Earlier today, there were some strange winds blowing on Twitter. Namely rumors that a mysterious GOP operative had been approaching women who worked with Robert Mueller and offering them large sums of money to falsely accuse him of sexual misconduct of some kind.
The hoax was that a woman who had worked with Mueller decades ago had been offered 5 figure payments to falsely claim she had been sexually harassed by him. "She" said the offer came from a GOP lobbyist who has paid to sustain other hoaxes before.
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) October 30, 2018
Several journalists, including Marcy Wheeler, had been approached with this juicy story, and they were somewhat skeptical about some of the details. For one, the woman who was reaching out to reporters about being approached didn’t seem to want to speak on the phone, which was red flag number one.
At least one reporter who chased down some of the leads—even speaking to the go-between who allegedly approached the woman—thought this could be an attempt to discredit journalists covering Mueller by getting them to take the bait on a bogus sexual misconduct story. According to the reporter, the go-between seemed eager to give up his boss—right-wing lobbyist Jack Burkman—and readily admit his involvement in attempting to pay women for false claims against Mueller, which was red flag number two.
If you don’t know who Jack Burkman is, congratulations! He’s possibly one of the sleaziest Republican operatives alive, which is really saying something.
He’s also got a history of (allegedly!) offering to pay women for sex (Morton’s Steakhouse in D.C. seems to be where he prowls) and his phone number was found in the D.C. Madam’s infamous little black book. Lately, Burkman’s been trying to profit off of the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich by promoting insane conspiracy theories about his death. He’s also been promoting some mysterious allegations against Mueller, which he says he’ll reveal at a press conference this Thursday.
Then, dear reader, the plot thickened, and by “thickened” I mean “thinned.” You see, 20-year-old MAGA nerd Jacob Wohl (the guy who habitually lies about visiting “hipster coffee shops” where liberals fawn over Trump) has ALSO been promoting these mysterious allegations. The right-wing conspiracy blog he works for published what they claim are “credible” accusations against Mueller that read more like a Republican fever dream.
The “private intel agency” the “woman” reaching out to reporters claims contacted her, Surefire Intelligence, is a company associated with Wohl. In fact, when reporters from NBC contacted the phone number of the company they reached… Jacob Wohl’s mother’s voicemail. LOL.
In fact, “Surefire Intelligence” doesn’t appear to be a real company at all. Twitter accounts for their employees use photos from stock images and in one case, Academy Award-winning actor Christopher Waltz.
But, at least one real-life woman, Jennifer Taub, was also contacted by someone from Surefire Intelligence apparently offering money in exchange for dirt on Mueller. Having never had any encounters with Mueller, she forwarded the email from the company to the Special Counsel’s office and they referred the matter to the FBI for investigation. Whoops!
So what the hell is going on here? Are these dumb-as-doorknobs MAGA grifters running around admitting their scheme to reporters? From the available facts it seems like it’s even dumber than that. It seems Wohl and company are both trying to manufacture sexual misconduct allegations AND trying to scam reporters into saying that they’re manufacturing sexual misconduct allegations by using a phony “whistleblower.”
“Lorraine,” the “woman” who was emailing several reporters, doesn’t appear to actually exist.
Despite the fact that no reporters took his “bait” and he caught the attention of the FBI, Wohl is delighting in this whole scam, even as it blows up in his smug MAGA face.
Even the right-wing troll farm Twitchy is laughing at him.
Even Twitchy is turning on Jacob Wohl. pic.twitter.com/wsdf0OTmac
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) October 30, 2018
Just another incredibly stupid adventure in the MAGA-sphere, although now that the FBI is investigating this one could wind up having some serious repercussions for the grifters. If you’re wondering whether Burkman’s Thursday press conference is worth tuning in to, here’s how his last pathetic ploy for media attention went.
h/t: The Atlantic