First, the facts:
Seth Rich was a 27 year old staffer with the DNC. He was shot in the back at 4:20 AM on Sunday, July 10th, 2016 in the Bloomingdale area of Washington, D.C. Police arriving on the scene found Rich alive but gravely wounded, with bruises on his hands, knees and face. His watch strap was torn but no valuables were taken. He died on the way to the hospital. His murderer has never been found.
There had been a series of armed robberies in the neighborhood, and police attributed the violence to a robbery attempt. The bruising was found to be consistent with a struggle, and the torn watch band indicated that there may have been an attempt to pull it free before the shooter left. In 2016, with cell phone ownership common throughout the world, most watches – particularly those worn by politicians and businessmen – are used as ornamental jewelry and are common theft targets (UK Sun)
He had been speaking with his girlfriend just prior to the robbery. She had asked about some odd noises over the phone and he had downplayed them, stressing the proximity of his home (he was a block and a half away) before ringing off. (NBC)
All of that is verified.
What is not verified is that Seth Rich was the person who leaked the DNC e-mails to Wikileaks. Or that the Clintons had him killed.
Let’s start with the second theory first. For the Clintons to have had Rich killed would require two things: they would need a mechanism for killing him, and they would need a motive. As I have not yet written Debunking the Clinton Kill List (although that will likely be coming, in the weeks ahead) I will instead posit that the Clintons have a shadowy organization of assassins at their beck and call, with said assassins having operatives in dozens of law enforcement agencies that stand ready to abandon their careers to protect the Clintons. For the sake of this article, we’re accepting that the Clintons managed to assemble a better interior spy organization than the KGB did, in far shorter a time span, without significant funding and based out of the national hub of all social, political, and economic activity: Little Rock, Arkansas.
If Seth Rich was not the leaker, then they have no motive.
The same holds for any other potential murderer (save the one the police suspect, one of the muggers who had been on record as roaming the area.) Whether it be Russian agent or internal DNC operative, the only issue that has as yet been suggested with Rich was that he might have been the person who leaked DNC e-mails to Wikileaks.
That is the key to the conspiracy theory. There are questions about his murder. Who did it? Why did he wander around outside (other than the weather being perfect) for almost three hours between leaving the bar and approaching his home, only 40 minutes away? Did the murderer panic, or is there another reason they didn’t steal his wallet? But his murder is secondary; the important item is why he was murdered: the leak.
There has never been any evidence provided, anywhere, that he was the leaker.
At the time of Rich’s murder, allegations were flying that the Russians were behind the DNC e-mail release. There were reasons to think this. The Russians were being accused of attempting to influence the election (subsequently proven by intelligence agencies and released by Congress) (Axios) Wikileaks was being accused of having ties with Russia. (Vox) Russia was accused of having hacked the DNC by intelligence agencies (NY Times). Then-Candidate Trump had publicly asked Russia to hack Clinton’s server next – a statement that was written off by the Republicans as a joke, but which added to suspicions about Trump’s Russian connections. Later revelations about Roger Stone having extensive contacts with Wikileaks and the Russians and Donald Trump, Jr. having privately contacted Wikileaks merely fueled that fire. (CNN)
If Seth Rich was the leaker, it undermined all of the evidence and suspicion about Russia. That demonstrated that Trump was, in fact, the target of “Fake News” and merely a victim. It was a gold strike for the pro-Trump forces.
Except, again, there has never been a single piece of evidence indicating that Rich leaked anything.
What has been found are interviews with his friends and family indicating that Seth believed himself to be a steel-cored patriot, and that the Democrat Party was the group that closely tied to the foundational principles that built this country… not the profile of someone likely to be a secret leaker. The allegation, in fact, that Seth was secretly a traitor has been seen as so offensive by the family – destroying a mugging victims reputation in order to fuel political paranoia – that they are suing Fox News, the Washington Times and a handful of other key conspiracy promulgators for promoting known false statements. (Washington Times) (CNN)
It has been found that Rod Wheeler, a private investigator and Fox News contributor who was quoted as seeing efforts from the DNC to squelch the Seth Rich murder investigation, sued Fox for defamation and revealed that he had been told the President wanted the Seth Rich conspiracy story pushed. (Business Insider)
One might wonder how, with no evidence ever presented that Seth Rich was the leaker, the story continues to have legs among millions of Americans. Mostly it’s because “fake news”… once the domain of places like CNN, when it was hiding stories about Saddam Hussein in order to maintain a reporting presence in Iraq (NY Times), has found a new home with pundits like Sean Hannity and Alex Jones, both of whom continued to present the Rich story as valid to their listeners long after It has been found to be baseless. And because people who had previously stood up for honest government and reporting, like Mark Levin, encourage the liars to attack their critics rather than admit defrauding their listeners (Redwire News).