The FBI has been alerted to an alleged plot to discredit special prosecutor Robert Mueller after a woman said she’d been offered money to falsely say that he’d sexually harassed her.
“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,” said Peter Carr, spokesman for the special prosecutor’s office, which is investigating possible ties between Russian operatives and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Word of a scheme was brought to the attention of the special counsel’s office by “a woman claiming she herself had been offered money to make up sexual harassment claims against Mueller,” according to the Atlantic, which first reported the story. The Atlantic reports that the unnamed woman told “several journalists” she had been offered “roughly $20,000 by a GOP activist named Jack Burkman” to “make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment” against Mueller when she worked with him as a paralegal in the 1970s.
Perjury is a criminal offense in the US, as is obstruction of criminal investigations. Both charges could carry a five-year prison sentence.
A journalist who writes for New York magazine and Huffington Post tweeted a copy of a “tip” he got from a woman alleging a similar attempt.
Far-right commentators recently have been broadcasting that a Mueller story was coming soon. Burkman put up a video on his Facebook page last week claiming, without evidence, that Mueller had harassed women. Early yesterday, right-wing columnist Jacob Wohl told his 173,000 Twitter followers that a “scandalous story” about Mueller would be published soon:
Burkman previously alleged that Democratic national convention aide Seth Rich was murdered in 2016 as part of a political conspiracy. Rich’s parents unsuccessfully sued Fox News over its claim that Rich—who police believe was killed in a random robbery—had leaked information to Wikileaks.