Earlier today, a guy named Jack Burkman tweeted this:
Some sad news. On Thursday, November 1, at the Rosslyn— Jack Burkman (@Jack_Burkman) October 30, 2018
Holiday Inn at noon, we will reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert
Mueller's sex assault victims. I applaud the courage and dignity and
grace and strength of my client. pic.twitter.com/wZVQeHD45r
He subsequently followed it up with a Facebook video saying that he would hold a press conference on Thursday with a woman alleging sexual assault against Robert Mueller.
Apparently, Jack Burkman has been shopping this story around to a number of different outlets for a while in an effort to both smear Robert Mueller and probably the journalist who took the bait and reported it. No one took the bait.
Folks: I got the same hoax as Stedman did.— emptywheel (@emptywheel) October 30, 2018
Given that it was fed to prolly 30 journalists with no takers, what seems to have happened instead is it failed. https://t.co/5Ne1mIKylV
Before Burkman even wrote his first tweet, investigative journalist Scott Stedman warned folks to be on the lookout:
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.— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) October 30, 2018
I worked on this story and chased down leads, but found the woman to be very unreliable. She wouldn't get on the phone, she lied about journalists she was working with, etc. Furthermore, I got in contact with the man who allegedly was offering the money….— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) October 30, 2018
He was extremely willing to confirm that he was indeed paying women to tell stories about Mueller. 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.— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) October 30, 2018
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.— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) October 30, 2018
I know that some journalists who were contacted by the woman* are becoming increasingly worried that something sketchy is afoot here.— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) October 30, 2018
*we have no idea who this person is
That apparently didn’t stop Burkman from pushing this conspiracy. However, The Atlantic is now reporting that Burkman’s scheme has been turned over for investigation by the FBI.
An alleged scheme to pay off women to fabricate sexual assault allegations against Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been referred to the FBI for further investigation, according to a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, Peter Carr …
The special counsel’s office confirmed that the scheme was brought to its attention by several journalists who were told about it by a woman alleging that she herself had been offered roughly $20,000 by a GOP activist named Jack Burkman “to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller.” The woman told journalists that she had worked for Mueller as a paralegal at the Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro law firm in 1974 … 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.’”
It is worth noting that Jack Burkman also pushed the Seth Rich conspiracy. He hosts a radio and TV talk show on Newsmax. The Newsmax CEO is Chris Ruddy. Chris Ruddy is super close friends with Donald Trump. They exchange frequent phone calls and Ruddy often speaks to the media on behalf of Trump.
Does this mean that Trump was aware of this scheme? Well, I wouldn’t want to dabble in conspiracy myself.
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