This Is Probably The Dumbest News Story of 2018

There can be a vast difference between theory and practice. Just because you have a PhD in musicology doesn't mean you can play "Wonderwall" on the guitar, and just because you've seen a dozen tutorials on YouTube doesn't mean you'll juggle chainsaws and be able to live to give thumbs up about it. We can now add conspiracy plotting to that list of contrasts, because one right-wing operative finally decided to put in some practice hours and failed immediately and spectacularly.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russia-Trump allegations has been like watching a train crash happen in glacial slow motion. While little has been revealed or resolved, the whole affair has been hinting at such a grand scope of corruption and incompetence inside President Trump's cabal that John Oliver has dubbed it "Stupid Watergate." But perhaps the dumbest (so far) twist to the tale happened this past Tuesday, when a small contingent of knuckleheads tried to shock the world with proof that Mueller has sexually assaulted women. Except that it was a load of nonsense, and journalists took to Twitter to unravel the conspiracy so fast that it'd make Richard Nixon's head spin in its Futurama jar.

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For the past week, conservative lobbyist Jack Burkman was posting that he was in contact with several women who had been sexually assaulted by the special counsel. But before the fake bombshell about Mueller could even be dropped, The Atlantic published a story on how several journalists have been in contact with two women claiming to have been offered tens of thousands of dollars by a company called Surefire Intelligence to accuse Mueller of sexually assaulting them. Mueller was made aware of this, and had already asked the FBI to launch their own investigation into this plot.

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But none of this deterred the schemers, who knew about the exposure (they even started threatening journalists to stop looking into it) but still went ahead with their plan, which included a clearly bullshit breaking news item on a far-right site. Letting an FBI investigation stop your corrupt dealings is definitely not the MAGA thing to do.

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This brings us to Jacob Wohl, first-rate Twitter toady to Trump and the "youngest hedge fund manager" ever ... to receive a lifetime ban from the National Futures Association for being too shady a Wall Street douche (we didn't even know such a thing was possible). Surefire Intelligence -- a name that will wind up in the Irony Hall of Fame -- was quickly exposed as a very obvious dummy corporation, with its list of "intelligence experts" featuring headshots of supermodels, a Michigan minister, and famed actor Christoph Waltz, best-known for his character Colonel Hans "The Jew Hunter" Landa in Inglorious Basterds.

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So who set up this middle-schooler's idea of a false flag operation? All fingers seem to point none other than 20-year-old Wohl. Wohl, of course, denied accusations, even after it was revealed that his email was listed in the company's web domain. Even after it was revealed that the company's phone number went to his mom's voicemail. And even after it was revealed that there were some striking similarities between this darkened picture of a Surefire Intelligence employee and Wohl's own goddamn social media profile pic:

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Some news sources are already claiming this plot is too stupid to be real, and that it actually full-circles into a devious scheme to ... who knows? Troll the media? Distract people from the midterms? Did Burkman and Wohl bravely sacrifice themselves on the altar of eternal late-night show mockery so that a few people in Iowa wouldn't bother to vote? The desire for this to be some sort of triple-cross feels like the typical 5D-chess argument people keep ascribing to the MAGA crowd, where obvious incompetence and stupidity just have to be a series of Machiavellian misdirects. Because many people prefer that kind of story, as opposed to the more obvious one that some scoundrel has opened the portal between our reality and the Coen Brothersverse.

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For more weird tangents and his personal recipes for toilet wine, do follow Cedric on Twitter.

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