Donald Trump with Jacob Wohl (R)

It is the imperfect storm of Trumpian chancers, 21st-century social media, and The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

On Tuesday, two pro-Trump activists — conspiracy theorist radio host Jack Burkman and 20-year-old discredited hedge fund manager Jacob Wohl — began spreading the story that a woman would appear on Thursday to accuse Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel heading the Trump-Russia investigation, of rape in 2010.

To enhance their scheme, the two men appear to have tried to set up the media, with another woman saying that she had been offered a substantial sum to make rape a allegation. It appears the woman may be a fictitious plant, allowing the men to scream “fake news” when she proved not to exist.

But the scheme quickly unravelled. A second woman — Jennifer Raub, who is a very real attorney and CNN guest commentator — said she had been approached to make an allegation. The supposed court document setting out the rape claim was riddled with spelling errors.

The “company” supposedly verifying the claims, Surefire Intelligence, seems to be a shell set up by Wohl — despite his denials, the domain registration is tied to his e-mail and phone calls reroute to his mother’s voicemail. Photographs of the company’s “station chiefs” and staff are those of actor Christoph Waltz, supermodel Bar Refaili, the husband of actress Sigourney Weaver, and Wohl himself.

I spoke with Monocle 24’s The Briefing on Wednesday, setting out the incompetent plot and its significance — the attempt to discredit Mueller before the Russia investigation reaches Donald Trump.

Listen from 0:59: