Trump’s ‘Ukraine Whisperer’: Kash Patel Sues Politico for Accusing Him of Briefing Former President With Lies About Ukraine
- The Indian American’s lawsuit states that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had “an axe to grind against him and his boss.
Donald Trump’s loyal aide Kash Patel has filed a $23 million defamation action against Politico “for falsely claiming he misrepresented himself as a Ukraine expert and fed lies” to the former president about the country, the New York Post has reported. The lawsuit, filed in Henrico County Circuit Court in Virginia, states that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was “a wholly unreliable source, a congenital liar and inveterate leaker [and] a demagogue with an axe to grind against President Trump [and] Kash,” the Post said.
Additionally, the suit alleges that “Politico knew that Schiff, Hill and Vindman, former NSC officials-turned-star impeachment witnesses, helped push Schiff’s lie that Patel was Trump’s ‘Ukraine whisperer,’” the Post said. Also named in the lawsuit are Schiff’s staff, Rep. Eric Swalwell, his “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella, Hill’s boss, former national security adviser John Bolton, and the author of the Politico article, Natasha Bertrand.
Patel, a former Pentagon official and longtime House Intelligence Committee aide, told the Post that “victory here is not the end result.” He said the lawsuit aimed “to expose the fraudulent reporting by so many in the mainstream media and the only way to do that is expose their corrupt sources and that is what the judge has granted us permission to do.” He told the daily that “he doesn’t care about the money. But everything we receive in discovery will be made public.”
In 2019, Patel, then a special assistant to Trump, was identified in several news reports as being part of a back channel to the president on Ukraine. “A 300-page impeachment report released by House Intelligence Committee Democrats in December 2019 said that Patel spoke with Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, in the spring, before nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine was suspended,” as reported by CBS News.
However, in an interview with the news channel, he denied the Giuliani call touched on Ukraine. “That was a personal conversation. I was delighted to have with the mayor of New York, where I grew up,” he told CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge. Challenging the Democrats’ report, he said “if they had any actual information as to the substance of those calls, then they would’ve put it in there.”
This is not the first time Patel has sued a publication. In 2019 he sued The New York Times, claiming the newspaper falsely accused him of being a White House back channel to Ukraine. Patel is seeking $44.9 million in damages, in the defamation suit filed in November in state court in Fairfax, Virginia. “On October 23, 2019, in an article published online and tweeted to millions, (Adam) Goldman (the reporter) and the Times, directly and by implication, falsely accused Kash Patel of lying, deceit, federal crimes, and illegal, conniving and unethical conduct,” the suit claimed.
A look at the Indian American’s steady rise in the Trump administration shows how he came about from being a mere staffer to an insider. It is also increasingly evident that Trump’s dependence on Patel has increased since the Jan. 6 insurrection, and his election lies and now the transfer gate. Currently, he is a director of Trump Media and Technology Group, which runs Truth Social, headed by David Nunes, his former boss. As a top staffer for then Rep. Nunes on the House Intelligence Committee, Patel was the lead author of a report questioning the conduct of FBI and DOJ officials investigating Russia’s election interference.
His emergence as a key figure in ‘TransferGate’ has made him a fixture in Trump’s post-presidential affairs. In an April 2021 profile in The Washington Post, columnist David Ignatius described Patel as an “almost a ‘Zelig’ figure in Trump’s campaign against the deep state.” He keeps “reappearing in different guises,” Ignatius said about Patel on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Aug. 23.
As Ignatius noted on MSNBC, in the last few months, “Patel has emerged as a key point of contact for Trump dealing with this question of classified documents being kept at Mar-a-Lago.” As early as May, “months before the subpoenas or reach warrants,” Ignatius noted how Patel was “publicly making claims that Trump had unilateral right to declassify material as president.”
In 2019 he sued The New York Times, – What happened to that?
Patel told the Post that “victory here is not the end result.” Does it mean he does not expect victory?