On January 27, 1972, there was a meeting in the office of then-Attorney General John Mitchell. Also in attendance was White House counsel John Dean. They were there to listen to a presentation by a lawyer for the Committee to Re-Elect the President named G. Gordon Liddy. The purpose of the meeting was for Liddy to brief Mitchell and Dean on a plan of his called Operation Gemstone. Gemstone had three elements to it-Diamond, Ruby, and Sapphire-and it was unlike any other presentation ever entertained by an attorney general.
Among other things, Liddy proposed:
...to disrupt antiwar demonstrators before television and press cameras can arrive on the scene, using “men who have worked successfully as street-fighting squads for the CIA” or what White House counsel John Dean, also at the meeting, will later testify to be “mugging squads;” to kidnap, or “surgically relocate,” prominent antiwar and civil rights leaders by “drug[ging” them and taking them “across the border;” to use a pleasure yacht as a floating brothel to entice Democrats and other undesirables into compromising positions, where they can be tape-recorded and photographed with what Liddy calls “the finest call girls in the country… not dumb broads but girls who can be trained and photographed;” to deploy an array of electronic and physical surveillance, including chase planes to intercept messages from airplanes carrying prominent Democrats.
Dean later testified that he was horrified by this plan. Mitchell dismissed it by telling Liddy that this wasn't quite what he had in mind.
On June 23, 1973, on what became known as the "Smoking Gun" tape, President Richard Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman were recorded discussing Liddy's role in Nixon's crimes.
Nixon: He didn’t know how it was going to be handled though, with Dahlberg and the Texans and so forth? Well who was the asshole that did? (Unintelligible) Is it Liddy? Is that the fellow? He must be a little nuts.
Haldeman: He is.
Nixon: I mean he just isn’t well screwed on is he? Isn’t that the problem?
This, of course, was considerably uncharitable, since Liddy went to jail rather than flip on Nixon, but I understand that we do occasionally elect presidents who care only for the survival of their own hindquarters, and who will throw aides overboard in pursuit of that goal.
This all came back to mind on Tuesday, when Natasha Bertrand in The Atlantic broke a story about a Liddy-esque enterprise aimed at special counsel Robert Mueller's office.
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 special counsel’s office confirmed that the scheme was brought to its attention by several journalists who were told about it by a woman alleging that she herself had been offered roughly $20,000 by a man claiming to work for a GOP activist named Jack Burkman “to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller.” The woman told journalists in an email, a copy of which I obtained, that she had worked for Mueller as a paralegal at the Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro law firm in 1974, but that she “didn’t see” him much. “When I did see him, he was always very polite to me, and was never inappropriate,” the woman wrote. The firm has not returned a request for comment about whether the woman actually worked there.
Burkman is one of those professional ratfckers who made his ratfcking bones in the frenzied efforts to bring down President Bill Clinton. Back then, he largely was a cable-TV pundit ratfcker. (Bill Maher was particularly fond of having him on Maher's old show, Politically Incorrect.) He later went on to be a prime surrogate for the Bush-Cheney campaigns.
He has slipped down the food chain a bit, and was last seen pushing the indecent speculation that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich had been murdered by DNC operatives. Burkman also said that he himself almost was killed by the gumshoe he'd hired to look into the crime. (Rich actually was killed in a mugging.) Burkman's involvement with phonying up sexual harassment charges against Mueller will surprise an estimated nobody. And, according to Bertrand's story, Burkman's still out there, because those rats won't fck themselves.
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.
But I do think that anyone who thinks the obvious flailing in the White has to do solely with the upcoming midterms, they're missing half the story. Mueller's report is coming soon. Everybody there knows it. And if some somebodies inside or outside the administration* hired Jack Burkman to ratfck the special counsel, my god, what does Mueller have on these people?
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