Mark Sumner at Daily Kos has the set up for this story:
[N]oted figures in the most radical edges of the white nationalist media, including conspiracy theory central The Gateway Pundit, are spreading the “a big story is coming on Mueller” seeds. The gist of this upcoming “story” seems to be claims that Mueller is guilty of sexual harassment. As journalist Scott Stedman reports, this idea has been percolating among the alt-Reich ranks for some time.
Stedman: Two weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman who claimed to be a former associate of Mueller who said that she got a phone call from a man working on behalf of a GOP operative who was paying women to come forward to make up sexual assault allegations.
It’s unclear if these operatives have been able to find any takers, or if the story will simply be completely unsupported bullshit.
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But this doesn’t appear to be a “story breaking.” It appears to be “story making.”
Stedman: I concluded that this was an effort to discredit journalists working on the Trump-Russia story by planting a false story and see who would print it. I still don’t know what to make of the entire situation, but I fear that this is a scheme to discredit those who are reporting on the Russia investigation. If the story coming out tomorrow matches the story I heard, I will post more details.
This sounds very like something that could be originating out of the sickly-named Project Veritas, or a similar effort. From the gloating of the alt-Reich, it appears they’ve found a sucker. Or they’ve simply decided to run the story themselves. After all, no one ever holds up sites like Breitbart or Gateway Pundit to any concept of “truth.”
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HillReporter is also flagging this scheme.
A little over a week ago several journalists, including myself, received an email from an individual claiming to have been offered money in exchange for alleging sexual misconduct on the part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
And is equally unclear about whether the attack is primarily at Mueller, the press, or both.
And the answer is … the Alt-Reich is doing it themselves. The utterly discredited News Max has announced that they will be holding a press conference on Thursday morning to “reveal the first” of “Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims.”
The Atlantic reports Mueller Wants the FBI to Look at a Scheme to Discredit Him: the special counsel’s office has asked the FBI to look into this scheme to discredit Mueller by paying people to create stories of sexual harassment or assault.
A company that appears to be run by a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist offered to pay women to fabricate stories about special counsel Robert Mueller in the days leading up the midterm elections—and the special counsel’s office has referred the plot to the FBI for further investigation. “When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” the spokesman, Peter Carr, told me in an email on Tuesday.
Additional reporting from The Atlantic:
The woman identifying herself as Lorraine Parsons told journalists in an email, a copy of which I obtained, that she had been offered roughly $20,000 by a man claiming to work for a firm called Surefire Intelligence—which was in turn hired by GOP activist named Jack Burkman—“to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller.” Parsons wrote in her letter that she had worked for Mueller as a paralegal at the Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro law firm in 1974, but that she “didn’t see” him much. “When I did see him, he was always very polite to me, and was never inappropriate,” she said.
Parsons explained that she was contacted by a man “with a British accent” who wanted to ask her “a couple questions about Robert Mueller, whom I worked with when I was a paralegal for Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro in 1974. I asked him who he was working for, and he told me his boss was some sort of politics guy in Washington named Jack Burkman. I reluctantly told [him] that I had only worked with Mr. Mueller for a short period of time, before leaving that firm to have my first son.”
He said (and I will never forget exactly what it was) ‘I want you to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller, and I want you to sign a sworn affidavit to that effect.’” The man “offered to pay off all of my credit card debt, plus bring me a check for $20,000 if I would do” it, she wrote. “He knew exactly how much credit card debt I had, right down to the dollar, which sort of freaked me out.”
Surefire Intelligence describes itself as “a private intel agency that designs and executes bespoke solutions for businesses and individuals who face complex business and litigation challenges.”
Surefire’s domain records list an email for another pro-Trump conspiracy theorist, Jacob Wohl, who began hyping a “scandalous” Mueller story on Tuesday morning. Wohl told The Daily Beast that Burkman had hired Surefire to assist with his investigation into Mueller’s past, but denied knowing anything about the firm’s involvement in an alleged plot to fabricate allegations against Mueller when asked why his email address appeared in the domain records. He did not respond when asked by NBC why a number listed on Surefire’s website referred callers to another number that is listed in public records as belonging to Wohl’s mother.
Special counsel Robert Mueller last week asked the FBI to investigate a possible scam in which a woman would make false claims that he had sexually assaulted her, after several political reporters were contacted about doing a story on the alleged assault.
Multiple reporters were contacted over the past few weeks by a woman who said she had been offered money to say she was sexually assaulted by Mueller, the special counsel who is probing possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. After investigating, according to the political website Hill Reporter, the reporters each independently determined the assault allegation was likely a hoax and that it was unclear if the woman had been offered money to make the claim. The reporters then contacted the special counsel’s office to report that they had been approached about the scheme.
“When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” said Peter Carr, spokesperson for the special counsel.
While investigating the possibility of a hoax, the Hill Reporter’s Ed Krassenstein, who was one of the reporters contacted, said he received threats, including a text message reading, “You’re in over your head…. Drop this” which included his and another editor’s home addresses.
Around the same time reporters began to be contacted about the assault allegations, Jack Burkman, a Republican lobbyist [GOP ratfucker] and radio host, began promoting, via his Facebook page, that he is investigating sexual misconduct and alcohol-related allegations against Mueller. On Tuesday morning he tweeted that he would hold a press conference two days later to “reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims.”
Over the past two years, Burkman has peddled a separate, evolving conspiracy theory that has blamed several different wild plots for the death of Democratic staffer Seth Rich, who was shot on a Washington street in 2016 during an apparent botched robbery.
Krassenstein told NBC News he reached out to the special counsel’s office on Tuesday telling them what he knew about the sex assault scheme.
He also gave NBC News the phone numbers used by the woman alleging she was offered money to make the allegations, which were both disconnected.
Krassenstein and other journalists also pointed to Jacob Wohl, a disgraced hedge fund manager turned pro-Trump conspiracy theorist and Surefire Intelligence, a company connected to him, as being involved with Burkman’s alleged plot.
“I gave Burkman a call. I wanted to know who ‘Surefire Intelligence’ is. That’s when he told me about Jacob Wohl,” said Krassenstein. “To me, this was all a setup from somebody trying to discredit the media.”
Early this morning, Wohl tweeted, “Several media sources tell me that a scandalous story about Mueller is breaking tomorrow. Should be interesting. Stay tuned!”
Reached by direct message on Twitter, Wohl denied having a hand in any plot to pay women making false allegations against Mueller. “I don’t have any involvement in any investigations of any kind. I’m not quite that cool,” he said.
The allegations still took off as viral posts on far-right news sites known for spreading fake news and disinformation tied to Wohl. Gateway Pundit, where Wohl is employed as a writer, touted their “exclusive documents” about a “very credible witness.”
Wohl declined to comment on his involvement with Surefire Intelligence. However, his email is listed in the domain records for Surefire Intelligence’s website and calls to a number listed on the Surefire Intelligence website went to a voicemail message which provided another phone number, listed in public records as belonging to Wohl’s mother.
Wohl stopped responding to NBC News after being told Surefire’s official phone number redirects to his mother’s voicemail.
More from The Daily Beast, Inside the Crazy Cabal Trying to Smear Robert Mueller:
One of the shadier characters in politics, along with a number of fringe internet figures, appears to be behind an attempt to pay women to accuse Special Counsel Robert Mueller of sexual assault.
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At the center of the scheme is publicity-hungry Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman, who has repeatedly dabbled in internet conspiracy theories in the past, including promoting the idea that murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was killed by deep-state government operatives.
Burkman denied involvement in any attempt to pay people to frame or accuse Mueller. But he also claims that he has witnesses who will expose the Special Counsel as a sexual harasser and has scheduled a Thursday press conference in Northern Virginia to introduce his first accuser.
“We’re going to prove that he is a drunk and a sexual abuser,” Burkman told The Daily Beast.
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Burkman has not any offered any evidence at all of his accusations and his previous “bombshell” press conferences on other stories have become notorious flops in Washington media circles. In July, he promised that he had a whistleblower who would prove the government killed Rich. But Burkman’s witness never showed in person, instead calling in anonymously via speakerphone — a stunt that enraged Burkman’s fellow conspiracy theorists.
This isn’t Burkman’s first attempt to get publicity for a sexual assault allegation either. In late 2017, with the MeToo movement kicking off, Burkman claimed that he represented a woman who would accuse a congressman of sexual assault. But with the press on hand for the revelations, Burkman had to concede that his client refused to appear. Instead, Burkman offered everyone a “big apology” for wasting their time.
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Burkman’s latest gambit has far higher stakes than his previous ones; but it too seems similarly bound for self-destruction. Allegations that he was offering to pay women to accuse Mueller come from an uncorroborated email sent to a number of media outlets, including The Daily Beast, by a person who identified herself as Florida resident “Lorraine Parsons.”
In her emails, Parsons claimed that Burkman and his associates were pressuring her to “make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller” and to “sign a sworn affidavit to that effect.” In exchange, she said, they were offering tens of thousands of dollars. Parsons repeatedly declined to talk to The Daily Beast on the phone, and internet searches have failed to provide any background on her. Parsons didn’t respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Asked last week if he was paying women to accuse Mueller, Burkman said he couldn’t comment. But on Tuesday, Burkman insisted that he had not offered remuneration.
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In his efforts to dig up dirt on Mueller, Burkman appears to have enlisted outside help. Jacob Wohl, a right wing Twitter personality and a self-described friend of Burkman, said Burkman had told him he had hired Matthew Cohen, who claims to be a managing partner at the private investigations company Surefire Intelligence, to assist with the investigation. In fact, it appears that Cohen is Wohl.
There is more on this clown in The Daily Beast report.
So Donald Trump’s conspiracy theory friends and GOP ratfuckers in the alt-Reich media have fabricated a hoax – fake news! – to attack Robert Mueller and the mainstream media. Are these guys associates of Roger Stone?
How long do you think it will take FAUX News aka “Trump TV” pundits to promote this fake news, and the Twitter-troll-in-chief to tweet about it? And then it will be amplified in the Epistemic closure of the ‘conservative misinformation feedback loop’ media bubble.