I’m offline most of the day only come back to find this story all abuzz on Twitter:
A company that appears to be run by a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist offered to pay women to make false claims against Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the days leading up to the midterm elections—and the special counsel’s office has asked the FBI to weigh in. “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 Mueller spokesman Peter Carr told me in an email on Tuesday.
The special-counsel office’s attention to this scheme and its decision to release a rare statement about it indicates the seriousness with which the team is taking the purported plot to discredit Mueller in the middle of an ongoing investigation. Carr confirmed that the allegations were brought to the office’s attention by several journalists, who were contacted by a woman who identified herself as Lorraine Parsons. Another woman, Jennifer Taub, contacted Mueller’s office earlier this month with similar information.
The woman identifying herself as 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 had been hired by a GOP activist named Jack Burkman—“to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller.”
And this is where it gets really, really fun:
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 telephone number listed on Surefire’s website referred callers to another number that’s listed in public records as belonging to Wohl’s mother.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAA JACOB WOHL?? That little pissant who is constantly at the top of any Trump thread pushing conspiracy theories as bad as his financial advice? Oh pop all the corn and let’s enjoy this moment.
Surely you jest pic.twitter.com/hhYihwjt62
— a plot gone awry (@flowerednews) October 30, 2018
— Marfan Mike (@Marfan_Mike) October 30, 2018
In fairness, I imagine Bar Rafaeli would only work for the very most prestigious of fictitious intelligence firms. https://t.co/ZXGPH2E5kN
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) October 30, 2018
Gateway Pundit, which published the Jacob Wohl-backed dossier filled with wild accusations about Mueller, is back-pedaling fast. They've taken down the file and are now trying to claim Mueller making a criminal referral to the FBI is an abuse of government power. pic.twitter.com/71uWGQjSfI
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) October 30, 2018
"Mom, if you get any federal grand jury subpoenas, don't open them, they're a mistake, just leave them on my futon."
— PickUpTheVoiceMailMomHat (@Popehat) October 30, 2018