Rheanne Wirkkala – recently tapped by President Joe Biden to advise Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin – appears to have been duped by a prank phone call offering compromising material on Donald Trump while working for her prior boss, Congressman Adam Schiff.
Wirkkala, who is awaiting Senate confirmation for the role of Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the Pentagon, currently serves as the Special Assistant for Strategy to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. “In that role, Wirkkala helps drive Secretary Austin’s national defense priorities, and is responsible for long-term strategic planning for the Secretary of Defense,” explains the White House.
Despite Wirkkala’s influential role in America’s military planning, the former top aide to Congressman Schiff appears to have fallen for a prank carried out by Russian comedians who offered to give the California congressman’s ‘compromising’ dirt on Donald Trump.
Amongst the items offered by pranksters posing as the chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament were nude photos of President Trump and a Russian reality show star. Schiff appeared to be taking notes on the conversation and repeatedly inquired about spellings of names and documentation he could send to the FBI.
“I’ll be in touch with the FBI about this. And we’ll make arrangements with your staff. I think it probably would be best to provide these materials both to our committee and to the FBI,” said Schiff during the conversation.
Despite Schiff’s office claiming they knew the call was “bogus,” a recording published by the Daily Mail showed the Democrat appearing to take the eight-minute call seriously.
The outlet also revealed correspondence between Schiff’s office – via Wirkkala – and the Russian comedians, nicknamed ‘Vovan’ and ‘Lexus’. The pair are notorious for their prank calls to high-ranking American officials and celebrities.
E-mails provided to the Daily Mail show Wirkkala praising the call as “productive” as well as attempting to arrange a “pick up” of “materials.”
“I understand Mr. Schiff had a productive call with Mr. Parubiy, and that Mr. Parubiy would like to make some material available to Mr. Schiff through your embassy,” wrote Wirkkala to the pranksters, according to the April 4, 2017 email.
She inquired in a separate email the following day: “do you know when we might be able to meet your colleagues at the Ukrainian embassy here in Washington, DC to pick up materials?”
Wirkkala is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Truman National Security Project Security Fellow, the latter being a pro-war, left-wing foreign policy think-tank which once boasted of both Hunter Biden and Ron Klain on its board.