The office of special counsel Robert Mueller has asked the FBI to look into whether Jack Burkman — a right-wing lobbyist who hosts a weekly show on Newsmax TV — offered to pay women to come forward with “false claims” of sexual or workplace misconduct Mueller, the office’s spokesman said Tuesday.
Burkman, a lobbyist and GOP operative who has been associated with various conspiracy theories over the years, offered an unnamed woman $20,000 to accuse Mueller of wrongdoing, according to The Atlantic.
Mueller’s office became aware of the plan after several journalists solicited by the woman brought it to their attention, Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller’s office, told TheWrap.
“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,” Carr said in a statement.
He also tweeted: “The allegations of paying a woman are false. The left is trying to defend Mueller against sex assault allegations so they attack me in desperation. The establishment media knows that Mueller may go down over this–they want to deflect attention.”
Late Tuesday, he added on Facebook: “The Special Counsel once again has abused his power. He ordered the FBI to investigate whether I paid a certain woman. The only problem is that this woman — Lorraine Parsons — doesn’t exist. Mueller acted without doing the slightest bit of research. He has but one goal: deflect attention from him on to me. Well Bob, by week’s end, our nation will know you as nothing but a sex offender.”
Burkman has made a reputation as a gadfly with high-profile appeals to whistleblowers. In February, The Washington Times reported that he floated a $25,000 bounty for concrete evidence of FBI wrongdoing in Mueller’s investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
He previously gained notoriety for offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who could produce information leading to a conviction in the unsolved 2016 murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.
After initially embracing his help, the Rich family distanced themselves from Burkman after the lobbyist began insisting their son was killed by Russian agents, without any corroboration.
“I was approached by a guy who styles himself as a former U.S. intel officer,” Burkman told local media last year. “I quizzed him. I think he’s credible — you never know the motive of people. But what he said is basically this — that Seth discovered that the Russians had been hacking and therefore the Russian government did away with Seth.”
Though he identifies himself as a Newsmax host on his Twitter account and is listed as the host of the weekly “Behind the Curtain” show on its website on Tuesday, Newsmax chief Chris Ruddy told TheWrap that Burkman had no affiliation with his network.
“Mr. Burkman is not a Newsmax host and as far as we know he does not claim to be,” Ruddy said. “He does have a radio show that airs as paid programming on Newsmax. We are reviewing whether he will continue as an advertiser.”
Burkman’s classification as a Newsmax host was removed after the company received an inquiry from TheWrap. A person familiar with the matter said he had been placed among the network’s stable of paid hosts by mistake.
You can watch episodes of Burkman’s radio show “Behind the Curtain” on Newsmax here.
Trump White House Revolving Door: 22 Top Staffers Who've Exited, From Omarosa to Scott Pruitt (Photos)
The turnover in the Trump administration continues.
Michael Flynn resigned in February 2017 as President Trump’s national security adviser after less than a month in the position.
The move came after Flynn admitted he gave “incomplete information” about a call he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. last December regarding sanctions against Russia, The New York Times reported, and that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about the conversation.
Months after getting personal assurance from the president that he would remain in his job as a top federal prosecutor, Bharara was asked to submit his resignation in March 2017.
“Had I not been fired, and had Donald Trump continued to cultivate a direct personal relationship with me, it’s my strong belief at some point, given the history, the president of the United States would’ve asked me to do something inappropriate,” Bharara said on his podcast.
Trump’s decision was based on the recommendation of both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to Spicer.
Michael Dubke, the first communications director in the Trump White House, resigned in May 2017 in the midst of ongoing blowback for the president's handling of the firing of James Comey.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned in late July 2017 when Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.
According to the New York Times, which first broke the news, Spicer told President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of New York financier and former Fox Business host Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.
Priebus was ousted from his position as White House Chief of Staff in July 2017, when Donald Trump hired General John Kelly to take his place.
"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American,” Trump said in a tweet.
“I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country,” Trump went on to say in a separate tweet. “We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!”
Scaramucci was the White House Communications Director for 10 days last summer and is now infamous for a wild, expletive-filled interview with The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza. He announced in late September week that he will launch his own media website, called The Scaramucci Post.
Sebastian Gorka announced his decision to exit his role as deputy assistant to the POTUS in a letter to the president in late August 2017.
“[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka wrote in the letter, obtained by the Federalist. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was reportedly fired in August 2017, though he insists he resigned July 27 -- giving two weeks’ notice -- but his leaving was put off because of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. He returned to Breitbart News, where he vows to go to “war” for Trump.
Following a week-long scandal over his lavish use of private jets while traveling on government business, Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price resigned on September 29.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the President accepted,” the White House said in a statement. “The President intends to designate Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as Acting Secretary, effective at 11:59 p.m. on September 29, 2017.”
Former "Apprentice" contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman resigned in December "to pursue other opportunities," according to a White House press release. Trump thanked her for In February 2018, she became a contestant on "Celebrity Big Brother," and bashed Trump in the first episode.
Centers for Disease Control director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned in January 2018 after a Politico report that she bought shares in a tobacco company one month into her role.
Just one day after testifying before the House intelligence committee in February 2018, the White House Communications Director and longtime Trump loyalist announced plans to resign.
The former head of PR for Hollywood producer Jason Blum's Blumhouse announced in February 2018 that he was leaving his job as a senior communications aide at the White House after less than a year on the job.
Cohn, considered one of the most liberal members of Team Trump as director of the National Economic Council, announced in March 2018 he was leaving after a disagreement with Trump over tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. He had previously been mentioned as a possible chief of staff.
McEntee was abruptly fired after serving a year as the president's personal assistant, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 13, 2018. The paper cited an unspecified security issue as the reason for the dismissal.
The secretary of state was abruptly asked to resign in March 2018 after just over a year in the job. The former CEO of Exxon Mobil arrived at the State Department with no experience in government or diplomacy and soon ran afoul of both his agency and Trump, particularly after reports emerged that Tillerson had called the president a "moron" following a cabinet meeting.
H. R. McMaster
The lieutenant general, picked by Trump to be his second national security adviser, resigned March 22, 2017, and replaced by former United States ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.
The U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs was removed from his post in March 2018 following a scandal over travel expenses involving his wife.
The White House lawyer who had overseen legal issues related to the investigation into Russian interference in 2016's presidential election announced on May 2, 2018, that he was leaving his position.
The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency resigned on July 5, 2018 after months of reports about his spending practices and ethics.
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EPA head is the latest to leave the Trump administration
The turnover in the Trump administration continues.