Overflowing trash bins bulged on the curb outside conservative lobbyist Jack Burkman’s townhouse in Arlington on Tuesday. Put out either too early or too late, they were the only garbage cans visible on the block. His was also the only house on Colonial Terrace with a lectern crammed onto the front stoop, speakers in the driveway and a news conference set for noon, at which Burkman promised to reveal the name of the “slimy rat” CIA whistleblower who sparked an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
The half-dozen reporters, photographers and hecklers gathered on the sidewalk did not think Burkman had any idea who the whistleblower was.
Most had been to prior “news conferences” arranged by the lobbyist and his 21-year-old sidekick, Jacob Wohl — self-styled investigators who routinely announce they have discovered smoking-gun revelations against Trump’s rivals, then humiliate themselves when they fail to produce any evidence.
“They’re just fascinating characters. They’re constant liars is what they are,” said Zachary Petrizzo, a student at George Mason University, after watching Wohl haul a flat-screen TV onto the front steps on Tuesday morning. (Wohl has admitted to promoting false information when it helps the president.)
“People follow it just because of how stupid it is,” said Petrizzo, who had previously attended two awkward Wohl-Burkman events.
For their first one, last November, Burkman and Wohl managed to fill a Holiday Inn conference room by claiming they would introduce a woman who had accused special counsel Robert S. Mueller III of rape. The woman never showed, leaving the assembled reporters to report on Burkman’s face sweat and open fly.
The pair’s most recent presser, in May — also held on Burkman’s front stoop — drew only a dozen reporters, who accused the pair of fabricating sexual assault allegations against a Democratic presidential candidate and laughed when a garbage truck rolled up to the curb mid-event.
Tuesday’s crowd was even smaller — half a dozen reporters and photographers gathered around the garbage cans, many openly derisive of Burkman and Wohl, who had spent preceding days hyping a $50,000 reward for the whistleblower’s name.