FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show The Ukraine Whistleblower ‘Standing With The Obama Administration’ The Day After Trump’s 2016 Election?
An image shared on Facebook more than 5,500 times allegedly shows the Ukraine whistleblower “standing with the Obama administration” on Nov. 9, 2016.
The man circled in the photo is R. David Edelman. He has not worked for the government since early 2017.
The House voted to impeach President Donald Trump on counts of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress Dec. 18. It comes months after a member of the intelligence community filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
A viral Facebook post falsely alleged that a bespectacled man circled in the photo, taken by Getty photographer Nicholas Kamm on Nov. 9, 2016, is the Ukraine whistleblower. It has been shared more than 5,500 times. (RELATED: Do These Viral Photos Show The Stanford Law Professor Who Testified At The Impeachment Hearings?)
“Here is the whistleblower standing with the Obama administration the day after Trump won the election,” reads the Facebook caption.
However, the man pictured is actually Edelman, a former White House staffer who has worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since March 2017. He previously worked as the special assistant to the president for economic and technology policy in the Obama administration.
Edelman debunked a similar claim on Twitter Nov. 7.
FAKE NEWS: the ‘NERD’ circled below is the whistleblower.
TRUE (just not news): the ‘NERD’ circled below is…this nerd. Me.
Left government in 2017. Sorry to disappoint, y’all. pic.twitter.com/LEGSpgrBGJ
— R. David Edelman (@R_D) November 7, 2019
“FAKE NEWS: the ‘NERD’ circled below is the whistleblower,” he tweeted. “TRUE (just not news): the ‘NERD’ circled below is… this nerd. Me. Left the government in 2017. Sorry to disappoint, y’all.”
The call between Trump and the Ukrainian president occurred on July 25 of this year, so it is impossible for Edelman to have had anything to do with the whistleblower complaint. He left his government job in January 2017, according to FactCheck.org.