The conservative grifters who said that they would be presenting to the press on Thursday a woman making sexual misconduct allegations against special counsel Robert Mueller are now reversing those plans, while backtracking on key details about how their apparent smear campaign came to be.
Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, who both were hyping the allegations earlier this week, did an interview with the far-right website Gateway Pundit Wednesday in which they claimed that their “accuser,” after arriving in D.C., boarded a flight to another location as she feared for her life.
Burkman had promoted a press conference at noon Thursday to unveil the accuser and her allegations, and it appears the press conference will go on without her. This is not the first time that Burkman — a GOP lobbyist who has peddled a number of conspiracy theories — has seen his plans to announce some salacious revelation fall apart at the last minute. While Burkman was pushing false allegations about the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich, he promised a press conference with a man whom he said had damning information about the murder, but the man did not show up in person. Instead, Burkman struggled to operate a conference call with the purported whistleblower.
This latest — albeit not entirely surprising — twist in the bizarre effort to make the allegations against Mueller comes after mysterious claims that there was a payoff scheme to bring forward accusers, as well as the revelation that Wohl — a failed-hedge-fund-manager-turned-pro-Trump-Twitter-personality — had set up a fake private intel firm linked to the effort. The firm was namechecked in threatening calls received by journalist who were sniffing around the alleged payoff scheme, though until now Wohl was denying any involvement in the firm.
A spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller said Tuesday that the matter of the alleged payoffs for “false” allegations was referred to the FBI.
Burkman did not respond to TPM’s inquiry Thursday. But on Wednesday, he told TPM that the allegations his accuser was going to bring forward were those that were contained in a set of “exclusive documents” posted and then taken down by Gateway Pundit on Tuesday. Those documents described an alleged rape by Mueller in New York on or around August 2, 2010.
A Washington Post story from that week says that Mueller, then the FBI director, was called for jury duty in D.C. that day — something Burkman told TPM he was not aware of despite claiming to have heavily vetted the woman’s claims.
The Gateway Pundit removed the documents from the website after scrutiny of Wohl’s role in the effort grew.
Burkman told TPM that he did not give the documents to Gateway Pundit and said they might have been “leaked” by someone else on his team. He also refused to say whether Wohl or the bogus private intel firm Wohl apparently set up was working with him — claiming that he “can’t comment on staff or subcontractors.”
All of those details have changed with the latest Gateway Pundit interview.
Wohl is now claiming his role as “founder” of Surefire Intelligence, which had become the subject of mockery after journalists discovered that the LinkedIn profiles of a number of individuals claiming to be firm employees had profile photos poached from models, actors and stock photo images.
Wohl told Gateway Pundit that he first heard the purported accuser’s story when Surefire Intelligence was hired by the accuser to track “down some assets that were misappropriated by her accountant.”
The Gateway Pundit story also included a photo of Wohl with the purported “accuser” with the woman’s face blurred out.
Burkman, in his Gateway Pundit interview, addressed the mystery around “Lorraine Parsons.” In recent days, a number of media outlets received an email from someone claiming to be “Lorraine Parsons” who alleged to have worked with Mueller in the 1970s. The email sender claimed to have been offered thousands of dollars to sign documents alleging misconduct against Mueller and alleged that the man who made the offer said he was working for Burkman.
Journalists have been unable to corroborate any details of the alleged scheme and it appears that Parsons may not even exist. Reporters only began publicly hinting at the existence of the email after Burkman and Wohl previewed earlier this week a “sad” and “scandalous” story coming out about Mueller.
Burkman, in a video posted with the Gateway Pundit interview, claimed that the Parsons was a “phantom” that was part of an effort to “slow us down.”
He also claimed that an email received by Jennifer Taub — a law professor and cable news commentator who was also offered payment for dirt on Mueller by someone with a Surefire Intelligence email address — came from a “person who doesn’t exist” and had “nothing to do with us.”
Wohl meanwhile railed against the media attention to his purported firm, which NBC noticed had a voice mail box that redirected callers to a number belonging to his mother.
“I have had Rachel Maddow implicating my mother in this simply because my cellphone happens to be on a family plan,” Wohl said.