Ambassador Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs who is set to testify to the Democrats secretive impeachment inquiry this weekend, cancelled a speaking gig earlier this week at the Atlantic Council think tank.
The Atlantic Council is funded by and works in partnership with Burisma, the natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
The Atlantic Council has been coming under the microscope for its ties to other individuals associated with the controversial inquiry being led by Rep. Adam Schiff.
Now it has emerged that Reeker’s participation was nixed for a previously advertised Atlantic Council event in D.C. two days ago titled, “Revitalizing NATO’s Southern Strategy for an Era of Great Power Competition.”
RSVP here: https://t.co/gn3I0nSGlC
— Atlantic Council (@AtlanticCouncil) October 19, 2019
Reeker’s name was removed from an event promotion on the Atlantic Council’s website.
The event took place as scheduled on Tuesday but without Reeker.
“The Atlantic Council was informed late last week that Acting Assistant Secretary Philip Reeker would be unable to participate in our event on October 22 due to scheduling conflicts,” Alex Kisling, the Atlantic Council’s deputy director for media relations, told Breitbart News.
“Mr. Reeker was just one of several scheduled speakers, and the event went forward with an important focus on international security issues,” Kisling said.
The cancellation in part prompted a letter to Reeker from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) the top-ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, asking for an explanation as to why Reeker’s name was removed as a panelist for the Atlantic Council event.
In his letter, which was obtained by Breitbart News, Jordan noted that the Atlantic Council is financed by Burisma.
Jordan also highlighted a New York Times article that reported details about Biden’s involvement in Burisma showed “Hunter Biden and his American business partners were part of a broad effort by Burisma to bring in well-connected Democrats during a period when the company was facing investigations backed not just by domestic Ukrainian forces but by officials in the Obama administration.”
Jordan asked Reeker why he rescheduled his impeachment testimony to the weekend, noting that less House members would be able to attend. Jordan asked the diplomat to reschedule for a weekday when more House members could be there.
Jordan explained he wrote directly to Reeker because the lawmaker had “no confidence” that Schiff is “operating fairly or in good faith.”
This is not the first time Reeker was invited to speak at an Atlantic Council event.
On July 17, he was a panelist at an Atlantic Council flagship conference titled “The United States and Central Europe: Celebrating Europe Whole and Free.”
Reeker also spoke at a September conference organized by the McCain Institute and the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC).
Others associated with Schiff or his impeachment inquiry have evidenced ties to the Burisma-financed Atlantic Council.
Yesterday, Breitbart News first reported that acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, who provided key testimony to the Democrats’ controversial impeachment inquiry, has evidenced a close relationship with the Atlantic Council think tank, even writing Ukraine policy pieces with the organization’s director and analysis articles published by the Council.
In addition to a direct relationship with the Atlantic Council, Taylor for the last nine years also served as a senior adviser to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), which has co-hosted events with the Atlantic Council and has participated in events co-hosted jointly by the Atlantic Council and Burisma.
Another senior adviser to the USUBC is David J. Kramer, a long-time adviser to late Senator John McCain and employee at the McCain Institute. Kramer played a central role in disseminating the anti-Trump dossier to the news media and Obama administration. Taylor participated in events and initiatives organized by Kramer.
The links may be particularly instructive after Breitbart News reported that itinerary for a trip to Ukraine in August organized by the Atlantic Council for ten Congressional aides reveals that a staffer on Schiff’s House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held a meeting during the trip with Taylor. The pre-planned trip took place after the so-called whistleblower officially filed his August 12 complaint and reportedly after a Schiff aide was contacted by the so-called whistleblower.
Thomas Eager, a staffer on Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, took the trip in question to Ukraine in August billed as a bipartisan “Ukraine Study Trip” in which ten Congressional staffers participated.
Eager is also currently a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Congressional Fellowship, a bipartisan program that says it “educates congressional staff on current events in the Eurasia region.” The pre-planned Ukraine trip was part of the fellowship program.
A closer look at the itinerary for the August 24 to August 31 trip shows that the delegation’s first meeting upon arrival in Ukraine was with Taylor.
Spokespeople for Schiff’s office did not reply to multiple Breitbart News requests for comment on Eager’s meeting with Taylor.
When Breitbart News first reported on Eager’s visit to Ukraine, Schiff’s office quickly replied to several comment requests, denying any impropriety related to Eager’s association with the Atlantic Council or the trip.
The unanswered Breitbart email requests to Schiff’s office about Taylor’s meeting with Eager posed the following question:
While in Ukraine, did Mr. Eager speak to Mr. Taylor about the issue of reports about any representatives of President Trump looking into alleged Biden corruption in Ukraine?
The dates of the pre-planned trip are instructive. Eager’s visit to Ukraine sponsored by the Burisma-funded Atlantic Council began 12 days after the so-called whistleblower officially filed his August 12 complaint.
Schiff and his office have offered seemingly conflicting statements on the timeline of the California Congressman’s initial contact with the so-called whistleblower.
Speaking on September 17, Schiff told MSNBC, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”
Schiff’s spokesperson, Patrick Boland, was quoted on October 2 saying, “At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance.” Boland said Schiff’s committee received the complaint the night before it publicly released the document.
On October 2, however, the New York Times reported that Schiff received some of the contents of the complaint through an unnamed House Intelligence Committee aide initially contacted by the so-called whistleblower, described as a CIA officer.
The Times reported the aide “shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff.” The referenced officer refers to the so-called whistleblower.
The newspaper also reported:
By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained.
Speaking to CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Schiff conceded that he was not clear enough about his contact with the so-called whistleblower.
“I should have been much more clear,” Schiff said.
Burisma is a key financial backer of the Atlantic Council. In 2017, Burisma and the Atlantic Council signed a cooperative agreement to develop transatlantic programs with Burisma’s financial support reportedly to focus “on European and international energy security.” Burisma specifically finances the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, which sent the Schiff staffer to Ukraine.
Besides funding the Atlantic Council, Burisma also routinely partners with the think tank. Only four months ago, the company co-hosted the Atlantic Council’s second Annual Kharkiv Security Conference. Burisma advertises that it committed itself to “15 key principles of rule of law and economic policy in Ukraine developed by the Atlantic Council.”
Common funding themes
Besides Burisma funding, the Atlantic Council is also financed by billionaire activist George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, Google, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc., and the U.S. State Department.
Google, Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Rockefeller Fund, and an agency of the State Department each also finance a self-described investigative journalism organization repeatedly referenced as a source of information in the so-called whistleblower’s complaint alleging Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 presidential race.
The charges in the July 22 report referenced in the so-called whistleblower’s document and released by the Google and Soros-funded organization, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), seem to be the public precursors for a lot of the so-called whistleblower’s own claims, as Breitbart News documented.
One key section of the so-called whistleblower’s document claims that “multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelensky advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov.”
This was allegedly to follow up on Trump’s call with Zelensky in order to discuss the “cases” mentioned in that call, according to the so-called whistleblower’s narrative. The complainer was clearly referencing Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate the Biden corruption allegations.
Even though the statement was written in first person – “multiple U.S. officials told me” – it contains a footnote referencing a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
That footnote reads:
In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019 and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelensky adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.
The so-called whistleblower’s account goes on to rely upon that same OCCRP report on three more occasions. It does so to:
- Write that Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko “also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters.”
- Document that Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani “had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani.”
- Bolster the charge that, “I also learned from a U.S. official that ‘associates’ of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team.” The so-called whistleblower then relates in another footnote, “I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.”
The OCCRP report repeatedly referenced is actually a “joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and BuzzFeed News, based on interviews and court and business records in the United States and Ukraine.”
BuzzFeed infamously also first published the full anti-Trump dossier alleging unsubstantiated collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. The dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and was produced by the Fusion GPS opposition dirt outfit.
The OCCRP and BuzzFeed “joint investigation” resulted in both OCCRP and BuzzFeed publishing similar lengthy pieces on July 22 claiming that Giuliani was attempting to use connections to have Ukraine investigate Trump’s political rivals.
The so-called whistleblower’s document, however, only mentions the largely unknown OCCRP and does not reference BuzzFeed, which has faced scrutiny over its reporting on the Russia collusion claims.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.