The conservative media seemed to have got hold of something big yesterday, with a few reporters claiming via Twitter that a massive story alleging sexual assault against special counsel Robert Mueller was about to be published Wednesday. For Donald Trump supporters, if the news was true, it may have meant serious undermining of the man who is at the helm of the Russia investigation, and it was not surprising that many Trump-supporting corners of the internet waited for the story with bated breath.
However, nothing of the sort has emerged so far (at least beyond right-wing conspiracy sites), leading journalists to wonder what was the fuss all about. As it turns out, a 20-year-old hedge fund financier turned journalist, Jacob Wohl, who reports for the right-wing site The Gateway Pundit, was allegedly one of the main men peddling the fake sexual assault allegations against Mueller. It was Wohl who tweeted that a “scandalous” story was about to be published on Tuesday. Many journalists including The Atlantic’s Natasha Bertrand and The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow, who last year broke the groundbreaking story of sexual assault allegations against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, confirmed that they were approached by women claiming they had dirt on Mueller but suggested that when they followed the leads, it turned out to be a hoax. Another journalist, Scott Stedman, wrote on Twitter that he had chased leads as well, but they all turned out to be fake. He even claimed to have been contacted by a man who was giving money to women to plant fake assault stories against Mueller.
I wasn't going to report on this, but I think my fears are coming true. Based on information that I am privy to, I believe false accusations will be spread about Mueller in order to discredit him and possibly the journalists who are preparing this story. https://t.co/HQXTvPYirD
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) October 30, 2018
Soon after journalists got a whiff of something fishy about the entire deal, they informed Mueller’s office of the alleged attempt by some people to plant fake stories against him. The Atlantic now reports that the special counsel’s office has already referred the matter to the FBI.
Interestingly, soon after journalists spoke about having been contacted by fake sources, The Daily Beast began digging into Jacob Wohl’s own connections. One organization’s name that came up repeatedly during their investigation into the fake stories was of the South California-based outfit called Surefire Intelligence.
Then it got even more interesting.
The domain registration of the intelligence company showed Wohl’s email address, and the headshot of their “head of government relations” had a remarkable resemblance to Wohl himself.
Odd. Jacob Wohl says he doesn't know nuttin' about Surefire Intelligence, the firm tied to the bizarre Mueller allegations. Take a look at the photos below of Mathhew Cohen, head of 'Surefire,' and of Jacob Wohl. pic.twitter.com/Q1rAW4wkPO
— Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) October 30, 2018
Hours later, it was concluded by a cumulative work of journalists reporting for various news organizations that Wohl was one of the main men peddling a fake story against Mueller and hoping some journalists would pick it up. By all accounts, it seemed Wohl intended not only to bring down Robert Mueller with a smear campaign and thereby undermine the Russia investigation but also tarnish the reputation of credible journalists who might have, had they not been careful, fallen for the story.
But now it appears it is Wohl whose credibility has been tarnished beyond repair. Although the right-wing reporter is still attempting to defend himself by claiming that the allegations are true, and he has even reported on it, it sure seems like his gig is up.