On Tuesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office announced that it asked the FBI to investigate an apparent plot to pay women to falsely accuse Mueller of sexual misconduct, but it turns out, that's probably the most boring part of the story. Several reporters — yes, even #MeToo juggernaut Ronan Farrow — were tipped off to the story over the past few weeks by a woman, "Lorraine Parsons," who nobody can confirm actually exists, though a second woman, Vermont law professor Jennifer Taub, said Tuesday that she was offered compensation by a firm called Surefire Intelligence for stories about Mueller, whom she says she has never met.
Earlier Tuesday, at least two conservative personalities known for spreading conspiracy theories — GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, a Gateway Pundit writer most famous for consistently responding first to President Trump's tweets — had promoted a coming story about Mueller and sexual misconduct. Burkman told The Daily Beast he will "prove that [Mueller] is a drunk and a sexual abuser" but denied paying anyone for information.
Wohl told NBC News he played no role in paying women to make false statements and doesn't "have any involvement in any investigations of any kind." Wohl also told The Daily Beast that Burkman said he'd hired Surefire Intelligence's Matthew Cohen to help with his investigation. Internet records and photographic evidence strongly suggest that Cohen is Wohl, and Wohl is Surefire Intelligence. "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," NBC News reports.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow ran through the whole strange saga Tuesday night.
"It was so transparently bad from the get-go," NBC News reporter Ben Collins said of the plot to #MeToo Mueller. "Look, I'm not a guy who can tell you if lying this badly is a crime, but if it is, this is the death penalty." Peter Weber