I’ve preferred to avoid the Seth Rich story, even as it has gradually been gaining strength over the past couple of weeks. It really presents a dazzling storyline, doesn’t it?
Picture it: a young, idealistic DNC staffer knows that the Democratic Party has rigged the primary against his preferred candidate. So he turns whistleblower and shares what he knows with Wikileaks. Shortly afterward, he’s murdered on the streets of the nation’s capital by unknown assailants. Supposedly, it’s a robbery but nothing is stolen from him. The murder remains unsolved almost a year later.
Conspiracy mongers see it so clearly. The DNC solved a problem by silencing a damaging leaker and, as a bonus, it could conveniently blame the fallout from the information he released on a foreign government and then attack the opposing party’s candidate with it.
Then all it needs to succeed as a conspiracy theory is a few more details, based on some facts gathered from here and there, to fill in the gaps. “The FBI never got to examine the hacked servers!” “John Podesta said in an email that he wanted to ‘make an example’ out of a leaker!” And so on.
I understand the temptation many on the Right have to jump on this story, even though I think it was irresponsible for Hannity and Gingrich to do so. If it’s demonstrated that the DNC leak was carried out by a disgruntled insider and not Russia–and that the Democrats knew this and have been lying about it–it would be completely devastating to the Trumprussia collusion story in which so much has been invested.
But would it be completely devastating? I’m not so sure. There are a couple of sticking points.
First, it is possible that Rich could have been leaking to Wikileaks and that Russian hackers penetrated the DNC servers. We would have no way of knowing whether it was only Rich who was leaking to Wikileaks or if the Russians did too. You could have Rich be one person who provided DNC emails to Wikileaks, but not the only one. Hell, maybe Russians bribed Rich. If any of that’s the case, the Trumprussia investigation is still valid.
Further, it’s possible that Rich was the only leaker of DNC emails, but I don’t see how he would also be the John Podesta email source too. Rich could have gotten his hands on some emails by using his status as an insider to assist a hacker in getting the DNC emails, but how would he have gotten Podesta’s? We’re still left with the probability that Russians hacked Podesta. We’re right back to square one on Trumprussia.
Finally, let’s say that Wikileaks or Kim Dotcom comes right out and confirms that Rich was the source of everything all along. It wouldn’t amount to much. For one thing, the Democrats would brush it off by claiming that Wikileaks is lying to cover for the Russians. Then the mainstream media would dutifully not report about it. I mean, can you imagine CNN devoting a week of coverage to this? Remember CNN telling viewers that it was illegal to read the DNC/Podesta emails that Wikileaks was releasing? Yeah. That happened.
Do you think Mueller would spend any time investigating Rich’s murder, even then? I don’t.
I would say that the only payoff from Wikileaks or Kim Dotcom providing proof of Rich leaking emails would be the enormous and delicious humiliation of the Democratic Party. The public backlash and anger would be a sight to behold, even if it was true that Russia was involved, because of the Democrats’ deliberate choice to claim that there was no insider even as they refused to let the FBI examine the server. Big lies have big consequences when they fall apart and the Democrats would indeed have committed a massive one for political reasons.
But I’m not fooling myself.
Today is that day that Kim Dotcom has said he’ll produce a statement providing some sort of evidence that Rich was a Wikileaks source. Eh. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. On one hand, Kim Dotcom certainly has some sort of connection to Wikileaks and he did know that the DNC/Podesta emails were coming out in advance. On the other hand, he also claimed at one time to have Hillary’s 33,000 deleted emails and threatened to release them. Nothing came of that.
So does this mean that I’m just a big skeptic? I suppose, if by that you mean that I think we should treat these accusations with as much skepticism as we do the idea that Trump is a Russian secret agent. Like Trumprussia, the Seth Rich murder has a number of circumstantial details (along with plenty of pure bullshit) that makes it seem plausible to some. That it might never be solved assures that it will remain an active conspiracy theory until the end of time.
For my part, I’m keeping this at arm’s reach unless something major emerges.