WASHINGTON — The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller referred to the FBI an apparent plot involving a lobbyist and conspiracy theorist who had reportedly offered to pay a woman to make sexual misconduct allegations against Mueller.
The Atlantic reported Tuesday that Mueller’s office was alerted to the scheme by journalists who had been researching it. Mueller’s team has been famously tight-lipped throughout its investigation, but the Special Counsel’s office took the matter seriously enough to issue a rare public statement. “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,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, told reporters on Tuesday.
According to the Atlantic, Jack Burkman, a Republican fringe figure in Washington political circles perhaps best known for leading a widely ridiculed and self-promotional “investigation” into the 2016 murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, had sought to pay an unnamed woman so that she would “make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller.” Instead, the woman reportedly contacted several journalists by email and told them about Burkman’s scheme, claiming that he had offered to pay off her credit card debt and write her a check for $20,000 if she would sign a sworn affidavit alleging sexual misconduct and workplace harassment by Mueller, according to the woman.
The journalist Yashar Ali posted on Twitter what he said was a screenshot of the email sent by the anonymous woman describing the supposed pay-off plot.
13 days ago I received this tip alleging an attempt to pay off women to make up accusations of sexual misconduct against Special Counsel Bob Mueller. Other reporters received the same email. Now the Special Counsel's office is telling us they've referred the matter to the FBI pic.twitter.com/oqh4Fnel5u
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 30, 2018
Speaking with Rolling Stone Tuesday afternoon, Burkman calls the special counsel’s FBI referral a “House of Cards episode” and “silliness layered on silliness layered on silliness.” He went on to say, “There’s no truth to the claim we paid anyone” and vehemently denies any pay-off scheme. When asked to respond to the anonymous email sent to journalists, he said he didn’t know about it, who sent it or who “Bill” was. “He’s trying to discredit me and it’s not going to work,” Burkman said of Mueller.
After Burkman’s stunt involving Rich’s murder failed spectacularly, he appears to have moved on to a new, politically convenient target: Mueller.
Last week, Burkman posted a video of himself on Facebook claiming Mueller “has a whole lifetime history of harassing women” and accusing him of being “an old-school drunk” who carries a flask to work. Burkman gave no evidence to back up any of his claims apart from unnamed “sources.”
On Tuesday, Burkman announced a November 1st press conference in which he would “reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims.” Again, he gave no evidence and revealed nothing about his supposed “client.”
Now, however, there’s a good chance Burkman will get plenty of time to explain his theories and motives in far more detail — to the FBI.