FBI looking into bid to smear Russia probe chief Mueller

Washington: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing an alleged scheme to pay women to accuse Russia collusion probe chief Robert Mueller (pictured)of sexual harassment in a bid to discredit him, his office said on Tuesday.
The scheme was uncovered after a woman who said she worked for Mueller decades ago told several journalists she had been offered $20,000 to accuse him of sexual misconduct.
“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,” Mueller’s spokesman Peter Carr said.
Carr did not offer any additional details, but his rare public statement made clear that Mueller’s office was taking the claims seriously.
When a matter is referred to the FBI, the agency must investigate the merits of the complaint.
Carr’s statement came on the same day that a conservative radio and podcast host known for promoting conspiracy theories, Jack Burkman, announced plans to “unveil the first of the sex assault victims of Robert Mueller” on Thursday.
Burkman denied offering payments as part of the alleged scheme, calling the claims “false.”
“The left is trying to defend Mueller against sex assault allegations so they attack me in desperation,” he said on Twitter.
“The establishment media knows that Mueller may go down over this — they want to deflect attention.”
Mueller is a former FBI director tasked last year with investigating allegations that members of President Donald Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election in his favour.
The probe has expanded to examine possible attempts by Trump himself to obstruct the investigation, which could — if proven — lead to the president’s impeachment.
The former marine has a spotless reputation as an attorney, federal prosecutor and FBI chief. So far, his probe has issued 35 indictments and obtained six guilty pleas and one trial conviction.
But Trump and Republicans have labelled his investigation as biased and overextended, with Trump branding it the “illegal Mueller witch hunt.” — AFP