The special counsel says a woman was offered money to fabricate sexual harassment claims.
An alleged scheme to pay off women to fabricate sexual assault allegations against Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been referred to the FBI for further investigation, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office told The Atlantic. “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 spokesman, Peter Carr, told me in an email on Tuesday.
The special counsel’s attention to this scheme—which was brought to the office by a woman claiming she herself had been offered money to make up sexual harassment claims against Mueller—and its decision to release a rare statement about it indicates the seriousness with which the office is taking the purported scheme to discredit Mueller in the middle of an ongoing investigation.
The woman was not willing to speak to the reporters by phone, according to Scott Stedman, one of the reporters who received the letter. So portions of her story have gone uncorroborated. Around the time that the journalists began receiving the email, Burkman released a video on his Facebook page claiming, without evidence, that Mueller “has a whole lifetime history of harassing women.” On Tuesday, the day the special counsel revealed that it had referred the woman’s claims to the FBI, Burkman tweeted a similar allegation.
In an emailed statement, Burkman denied knowing the woman who originally alerted journalists to the alleged scheme and called the FBI referral “a joke, mueller wants to deflect attention from his sex assault troubles by attacking me.” He added in a separate email that “on Thursday 1200 NOON ROSSYLN HOLIDAY INN we will present a very credible witness who will allege that Mr. Mueller committed against her a sexual assault.” Mueller’s spokesman reiterated that the claims are false.
Burkman, a conservative radio host, is known for spreading conspiracy theories. He launched his own private investigation into the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, dangled uncorroborated claims of sexual harassment against a sitting member of Congress, and earlier this year offered $25,000 to FBI whistleblowers for any information exposing wrongdoing during the 2016 election.
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