The conspiracy theory-peddling conservative activists who hosted a much-hyped press conference Thursday to reveal sexual misconduct allegations against special counsel Robert Mueller struggled to explain simple details about how the accusations came to light and about the accuser herself, who they previously promised would appear in person but who allegedly bailed due to safety concerns.
At one point, GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman and pro-Trump Twitter personality Jacob Wohl disagreed on the proper spelling of the accuser’s name, as there were some spelling discrepancies in their handouts outlining the purported claims.
“I apologize for the typo. I will take blame for that because I’m partially blind,” Burkman said.
Much of the press conference was spent litigating the false claims Wohl had previously given about Surefire Intelligence, a bogus private intel firm that Wohl and Burkman say vetted the accuser’s account. Wohl, until Thursday, had denied involvement in the firm but is now claiming to be its founder.
“The investigation at that point was still in flux and it was important that I preserve my anonymity as I went through it,” Wohl said, adding that he did not want to be hassled in the airport.
Burkman, meanwhile, defended the bonafides of Wohl to lead such an investigation. Before Wohl spent his days tweeting about conversations among liberals he overhead at hipster coffee shops, the 20-year-old was a failed hedge fund manager.
“I think Jacob is a child prodigy that has eclipsed Mozart,” Burkman said.
Someone in the back of the room shouted, “He can’t even open an e-trade account,” a reference to the troubles Wohl ran into in his brief financial trading career.
The accusations Burkman and Wohl are pushing claim that Mueller met the accuser, Carolyn Cass (or maybe Carolyne Cass) at the bar at St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan in August 2010. They allege that after pressuring Cass to come up to his hotel room —”I work for the FBI,” the then-FBI director allegedly said — he raped her.
They ignored a question about the security detail Mueller would have had with him at the time.
The signature of the accuser on the affidavit is a docusign pic.twitter.com/R0CYzISZTg
— Tierney Sneed (@Tierney_Megan) November 1, 2018
Burkman suggested that the special counsel had been preemptively leaking details about his schedule, in apparent reference to reports that Mueller was spotted at jury duty in D.C. the day of the alleged incident. Reporters brought up it was a 2010 Washington Post report that he had shown up for jury duty in D.C. that day. Burkman then claimed that the Washington Post story came up in his team’s vetting of the accuser’s claims — contradicting what he had told TPM on Wednesday: that he was unaware of the WaPo jury duty report.
When TPM asked him to clarify this reversal, he said, “I really don’t know. We don’t remember the day of which we learned about the story.”
These press conferences, held at a Holiday Inn just outside of Washington, are somewhat a staple in the conspiracy theory peddling industry Burkman has created for himself. Wohl’s involvement added a new flavor of strangeness to the whole affair. The name of his private intelligence firm came up when reporters were trying to sniff around on a bizarre account — blasted to multiple outlets via email — alleging a payoff scheme for false accusations against Mueller sponsored by Burkman.
More digging into Surefire Intelligence revealed that LinkedIn profiles of individuals claiming to be employees of the firm had profile photos stolen from models, actors and stock photo images.
Wohl ragged on the media for “breathlessly” reporting what seems to have been a hoax email about the payoffs; the existence of the email was in fact not publicly acknowledged by reporters until Wohl and Burkman began hyping their accuser, and the reports about the email noted its extreme sketchiness.
“There’s been a flurry of fake profiles created on LinkedIn, in Twitter, on Facebook,” Wohl said, defending his private intel firm. “One of them, which I got a good laugh out of, was a LinkedIn profile called Jacob-Surefire Intelligence, had a picture of me wearing a corn, some kind of corn costume.”
Wohl also reiterated the deep skepticism he usually holds for sexual misconduct accusers, but said this woman, allegedly an LA-based fashion designer, had an “illustrious background.”
“She’s gone to schools all over the world,” Wohl said, prompting laughter in the press conference crowd.
Wohl suggested that the accuser, who they promised in the future will appear in front of the press, will also file a police report — perhaps as early as next week.
“We have to see,” Burkman quickly backtracked. “A lot of that is up to my client.”