WikiLeaks and Fox News Are Silent on the Debunked Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory

Jeff Roberson/AP/REX/Shutterstock (Hannity); Rob Pinney/LNP/REX/Shutterstock (Assange)

WASHINGTON — Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted final report drove a dagger through the heart of one of the most notorious conspiracy theories of the Trump era: that a murdered DNC staffer named Seth Rich — not Russia — stole tens of thousands of Democratic Party emails and gave them to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential race.

But don’t hold your breath for an apology, correction or retraction from high-profile promoters of the now-disproven theories like Sean Hannity or WikiLeaks. In the aftermath of Mueller’s report, they’ve gone silent on the subject of Seth Rich.

The baseless theories about Rich first appeared online within 24 hours of his killing on July 10th, 2016. But it wasn’t until a month later that those theories spread like wildfire after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange suggested on Dutch TV that Rich was the source for a trove of leaked Democratic Party emails WikiLeaks had begun publishing on its website. The emails proved embarrassing enough to prompt the resignations of multiple top DNC officials including chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

United States President Donald J. Trump speaks to the media as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, to attend a rally in Grand Rapids Michigan,.Donald Trump departs the White House, Washington DC, USA - 28 Mar 2019

The theories about Rich’s life and murder — which remains unsolved — continued through Election Day and well into Trump’s presidency, fueled by more comments from Assange and breathless hyping by Fox News and its star anchor, Sean Hannity. In May 2017, the network’s website published a story reporting that Rich had “contact with WikiLeaks,” only to retract the story entirely a week later.

But in the time between publication and retraction, Hannity promoted the story almost nightly on his show. He ran footage of Assange’s interview hinting at Rich’s involvement. He questioned the official police account of what had happened to Rich (a robbery gone wrong). He argued the Rich theory could disprove any coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. “Now, if Rich in fact was WikiLeaks’ source for the DNC email leaks, it would confirm Russia was not involved,” Hannity said on his May 18th, 2017, show. “Remember, WikiLeaks have not been wrong in 11 years. They’ve not been proven to get one fact wrong that they have published.” (After the retraction, Fox News’s president in charge of news said that the reporting process that went into the story was “being investigated internally,” but Fox has yet to say what came of that investigation.)

According to Mueller’s report,…

Trump declares Mueller-probe win, tweeting out NY Post front page

Hogan Gidley: I'm not going to be lectured on truth-telling by anyone in the mainstream media

President Trump, reiterating his firm belief that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation had been a political and unsuccessful witch hunt, tweeted out the New York Post’s front page and its bold, declarative headline: “TRUMP CLEAN.”

The page showed Trump smiling alongside the phrases, “No crimes committed,” and “Dem hoax destroyed.”

The tweet was something of a victory lap for Trump, after Mueller’s report said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him with either conspiracy or obstruction of justice.

Despite what Trump’s tweets may have implied, the battle was far from over, however, as congressional Democrats continued to push their own follow-up investigation. House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., subpoenaed the unredacted Mueller report and requested that Mueller testify before…

Controversial Steele dossier back in spotlight after Mueller report’s release

Did Mueller's team know Steele dossier was biased?
Did Mueller’s team know Steele dossier was biased?

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report now out in the open, attention is likely to return in coming weeks to the salacious and unverified anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele — a dossier whose more sensational claims were not substantiated by Mueller’s team.

The dossier, funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, sent shockwaves through the country and the halls of power in D.C. when it was published in January 2017, complete with lurid tales of a sex tape featuring prostitutes that the Russian government was said to be holding over President Trump’s head.


But despite an intensive two-year investigation, Mueller’s team found no evidence of any such tape. It also said it didn’t have evidence of another claim in the dossier that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen met with Russian officials in Prague.

The New York Times, in a lengthy article on the Steele dossier’s current standing, noted that there is no evidence in the Mueller report on a number of claims: “DNC moles, Romanian hackers, Russian pensioners — or years of Trump-Putin intelligence trafficking.” But a lawyer for Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the dossier, told The Times that the Mueller probe backed up “the core reporting” in the Steele memos — including that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed “a covert operation” to have Trump elected.

Now, with a redacted version of Mueller’s report public and pressure building for the release of an unredacted version, attention is set to turn toward the investigation by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who confirmed at a panel discussion in March that his office is continuing to review potential surveillance abuses by the FBI. That review began last March,…

Democrats condemn attorney general’s plan for rollout of Mueller report

Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House judiciary committee, at the press conference.

On the eve of the long-anticipated release of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian tampering in the 2016 election and alleged Trump campaign involvement, Democrats accused the attorney general, William Barr, of trying to “cherry-pick” and “put his own spin” on the conclusions of the investigation.

Representative Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House judiciary committee, appeared with colleagues at a press conference in New York City late Wednesday to protest against Barr’s plan for rolling out a redacted version of the Mueller report.

Barr is scheduled to hold a 9.30am press conference on Thursday. Nadler tweeted on Wednesday that the justice department informed him that Congress would receive the report around 11am or noon, after which it would be posted online.

That plan amounted to an effort by Barr to put up a smokescreen to obscure the true findings of the report, Nadler charged.

“Now it appears that the attorney general intends to once again put his own spin on the investigative work completed by the special counsel and his team,” Nadler said.

“The fact that the attorney general is not releasing even the redacted report to Congress until after his press conference will again result in the report being presented in his own words, rather than in the words of special counsel Robert Mueller.

“The central concern here is that Attorney General Barr is not allowing the facts of the Mueller report to speak for themselves, but is instead trying to bake in the narrative about the report to the benefit of the White House.”

Nadler said he would subpoena the full report “in very short order” and said he assumed it would be useful to call Mueller and members of his team to testify before Congress.

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, argued Americans deserved to see…

Why the Mueller Report Is Causing ‘Breakdown-Level’ Stress Among White House Staff

Special counsel Robert Mueller departs St. John's Episcopal Church, across from the White House in Washington. Democrats say they want

Special counsel Robert Mueller departs St. John’s Episcopal Church, across from the White House in Washington. Democrats say they want “all of the underlying evidence” in Mueller’s investigation. But what is all of that evidence?

Cliff Owen/AP/REX/Shutterstock

More than qualifications, more than intelligence, more than a Rolodex filled with Russian oligarchs, President Trump values loyalty. It’s why he’s installed family members into high-profile administration positions, made his buddies ambassadors and put the welfare of military veterans in the hands of Mar-a-Lago members. It’s also why the current and former White House staff members are reportedly worried about what may be revealed when a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report is released to the public on Thursday. According to NBC News, more than a dozen officials who cooperated with Mueller’s investigation are concerned they will be outed as a source of information that hurts the president.

One person close to the situation told NBC News there is “breakdown-level anxiety” among the staff who cooperated. A former White House official said there is concern among staff that “the wrath” of Trump and his allies “will follow” if they are revealed to have provided the special counsel with information that doesn’t reflect well on Trump, particularly regarding his potential obstruction of justice.

“You have a whole bunch of former White House officials and current White House officials, but especially former White House officials, who were told to cooperate,” said the former official. “So people went and did that, and now the uncertainty is just how much of that information is going…

Why Trump Is Suddenly So Worried About the Mueller Report

President Donald Trump pauses during remarks on the deployment of 5G technology in the United States during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, in Washington, D.C.

Evan Vucci/AP/REX/Shutterstock

President Trump wants America to know that he is totally innocent. At the same time, he seems increasingly nervous about the public seeing a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings, which Attorney General William Barr says he will release Thursday. Though Trump has in the past expressed indifference to the potential release of the report, he’s now railing against the efforts of Democratic lawmakers to obtain the full, unredacted report, while renewing criticisms of the investigation he simultaneously says has already proved his innocence.

“Mueller, and the A.G. based on Mueller findings (and great intelligence), have already ruled No Collusion, No Obstruction,” he tweeted Monday morning. “These were crimes committed by Crooked Hillary, the DNC, Dirty Cops and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!”

Mueller, and the A.G. based on Mueller findings (and great intelligence), have already ruled No Collusion, No Obstruction. These were crimes committed by Crooked Hillary, the DNC, Dirty Cops and others! INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019

This is not true. When Attorney General William Barr released his “principle conclusions” of the report last month, he quoted it as noting that the investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Mueller did not, however, contend that Trump did not obstruct justice, writing that his team was not able to “exonerate” the president. It was Barr, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who concluded the report did not contain enough evidence “to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

But earlier this month, members of Mueller’s team leaked to the Washington Post that they found “alarming and significant” evidence of obstruction that “was much more acute than Barr suggested.” The Times later reported that Mueller’s team believes what they found is “more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated.”

The White House is worried. On Sunday, ABC’s Jonathan Karl revealed that the administration hasn’t been all smiles since it was briefed “in broad brushstrokes” on the full report. “There is significant concern on the president’s team about what will be in this report and that will be unredacted,” he said, noting that though “the good news is already out there” regarding Barr’s conclusion of no conspiracy, there is worry about new information regarding obstruction of justice. Karl specifically referenced Trump’s potential efforts to fire Mueller and the circumstances surrounding his dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld during a New England Council 'Politics & Eggs' breakfast in...

Rep. Mike Turner: The Mueller report ‘gives us confidence back in our democracy’

Rep. Mike Turner: Mueller report puts confidence back in our democracy
Rep. Mike Turner: Mueller report puts confidence back in our democracy

As Congress awaits the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, said it “gives us confidence back in our democracy.”

Turner made the comment on “America’s Newsroom” Monday, saying confidence returned because “it says that there was no collusion and we know certainly that we did not have the aspect of the Trump campaign doing that.”

He added, “I do think there should be a concern, though, in knowing what has happened with respect to the Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee-funded dossier, where they actually hired a retired former intelligence officer that was British for the purposes of talking to Russians and then use that information in a way where the government used it to undertake surveillance on the other campaign. I think that’s absolutely wrong and I think that’s a threat.”


Mueller’s much-anticipated report is set to be released to the public and Congress with redactions on Thursday morning, the Justice Department announced Monday. The news comes despite mounting calls…

House Judiciary Democrats authorize subpoenas for Mueller report

House Judiciary Committee votes to approve subpoenas for full, unredacted Mueller report

The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to authorize subpoenas for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full report after the Justice Department missed a Democrat-imposed deadline, in a major escalation of the battle between Congress and the Trump administration over access to underlying documents and evidence from the Russia probe.

The vote was 24-17, with all Democrats supporting and all Republicans opposed. The authorization of subpoenas does not mean the committee will issue them but gives Democrats on the panel the option to do so. Republicans fumed over the move, accusing their counterparts of “political theater” since the DOJ has already pledged to cooperate.

But while Attorney General Bill Barr says his team must first redact sensitive information, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., made clear Democrats want unfettered access to the documents.

“The Trump administration has an idea. They want to redact the Mueller report before they provide it to Congress. The Department of Justice says the proposal is a means to protect sensitive information that would not ordinarily be made part of the record,” he said Wednesday. “But we have reason to suspect this administration’s motives.”

While a memo from Barr on the report said Mueller found no evidence of collusion with Russia, the AG also said the investigation did not reach a conclusion on whether President Trump obstructed justice.

“The Mueller report probably isn’t the ‘total exoneration’ the president claims it to be,” Nadler said. “And, in any event, this committee has a job to do. The Constitution charges Congress with holding the president accountable for alleged official misconduct. That job requires us to evaluate the evidence for ourselves—not the attorney general’s summary, not a substantially redacted synopsis, but the full report and…

WCU political science expert weighs in on Mueller investigation

We spoke with the head of the political science department at Western Carolina University, Chris Cooper, about the latest on the Mueller investigation. (Image: WLOS)<p>{/p}

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Special counsel Robert Mueller submits the findings of his Russia investigation to the government’s top prosecutor.

Now, Congress and the American people wait to see what details, if any, Attorney General Raymond Barr releases.

For almost two years now, the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has been a constant presence in U.S. politics.

Head of the political science department at Western Carolina University, Chris Cooper, has followed every second of it.

“This is the most talked about issue in American politics right now,” said Cooper.

As we spoke with Cooper, we touched on a number topics.

One of them being the possible political ramifications this report could have on the President or Robert Mueller.

“We still don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like,” said Cooper.

Cooper added that it all really just depends on whether the report is ever made public.

Also, with what happens to the indictments of Donald Trump’s campaign staff…

Adam Schiff rejects reports that Mueller indictments are over, says special counsel could be called to testify

The politics and the fallout from the completion of the Mueller report
The politics and the fallout from the completion of the Mueller report

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff rejected reports that no more Mueller indictments are coming, and suggested he would call the special counsel before a House panel if necessary to learn what is in the report.

“If necessary, we will call Bob Mueller or others before our committee, I would imagine the judiciary committee may call the attorney general if necessary,” the California Democrat said during an interview on CNN.

“At the end of the day, the department is under a statutory obligation to provide our committee with any information regarding significant intelligence activities, including counterintelligence. And it’s hard to imagine anything more significant than what Bob Mueller has been investigating.

“We have a right to be informed, and we will demand to be informed about it.”

I think it’s entirely possible if not likely that there will be other indictments

— House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff

Schiff was then asked if he would be satisfied if “the most sensitive information” obtained by Mueller was only shared with the so-called “gang of eight.”

“No, it would not suffice. Now, there may be a select sub-section of information they feel they can only share because of the very sensitive sources which derived the information, but he volumes of information that has been found needs to be shared with the whole committee so we can evaluate what steps have to be taken to protect the country.”

“We’re going to need to have the same sort of discovery that we saw during the last Congress, and indeed it may be far more extensive…