confirms that career intelligence and foreign service officials serving at the highest ranks of the Trump White House have their own agenda and their own policy viewpoints," said one Republican close to the White House.

Hey .... visit CNN sometime and ask yourself, “Would this be any different if it were produced by the Democratic party?” #DontTrustTheMedia

Background: Last month, Real Clear Investigations reported it was likely Eric Ciaramella who alleged that President Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski to investigate political rival Joe Biden, based on secondhand information. That complaint later turned into impeachment proceedings.

Ciaramella is a deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia on the National Intelligence Council. He formerly served as CIA official and as NSC's Ukraine director, a post currently held by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman who testified in the public impeachment hearings yesterday. Ciaramella worked under both the Obama and the Trump administration and has raised questions about his ties to Obama-era officials.

A friend in Schiff's cabinet: Ciaramella was a friend of one of Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-CA) aides, Sean Misko, while he worked in the White House. Schiff initially said he was unaware of the whistleblower's complaint but it was later revealed that the whistleblower spoke to one of his staff before filing it.

He was also criticized for opposing the president on social media before he left the White House. Misko, too, wasn't a fan of the president, a former official told the Washington Examiner.

Ciaramella's name has triggered plenty of controversy from the media and Congress. House Democrats refuse to disclose the whistleblower's identity and the mainstream media and Facebook do as well.

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